Two months old!

January 14, 2012.

Lila, we are having so much fun with you this month! You have started smiling and having conversations with us – your favorite words are “gah” and “agoo”. We love waking up to your sweet smiling face every morning. You had an eventful month with Christmas and New Year’s. You partied like a champ at all the family get togethers and were completely oblivious to all the dozens of wonderful presents you were given 🙂 We took you into Manhattan one day to meet our friends at “Rock of Ages” and we took a family photo on the set – it was your first trip to the Bourbon Room since you were born, but you spent many months there while you were still in Mommy’s tummy. I’m positive your first real words will be the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believin'” 🙂 You are growing bigger and bigger everyday – you now weigh 11.10 lbs and are 23 inches long. We love you more and more each day!

Looking back at 2011

What a year it has been! Definitely one of the best 🙂

I traveled to eighteen cities with the “Rock of Ages” tour, with my favorite stop being Fort Lauderdale, where we rang in the new year.I also loved traveling back to California, spending weeks in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Griffith Park

Downtown San Francisco

I was able to spend time with family 🙂While we were in San Francisco, Eric and I found out we were going to have a baby!We continued to tour until I was 23 weeks pregnant. The company of “Rock of Ages” had a baby shower for us in Atlanta, GA, and we closed the tour a couple of weeks later in Washington, DC. It was nice to revisit so many cities this year that I had been to on the “Spamalot” tour, and to catch up with old friends along the way.

At our baby shower

Closing night of "Rock of Ages"

Eric and I returned to NYC, where I began working on “Rock of Ages” on Broadway as a substitute stage manager. Eric went out of town for a few weeks to work as the production electrician on the non-union tour of “Rock of Ages”. Eric and his dad began work on renovating our house on Long Island, which we moved into in October.

The nursery in our new house

On November 14th our beautiful daughter, Lila Rose, was born. The happiest day of my life!

My life is so happy and full of love because of these two:I can’t wait to see Lila grow in 2012 and to have more and more fun with her as she gets older (she is welcome to take her time with that, though!).

I don’t have a strict list of resolutions for the coming year, but I do have some goals that I will be working towards. I want to work off my baby weight and tour weight so that I can fit into my favorite jeans again. I’m brainstorming about ways to start making a business out of my photography. I want to meet local moms. I want to enjoy time with Lila and Eric. I want to read more books. I want to knit. I would like to take more video (I’ve been so inspired lately by some of the videos I’ve seen on Vimeo – so beautiful!). I want to continue to learn and work on my photography. I want to really buckle down and learn Photoshop and how to retouch photos properly. I want to learn how to use the external flash on my camera. I want to explore perhaps teaching stage management.

Here’s to an amazing 2012!

Lasts

The past week and a half has been all about lasts for me. Last city. Last load-in. Last sound check. The goodbyes have started, the packing has started, the cards from the creatives are arriving. Its weird. But, I’m also ready for this journey to be over, as I think most everyone is. I will miss a lot of things about my life out here – the people, the job, the travel, the paycheck – but it’s time to move on to something else. This is by far the most performances I have ever done of one show – I think I’m at around 11oo performances now. Before this, the most I had ever done of a show was I think about 200 performances. I would be lying if I told you I would miss “Spamalot” the show – I love it, but after 1100 performances, I am pretty bored. I’m ready to be challenged by something new.

So, the Costa Mesa stop, for me, has been all about tying up loose ends, readying my trunk for shipping, gathering all the items I think I’ll need over the next few weeks before I see my trunk again, including my winter coat and snow boots! I think by the time I get back to New York I will have missed fall entirely this year. I have a feeling I’m going to be going straight from the summery weather of California and Texas, to winter in Wisconsin and Chicago and New York. I am driving back to NYC, taking two weeks, and visiting some friends along the way. As of right now my schedule is: Huntington Beach to Scottsdale, Scottsdale to Las Cruces, Las Cruces to San Antonio, San Antonio to Houston. Two days in Houston visiting Fran and Tanya who will be there with the “Mary Poppins” tour. Then Houston to Wichita, Wichita to St. Paul, St. Paul to Sobieksi – where I’ll stay with Ryan for four days at his house. Then Sobieski to Chicago, where hopefully I’ll catch up with Flickr friends Lauren and Carolyn, and then Chicago to somewhere in Pennsylvania, then PA to New York City. All by November 1st. Whew. Had to go out with a bang, right?

So, back to Costa Mesa. We are playing the Orange County PAC where I saw “Jekyll and Hyde” while I was in college, with my voice teacher at the time, Sandie. It seemed like an enormous theater then, and now it doesn’t seem so big to me, but it is nice and spacious in comparison to other places we have played – a nice theater to end with. I was so happy to complete some of my load-in tasks for the last time, namely directional signs – which can be so tedious in some of the labyrinth-type theaters (Orange County PAC is one of those). I will be happy to take a break from killing a tree every Tuesday in copy paper.

Early on in the day, Ken, Jovon and I found some Spam can costumes in a rehearsal hall, left over from a press event, so we absconded with them, and wore them to sound check, to everyone’s delight. They ended up becoming a novelty item, being passed around through the cast, everyone taking turns wearing them during the sound check.

Ben and Merle sound checking "Song That Goes"

Ben and Merle sound checking "Song That Goes"

Find Your Grail

Find Your Grail

Ben Whiteley conducting the final sound check

Ben Whiteley conducting the final sound check

Wednesday was Ken’s (the PSM, my boss) last day. Ken is starting work on a new musical called “Wonderland”, which is doing experimental runs in Tampa and Houston, with an eye on Broadway. It was so strange saying goodbye to Ken, who has been with “Spamalot” since the very beginning. It even seems now like he’s on vacation, rather than really gone. Jovon organized a party for Ken, after the show, at Mastro’s steakhouse. Almost everyone came out to say goodbye to him. Ken got really choked up making a speech at the party about how proud he is of the family our whole company has always been. Its such a rare thing to have a company – from actors, to crew, to musicians, to management, all genuinely enjoy spending time with each other – both onstage and off. Ken was definitely a leader in guiding the company in that direction, and he should be proud of that. I got teary when he thanked Jovon and I. Its been so nice working on a team and in an office that is happy and full of laughter 95% of the time. It makes such a difference in wanting to go to work, and being happy there. I hope I get more opportunities of working with such great teams in the future.

The rest of the week was spent doing more packing, and more reflecting on what a great experience this has been.

Our official closing notice was posted. Carissa threw a farewell, thank you shot night.

The closing notice

The closing notice

Carissa's shot night

Carissa's shot night

Over the weekend I took some more photos of the show – I wanted to try and get some shots of some of our newer cast members, but also just want to get in all the shooting I can while I have the chance! What will I take pictures of when this is all over? Its been an amazing photographic opportunity – and to have had the freedom to shoot whatever and whenever I want has been great. I’m so thankful to all my coworkers for allowing me!

Nikki Della Penta, one of our newer showgirls

Nikki Della Penta, one of our newer showgirls

Can Can girls

Can Can girls

Bows

Bows

In keeping with tradition of “never a dull moment”, the weekend of shows was no exception. We had a number of people out and then Matthew Greer, who plays Lancelot, injured his leg at the Saturday matinee, so we had to put Tera-Lee on one last time (hopefully!) in a male ensemble track, to cover David Havasi, who understudies Lance. Its always fun when Tera is on as a guy, and her husband was in town, so he was able to come and see her “butch it up”. Sunday night was Cara Cooper’s last show (one of our ensemble girls). Cara has a wedding to go so she unfortunately she has to miss the final week of shows. She has been with the company for almost two years and it was sad to have to say goodbye to her early.

On Monday night it was time for a little fun. Mitchell and Paula hosted the second “Hell Party” (the first being in Dallas in 2007). They went all out decorating their rental house for Halloween, and everyone did an amazing job coming up with costumes. It was a really fun night – a great way to let off some stress and be together one more time before the final week of shows.

Angela Dittmar-Lykins

Angela Dittmar-Lykins

Jason Goldsberry

Jason Goldsberry

Roy Turpin

Roy Turpin

Mitchell Beck

Mitchell Beck

Steven Wenslawski

Steven Wenslawski

The weather this week has turned windy and rainy. Its the perfect weather for staying indoors and watching a movie – or in my case, getting my hair done, (which I did on Tuesday), getting a massage (Monday’s activity) and catching up on blogging. I’m hoping the weather is good enough tomorrow for my final hike with Suzanne. Friday will be all about packing and cleaning the apartment, and then we have the final weekend of shows.

An overcast day at the Huntington Beach

An overcast day at the Huntington Beach

Not much time left now – just trying to savor every moment. And gearing up for life back in New York!