Finishing the Tour

Its been a whirlwind few weeks and I am so behind on posting here, so this is likely to be a long entry. I am home in New York now, finally getting settled after closing “Rock of Ages” a week ago.

After the last lay-off, we played one week in Atlanta at the Fox Theater. It was really hot and humid in Atlanta, so there wasn’t a whole lot of venturing outside. Eric and I mostly stayed put in our hotel. We did go out one day, though, to the aquarium. Atlanta has a great aquarium, and Eric had never been – so we braved the heat and spent an afternoon there.

At the Georgia Aquarium

On Friday of that week, I was completely surprised and blown away by a baby shower thrown for us at a bar across the street from the hotel. Eric was in on the whole thing, so he lured me over there, telling me we were having lunch with a friend of his from college. Even when the bartender totally blew the cover by asking us if we were there for the baby shower, I still didn’t catch on. It was such a nice afternoon and I am so grateful to all my coworkers for celebrating with us and being so generous with presents – my gosh! A number of the big items on our baby registry were purchased for us – the carseat, stroller, high chair. I couldn’t believe it! We also got some very cute clothes – our little rocker baby is going to be decked out in style!

Me and Eric at our baby shower

Putting on my "new mom" tiara

Rockin' baby duds

New mom tiara

On Saturday morning before the matinee, I met up with Carrie, one of my crafty friends who I “met” online through Flickr and Ravelry a couple of years ago. When I came to Atlanta with “Spamalot” in 2009, I met up with Carrie and her twin sister Cathy in person for the first time – they came to the show and we went out to lunch. In the past two years a lot has happened – Carrie and Cathy have both had babies, and now I am expecting my own!  I was so excited to meet Carrie’s little boy, Charlie, when we met for breakfast at The Flying Biscuit. It was so nice spending time with them both and getting to bend Carrie’s ear about babies and being a mom. Charlie is such a cutie, and he was enamored of all the neighborhood dogs walking by the restaurant 🙂

Carrie and Charlie

I finished the weekend off in Atlanta taking some photos of our two gorgeous Sherrie understudies, Holly and Angela. Elicia, who normally plays Sherrie, was out sick with strep throat, so I took the opportunity to take some photos of the girls getting ready for their respective shows, as it would likely be their last time going on in that role.

Holly getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

Angela getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

For being such a huge house (it seats almost 5000), we actually had a great week at the Fox…but it was time to move on to our final stop of the tour – Washington, DC!

I had hoped for some respite from the heat in DC, but no such luck. I think it was actually even hotter and more humid there, than in Atlanta, if you can believe it. The crew came back from load-in at the National on Monday night with horror stories of the air conditioning being out all day. We came in on Tuesday morning to a terribly hot theater. It turns out that the a/c hadn’t yet been set to “summer mode”. It took all day for the building to cool down – in the meantime, our props department thankfully went out and bought fans for all the rooms, including our office. Being hot and pregnant is no fun.

The weather stayed hot the whole two weeks we were in town. It was very hard to be outside. Luckily DC has a lot of indoor things to do, with all their amazing museums. Eric and I went to the Air and Space Museum one day, and another day we went to the Newseum, which I loved. The Newseum is dedicated to the history of the press in this country, and there were so many amazing exhibits, from Photo of the Year, to the Pulitzer Prize Photography Gallery, to exhibits about Katrina and 9-11. It actually took Eric and I two days to get through the whole museum (luckily tickets are good for two consecutive days). I definitely recommend going if you are ever in DC.

We picked the mildest day we could to walk around the National Mall and take photos of all the monuments (and by mild, it was maybe 92 instead of 102 degrees!).

At the Vietnam Memorial

The National Mall (with under construction reflecting pool)

At the base of the Washington monument

Our last week in DC was all about gearing up for “the end”. I spent hours working on a slideshow for everyone of all the photos I have taken over this past year on the road. I set it to music, and then Eric helped me convert it to DVD format, and then we spent a few days making copies for everyone in the company as a goodbye present.

Judi, our company manager, asked me to take photos of everyone in the company “waving goodbye”. She got prints made of all of them and then pinned them all to the callboard midway through our last week. It was nice seeing everyone’s faces up there, and a little sad, too. Eric also worked on a project for Judi – he made a collage of photos of everyone in the cast, which she had printed and framed for each of us.

The Rock of Ages crew, taken the last week of the tour

On the Thursday night before closing, we had our closing party. It was a fun night of drinks and italian food, and we put my slideshow on the flat screen over the bar. Some of our crazy “Rock of Ages” fans were there, too. We couldn’t finish out the run without Goldi-roxx, our crazy blonde-wig, hot-pants wearing fan, who came to almost every performance in San Francisco, Denver, and now DC.

Joey and Holly at the closing party

Keith and Patrick at the closing party

Jamie and Amy at the closing party

Goldi-roxx and Patrick at the closing party

The closing night performance was pretty awesome. We had small houses the last two weeks in DC, so to have the final night filled with screaming fans was great. There were a few minor shenanigans onstage, but mostly everyone behaved and just really enjoyed the last show. The whole cast and crew came out onstage at the end – it was a lovely ending to the run. After the show we all congregated at a bar near our hotel in Georgetown for one last round (or rounds) of drinks before saying goodbye and heading our separate ways.

It has definitely been a challenging ten months with this show – there were lots of ups and also lots of downs. But for the most part, the people that I traveled with, were a fun-loving, generous, hilarious, awesome bunch, and I will miss them.

Some pics from closing night:

Joey, Lauralyn, Holly and Patrick at "places"

Rashad blowing me a kiss

Jon and Erika hugging at "places"

Getting ready to melt some faces for the last time

Watching the show from backstage

The end of Act One

Constantine taking in the roar of the audience (this was a standing ovation DURING Act 1)

Curtain Call

Teresa and Chris during the curtain call

 

Constantine thanking the fans at the end of the show

Skibic rocking out

So now I am back in New York and starting to try and get things ready for the baby. We are still in a bit of a holding pattern when it comes to moving, but at least we can start buying things and making things now 🙂 I have a couple of knitting projects underway and am planning a quilt, and Eric is designing a dresser that he is going to build for the nursery. Slowly but surely, we are getting it together.

It’s hard to believe only a week has passed since closing the show. Its been such a busy week of unpacking and checking things off the “to do” list. I even went and worked two shows at “Rock of Ages” Broadway, where I’m going to be subbing for a little bit (until I am too large to fit backstage!).

My parents and brother come tomorrow for a five-day visit, then next week Eric and I are going to his family’s house upstate for a few days. The week after that I am at “Rock of Ages” Broadway for a week covering someone’s vacation. The time is going to speed by until the baby’s born, I just know it.

I leave you with a few baby-related photos.

Baby's first sweater - knit by me

Cradle made by Eric's dad

Crib used by Eric as a baby, now to be used for our baby!

Me, at 23 weeks pregnant, getting ready for the closing party.

DC Wrap-up

Our time in DC came to an end all too soon. I would have loved another week or so there to do some more sightseeing. With the holidays it just seemed like there wasn’t enough time to really get out and see all the things I wanted to see – oh well, a lot is left to see next time!

The days leading up to Christmas were consumed with shopping and preparation for the holidays. Karl had a small gathering at his place to celebrate the season and Jovon and Sheila made some kick-ass egg nog. I have never been a fan of the nog, but this stuff was GOOD! It was nice hanging out together and eating Karl’s yummy risotto and drinking wine.

The actual Christmas holiday was wonderful. Ryan had never been to New York City for anything other than work, so taking advantage of our rare two days off, we went into the city (with Tallulah in tow, of course) to celebrate Christmas. We stayed at a nice hotel across from the Museum of Natural History on 81st Street and did all the New York Christmassy things – we walked by all the storefronts on Fifth Avenue (where we ran into Jovon and Sheila!), we went to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree, we walked through Central Park, we went up to the top of the Empire State Building and had dinner in the West Village. It was great. On Christmas day we had a nice breakfast out and then went to see “Sweeney Todd” at the Zeigfeld (a great movie!).

The drive back to DC was a bit harrowing – the traffic was horrendous – it ended up taking us about seven hours to get back (normally a four hour drive). A lot of our company members got stuck on the way back in – one of our swings sat on I-95 for nine hours trying to get back to DC from New York! All in all though, it was a really nice couple of days and a great way to spend Christmas.

A statue in Central Park

A statue in Central Park

The ice rink in Central Park

The ice rink in Central Park

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Macy's

Macy's

The view from the Empire State Building

The view from the Empire State Building

The week following Christmas we went to the Corcoran Museum, which currently has a fantastic Ansel Adams exhibit, running concurrently with an equally fantastic exhibit of work by Annie Leibovitz. I had seen a lot of the Ansel Adams shots when I went to an exhibit at the San Francisco MOMA a couple of years ago, honoring Adams on what would have been his 100th birthday. I remember Michele and I being blown away by the photographs, so much so that we took a trip to Yosemite shortly thereafter to take our own photographs of the park. It was lovely to see his work again – I especially enjoyed his lesser famous photographs of some small towns in New Mexico, which were just as beautiful, although in a different way, from his National Park photographs. There were also a number of photographs taken in San Francisco, which made me nostalgic and a bit homesick.

The Annie Leibovitz photographs were equally wonderful, although in a different way. Where the Ansel Adams photographs were primarily scenic shots, Leibovitz’s were primarily portraits and candids of people. Although I love scenic photography – and love taking scenic pictures myself, I actually really prefer shots of people – especially candids, because really good candid shots that tell a story about a moment in time are SO hard to get – you don’t have the luxury of set-up and composition time that you do when you are taking a still scenic shot. It is so much harder to capture a split second of a person in motion. That being said, I know most people know Annie Leibowitz from her studio portraits of rock stars and movie stars – and although those photos are pretty cool, I much prefer her candid family shots – of her parents and children. She was really able to capture sadness and joy and all kinds of other emotions in those photos. I loved them. Out of her set-up portraits though, the few that Leibovitz took of Queen Elizabeth commemorating the Queen’s visit to the U.S.  were kind of amazing.

I’m not sure if these exhibits are traveling or not, but if they are and they end up in a city near you, if you are at all into photography, definitely check them out. They are two of the best exhibits I have seen in a long time.

For New Year’s, the company had a party at Firefly, a bar in Dupont Circle near where we are all staying. It was a really nice evening – made better because Brian Bogin, one of our former stage managers, came in for the evening to hang with us! I enjoyed the night with the Spamily (a much tamer New Year’s than last year’s extravaganza at the Residence Inn in Detroit!) but didn’t stay out too late because I had to leave early the next morning to go back to New York.

With Ryan and Brian on New Year's (photo by Tony Pittsley)

With Ryan and Brian on New Year

So I spent the first four days of the New Year back in New York City. First on the list was packing up the remainder of my belongings at my apartment and moving them into storage. I had much more still at the apartment than I remembered, but I managed to get it all packed the evening of the 1st and the following morning, with the help of movers, I became an official resident of Manhattan Mini Storage! It is actually a great relief to not have the responsibility of an apartment on my plate anymore and I am looking forward to getting my own place when I finally do return to the Big Apple. The rest of Wednesday was spent catching up with friends. I had lunch with Richard Rauscher, who kindly let me stay at his 45th Street “pied a terre” (he also has a house in New Jersey, so I had the whole apartment to myself, which was lovely), and then I had dinner with Patty in the Village after she got off work at The Point – an uber-cool knitting shop/cafe. Thursday and Friday I had doctors and dentist appointments and renewed my driver’s license, and spent a good chunk of time knitting at The Point. I also ate dinner at Tea and Sympathy – my favorite restaurant in New York (it’s English!). It was a nice couple of days away from the show, and although they were busy, I felt like I accomplished a lot while still getting to see friends, and thanks to Richard’s great apartment, I also was able to rest and have some time to myself. The few days in the city also reiterated to me how much I do love New York City, and although I am not ready to yet, I do really want to go back there eventually and continue my life and career there – at least for a while longer.

I went back to Washington on Friday night and began preparing for the move out on Sunday night. The month went by so quickly and although I would have loved to have spent more time at the museums and sightseeing, it was also really nice to spend a good portion of time back “home” in New York.

On Sunday we loaded out and at midnight Tallulah and I boarded a sleeper bus which got en route to Schenectady, NY around 3am. With the help of nighttime Theraflu (I’m fighting a bit of a cold thanks to the -2 degree weather in NYC last week) and luxuriously long bunks (I fit my backpack and the cat bag on the bunk and could still stretch out), I was able to sleep over six hours last night on the bus – a record for me! We arrived in snowy Schenectady around 10am this morning. I walked around a little bit – the downtown is cute and the theater is beautiful. Plus, with a blanket of snow it just seems all the more charming. I am looking forward to a restful week before we hit Boston, and then for me, MEXICO!

I leave you with a photo of stage management with our Christmas gift from our general managers – a bucket of popcorn (this coming right on the heels of twenty buckets of popcorn sent by Mike Nichols the week before. Let’s just say we were a little popcorn-ed out).

P.S. In case you don’t remember, last year our gift was a chocolate bar…no comment.

Sights from Washington DC, Week One.

It is so nice to be back in a big city, and one that I have never visited before. There is so much to see, and so much history all around us. The National Theater was a squeeze to get into, but we did, and the show opened last Tuesday. 

I am staying in a great apartment in Dupont Circle, blocks from the subway, and close to tons of restaurants and shops. It feels like being back in New York.

In the first week here, I managed to see much of the National Mall and its monuments, I attended a holiday party at Karl’s, I had drinks with Fran and others on the crew before Fran left for her vacation, I finished my Christmas shopping, I said goodbye to Robert Petkoff, our Robin, who had his final show on Sunday, and I toured the White House, which was both spectacular and understated at the same time, with all it’s decorations for Christmas.

Instead of boring you with a play-by-play of the week, here are some photos of the highlights:

The White House

The White House

The National Theater

The National Theater

The National Christmas Tree

The National Christmas Tree

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

The National Mall

The National Mall

The Korean War Memorial

The Korean War Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial

The Vietnam War Memorial

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument

The U.S. Capitol building

The U.S. Capitol building

The U.S. Capitol building

The U.S. Capitol building

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

Union Station

Union Station

Union Station

Union Station

‘Bye Robert!

Happy Holidays, everyone!