We flew to Philadelphia from Atlanta (luckily on time and without incident this week), and then took a bus to Wilmington from Philly. I had smartly decided to fly with the cast this week, which meant being able to sleep in a bit. Last week’s 6am flight did me in, and I was in no rush to get to Wilmington. It was a little bittersweet driving out of Philly. Couldn’t we at least stop at get some lunch at Alma de Cuba??? It was a short bus ride out of Pennsylvania and into Delaware, and soon we arrived at our hotel in downtown Wilmington. It was fairly late in the day so I stayed in for the evening and ordered room service.
Its a good thing that travel day was relatively stress free, because I needed all my patience to deal with load-in on Tuesday. We were playing the DuPont Theater, a very small theater (only 1200 seats) which is part of the DuPont Hotel. The backstage was very tight, and the auxiliary areas – dressing rooms and basement were also very small. It was definitely the tightest overall space we have played to date. Although the stage was smaller in Sioux City, the dressing room areas there were quite spacious. Everything about the Wilmington theater was small. Couple that with the fact that the building had no elevator and everything had to be chain motored or carried to the different levels, and then top it off with all the crazy safety rules enforced by the local crew, and we had quite a tough situation on our hands.
We all spent the day running around, working to make the show fit. Our office for the week was a corner of a room in the basement behind some of the hair work boxes. We called the show from a catwalk. Scenery was piled everywhere, and there was no room for all the wardrobe. We were all just on top of each other the whole week. I have to admit, though, once we figured out how to make it work, I sort of liked the space. It reminded me of a Broadway house. Most of those Broadway theaters are ridiculously small backstage and often the dressing rooms and offices are the size of a closet. The DuPont reminded me of that. It was definitely cozy.
To make things even crazier, John O’Hurley, who played the King in the Las Vegas production of “Spamalot”, and who you probably know as the current host of “Family Feud”, joined us to start rehearsals. He is taking over the role of King Arthur in Anchorage. He had a music rehearsal in the lobby with Ben and Michael after the orchestra finished their rehearsal. Also joining us on Tuesday, was Tera-Lee, who was our associate dance captain up until she left in Toronto. She decided to return to us when Candy put in her notice, and we couldn’t be happier. She is such a nice, happy presence in the company. It was so great to see her again.
So the evening approached quickly – we had no onstage crossover, the boys were changing in the basement, it was a crazy night – but we managed to get through the opening performance without anything tragic happening. We were all beyond exhausted though when it was all over, and so everyone convened at the hotel bar afterward for some much needed libations!
No rest for the weary, though – on Wednesday we had two shows. In between, Ryan and I ate at the Washington Street Ale House, a cute pub a few blocks away, which had a nice menu and quite a few beers on tap. We also discovered two good coffee shops nearby – Brew Ha Ha, and Presto (which was also open on the weekend – a rarity in this town).
On Thursday I was up at the crack of dawn to catch the Amtrak into New York City. I had two doctors’ check-ups and a dentist appointment scheduled. I felt slightly bad because Casey Nicholaw, our choreographer, and Todd Ellison, our music supervisor were in town for rehearsal, but I had had these appointments scheduled for ages, and without knowing when I would be back on the east coast, I knew I needed to just get them done. I also had to get up to my storage unit in Inwood to drop a few things off, meet up with Patty at the Lion Brand Studio, go to the bank, and meet up with Richard for dinner. Whew. Somehow though, everything went super smoothly all day long – and I didn’t have to wait at all at any of my appointments, so I also ended up having time to go to Central Park – and do a little shopping. I stopped by B&H Camera and picked up a telephoto lens to be put to use in Alaska!
I spent the night at the Edison Hotel on 47th. I have eaten at the Edison Cafe a million times and have hung out at the bar, but have never stayed there. It kind of cracked me up – it is a really old hotel – very clean, but old – and very old fashioned. It felt like a classic New York rooming house from the 50’s. I actually really kind of liked it. I slept with my windows wide open so that I could see the city lights and hear the traffic. I miss the city so much.
I was up early again for one more appointment and had a bit of time of walk through Central Park again afterward. I am physically unable to be in New York City without going to Central Park. It is my absolute favorite thing about the city. I ate some fruit and yogurt for breakfast just outside the Delacorte Theater, where I did Shakespeare in the Park for three summers.
And then it was time to head back downtown to Penn Station to catch the train back to Wilmington, where I went straight to the theater for John O’Hurley’s put-in, and then a show following. I was beat by the time the day was over!
Then it was on to our two-show Saturday, and a closing matinee on Sunday. As I write this, I am grateful for the Sunday evening off to catch up on blogging and emails and knitting. Thank god for hobbies, because there isn’t anything else to do in Wilmington! It was actually a blessing that the week was so busy because sadly, like so many other downtowns we have come across throughout the country, this one is pretty dead. There are a few good restaurants and things, but on the weekends everyone closes up shop. I walked around a little bit, and there is some nice architecture here – the brick buildings are in the colonial style, and the town feels a lot like Baltimore or Philadelphia. I only wish it had the charm and personality those cities do! Ah well, with all that was packed into the week, I wouldn’t have had time to experience it anyway.
Onward to Cleveland!