On Monday a large portion of the company drove two hours east to a BBQ at Suzanne Storey’s (one of our hair supervisors) brand-new house in East Texas. Suzanne’s first house tragically burned down in an electrical fire in December, shortly before I joined the tour in Detroit. She has been working ever since on rebuilding her dream house on the property. The structure of the house is now up and so Suzanne threw a fourth of July celebration on her twenty-five acres of land to share with all of us the progress that has been made. It was really neat to drive through all these small Texan towns to reach Suzanne’s (which is out in the country – and in a dry county! You have to drive 30 miles to buy beer!) and so fun to hang out on her land all day. The house is beautiful and all her land is really amazing – she has a giant field filled with wildflowers and a pond where you can go fishing. She had some yummy BBQ catered in and we lazed around all day playing horseshoes, listening to country music and at the end of the day, watching a little (but impressive!) fireworks show put on by Cuz (our sound head) and Mike (our pyro guy). It was an all-around great day. And p.s., I am super jealous of Suzanne after seeing her amazing property!
On Tuesday I wanted to try out my new camera some more so I went over to the Dallas Arboretum with Ryan. It has been raining so much that the gardens are really lush and green right now. Here’s a few pics:
After the Arboretum we headed over to the Nasher Sculpture Museum and Garden and also to the Crow Collection. We saw some very cool pieces of art. I was very impressed with the actual physical building of the Nasher – it was so bright and clean and simple.
From the Nasher:
From the Crow Collection:
On Wednesday I spent a little bit of time taking some more photos at the Greenwood Cemetery, which is very near where we are staying in Dallas. I had driven by it last week on the way back to the hotel from doing laundry and thought it looked so pretty – lots of really interesting headstones and pretty trees and flowers. Here’s a few snaps:
Finally, we played whirly-ball this week! It was really fun! Whirly-ball is played with two teams in bumper cars. Everyone has a scoop and you have to pass the ball to your teammates and try to score a point by hitting a target on one end of the court. Cuz organized the outing, and the building looked really sketchy when we showed up – first of all it was hard to find because it was completely dark and the sign was off. We tentatively ventured inside to find what looked much like a bowling alley – cheap beers for sale at a concessions stand, and tables in a viewing area. There were two whirly-ball courts. We had one reserved from 11:30pm-1:30am. About twenty of us played – we switched off playing ten at a time. It was a blast.
A bunch of us went and visited Jaki again yesterday. She is doing so much better. The rehab center is so much nicer than the hospital, and she seems in really good spirits. She was joking around and entertaining us all just like she always does. It was great to see the progress she is making. She will probably be in Dallas for another three weeks before she can fly back home to Connecticut. I’ll miss her being on the tour a lot. She’s such a caring and funny person.
This weekend we bid goodbye to Rick Bertone, one of keyboard players. Rick and I have known each other for a few years as he worked with Firsthand Theatre Project on our cabaret show, Journeys, in 2003, and also on the Trailer Park musical two years ago. I’ll miss you, Ricky!
Monday we head to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Already there has been a hotel snafu. The place where the majority of the company was booked to stay has changed management and the person who booked all our reservations doesn’t work there any more and she erased her hard drive before she left with all our booking information. On top of that, the restaurant and pool are closed for renovation, and the new management sent an email to our company managers yesterday saying that the water pressure in the hotel was currently very bad. So we had a company meeting at intermission yesterday and we were given the opportunity to change hotels – however the new options weren’t great – one is a Best Western by the airport. Another is a Doubletree downtown, but only double rooms are available for shares. I think I am going to stay at a Candlewood, which should be okay, but its sort of expensive and 13 miles from the theater. I looked online though, and there is a mall within walking distance (with a Cheesecake Factory!), so that kind of made my decision for me!
Sorry for the long post! Hope everyone had a great July 4th.
I’ve been lazy about my blogging in Dallas! I think it’s because there has been so much to do. Dallas is far superior (in my opinion) to Houston, even though the weather hasn’t been much better. At least here there are a lot of cute neighborhoods and things to do and good restaurants. And although the downtown area where we are staying isn’t exactly bustling, it is undergoing some renovation and there are lots of places to visit within walking distance.
So here’s a catch-up from last week.
Last Monday I went to the 6th Floor Museum with Ken. The museum is located on the sixth floor of the Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot JFK. There is a very detailed and moving exhibit on the 6th floor, which details JFK’s presidency, his visit to Dallas, the assassination and the aftermath, touching on the investigation and some of the conspiracy theories. There is a mock-up of the sniper’s nest and you can look out the windows to the street where JFK’s motorcade drove through, from the same vantage point as the assassin. It is very eerie. I thought the exhibit was very well put together with just the right mix of reading and photos and video, and I also thought it was a very fair display of the facts and theories of what happened. On the seventh floor of the museum is an exhibit of the law enforcement officers that were on duty the day JFK was shot and all their reports. There is also some more detailed information on Oswald and Jack Ruby, who is the man who shot Oswald the day after the shooting of JFK.
After visiting the museum, Ken and I walked around the “grassy knoll” which is the lawn area in front of the Book Depository building. We saw the picket fence, where it is thought a second sniper may have been hiding. In the road in front of the grassy knoll, there are two white “x”s indicating where the two shots hit Kennedy. The second shot is the one that killed him.
The area around the building and the grassy knoll is not much changed from the footage that you have seen from 1963. It was very surreal to be standing there 45 years later and for it to look so much the same. I felt the same way when I saw the Lorraine motel where Martin Luther King was shot in Memphis.
On Tuesday night last week, Paula and Mitchell had a “hell” party at their rental house. I think the theme “hell” just meant everyone could dress goth or slutty and it gave Mitchell a chance to borrow a coffin from his local hair guy, who is also a mortician, to put the stereo in. It was a really fun time and we had a laugh at the over-the-top bathroom with walk-in shower that was visible from the kitchen through two big windows. There were a lot of staged photos taken in that bathroom! Nigel and Patrick put on an especially funny show, pretending they were taking a shower together, “not knowing” that everyone was in the kitchen watching them. It was hilarious, and of course staged for our enjoyment.
Last week, we also discovered a very fun bar near the theater, called the Elbow Room. It has all the good bar activities that one should need – darts, pool and shuffleboard. Plus it serves food late, has just the right grimy quality to be considered a dive, and best of all, is not crowded.
A couple of snaps from the Elbow Room:
Ken, Jovon and I went to the hospital to visit Jaki on Thursday. She was still pretty hopped up on pain meds when we were there, but is doing so much better. She was moved the next day to a rehabilitation center and is beginning physical therapy. She’s got a long road ahead of her – she broke her right femur and has fractures in her left ankle, but is doing really well and will be fine. We brought her a bag of English candies and some books and DVDs to help her pass the time while she recuperates. Get well soon, Jak!
On Sunday night we bid good-bye to Jamie Karen, one of our female ensemble members, and Lady of the Lake cover. There were shenanigans during the show to commemorate her final performance, including two rubber chickens as substitutes for Jamie’s mace balls in the ball dance section of Camelot. Jamie was a big presence in this company – one of the nicest and funniest members of Spamalot. She will be sorely missed!
More soon about week 3 – Suzanne’s BBQ, Whirly-ball, the Dallas Arboretum and the Nasher Sculpture Museum. Whew!
Last weekend was my birthday – and it was such a nice birthday! I was expecting it to be very low-key and uneventful, being that Houston was sort of that way anyway, and that my birthday fell on load-out, but instead it ended up being a whole birthday weekend with multiple dinners and a fun drink night on Saturday – and lots of people called and remembered me, which made me feel so good. Thank you!
I also received some Amazon gift certificates from a few very generous people and have ordered a brand new digital SLR camera – the Nikon D80 – I am so excited to get it and start learning how to use it!
We left Houston on Monday and drove to Dallas. Tallulah and I rode with Ken in his rental car, allowing us to skip the crowded bus ride with the cast. We stopped at a very Texan gas station complete with flag painted on the roof, horses in a trailer and deer corn for sale – whatever that is!
Dallas already seems far superior to Houston. First of all, we are staying at the Hotel Indigo, which I love! We stayed at an Indigo in Atlanta as well – the rooms are beautiful – small, but decorated in very calming colors with big, comfy beds. I actually stripped the bed the other day to try and figure out what kind of bed it is so I can buy one when I get back to New York (its a Simmons Beautyrest with pillowtop – model Felicity). Plus, Tallulah is very happy with the big windowsills, where she sits for hours and watches the pigeons on the roof across the way. Some pigeons landed on the actual outdoor windowsill of my room the other day and I thought Tallulah was going to try and pounce through the window at them!
The city of Dallas seems far more happening than Houston. There are more restaurants downtown, as well as the first Neiman Marcus! You can also walk to Deep Ellum from our hotel, which is the “hip” neighborhood, full of bars and tattoo shops and restaurants. I also walked over to “The West End”, which is the west end of downtown and has many historic brick buildings that house newer restaurants. Apparently the grassy knoll and 6th Floor Museum are in the West End – I haven’t visited them yet but intend to next week (maybe after I get my new camera!).
The theater, The Music Hall at Fair Park, is located on the Fairgrounds, where the Texas State Fair is held annually. Unfortunately the fair isn’t running at the moment (or maybe fortunately as I can’t imagine how bad traffic would be if it was). The theater is pretty old – it sort of looks and smells like an old Broadway house backstage – or a YMCA – musty-smelling and worn. There is plenty of room backstage, though, so the load-in and first night went smoothly.
On Thursday night we had a bit of a tragedy – we were coming back to the hotel after the show and saw paramedics outside the building. Turns out that one of our company members. who had been out that night sick, fell out of her sixth floor hotel room, landing on the roof of the second floor. She is going to be okay, just a lot of broken bones, but everyone is understandably shaken and worried about her. We are all sending her good thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.
This weekend we have four shows and then are off on Monday. I haven’t decided yet how I want to spend the day – maybe going to the yarn store that Jovon got me a gift certificate to for my birthday! We also got a coupon to the Dallas Arboretum at our opening night party, so maybe I will go and check that out, although that may be another place that would be great to go to once I get my new camera.
I’ve started thinking about taking a vacation, probably in December. I’m thinking along the lines of warm weather, beach, spa…maybe Mexico. The show will be in Washington D.C. then, so I will be flying from there. Anybody have any good suggestions for vacation destinations?