Back to Philly, and back to New York City!!

I was so overjoyed to get back to Philadelphia, one of my favorite stops from last year. It was a long-ass travel day but we finally arrived in the City of Brotherly Love and checked into our super huge, super plush Rittenhouse apartment. I had found this apartment building a while back, and to rent on our own was way too expensive, but at the last minute the rental company struck up a group rate for our show, and so we are in this amazing apartment for less that what the hotel option cost! I haven’t taken any photos yet, but I will. The best part is the location – we look right down on Rittenhouse Square, which is a small park surrounded by restaurants and shopping, and only a few short blocks from the theater.

On Monday night, Ryan and I revisited our favorite bar in Philly, Monks, for dinner. Monks has tons and tons of beer on tap and in bottles from all over the world for you to choose from. They also have a very eclectic, delicious menu. I had a duck salad. Yum! And of course a side of pommes frites, which are so good at Monks. There was a group of Spam company members already at the bar. Everyone remembered this place and picked it as the first to return to!

On Tuesday I joined Zipcar! How awesome is Zipcar? You reserve a car online and then just go to where it is parked and drive it away – no dealing with showing up at a rental car place and being told they have no cars. It’s awesome. I walked over to the Zipcar office and picked up my membership card, and then promptly reserved a car for the afternoon. We spent the whole afternoon grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and then DROVE the groceries home! That night, we ate at Alma de Cuba, another amazing restaurant that we had promised ourselves we would return to.

Ryan eyeing the sampler plate at Alma de Cuba

Ryan eyeing the sampler plate at Alma de Cuba

On Wednesday, I woke up early and Tallulah and I drove to New York City. Tallulah was due for her yearly vet appointment, and it was great that we were close enough to the city to go to her own vet, Dr. Ramos. We met up with Andrea for breakfast and then set off for the vet. Tallulah did so well – and she has lost two pounds since last year! Yay for the Catkins diet! Dr. Ramos was very pleased with her weight and overall health.

Back in the Heights

Back in the Heights

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Then we drove to Brooklyn and spent a blissful afternoon with Patty, eating lunch and knitting on her roof deck. Tallulah didn’t know what to do with herself, between the bees and the butterflies, and the amazing smells of Patty’s flowers and vegetable garden.
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There was one scary moment when Tallulah decided to check out the space UNDERNEATH the deck, but Patty smartly crafted a kitty toy out of a circular knitting cable and some stitch markers, and we lured her out.

We headed back to Philly that evening, pooped, but happy. Thanks, Patty!

We loaded the show in to the Academy of Music on Thursday. It was nice to see so many familiar faces on the crew – especially the wardrobe staff. Those ladies (and gents) are so nice, especially Pam, who dresses Patrick. It’s great to be working with them again.

On Friday I started the big sort through of my trunk. I am going back to New York next Monday and plan on driving up to my storage unit and leaving a bunch of stuff there.

Saturday we had a visit from our union reps to discuss ratifying the proposed new production contract. This contract governs all Broadway shows and tours. The new proposal is not a good one. I won’t go into all the gory details here, but the per diem rate being offered is horribly behind the times. With rising hotel rates, we are no longer able to pay for our hotels and meals solely out of our per diem. The new contract doesn’t offer any help in that area. There are also some aspects affecting stage managers that have been sorely overlooked. Anyway, to make a long story short, it wasn’t a happy meeting. Although I didn’t speak up at the meeting (there were plenty of other people doing that), I feel I have been very communicative with the union through emails expressing my concerns over the new contract. I feel satisfied that I have spoken up in that way, and that I’m not just sending in a “no” vote and not explaining why. I don’t necessarily think anything can happen now, but maybe three years from now, when the contract is renegotiated again, perhaps some of these concerns will be taken into consideration. One can only hope.

Other than that, life has been all about the Olympics. I’ve been addicted to the swimming and the gymnastics. Michael Phelps is super-human! Go USA!

Hope you all had a great week!

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Kristoff, February 2004-April 2008

I just got the sad news from Andrea that Kristoff, Tallulah’s brother, passed away today. He had been sick for the past week and when Andrea brought him into the vet they diagnosed him with liver disease and he died while at the vet’s office. It is such a shock as he was such a young cat and it happened so quickly.

I’m so glad I was able to see Kristoff and spend some time with him in January when I was in New York. He was a very sweet cat, and Tallulah and I will miss him very much.

We love you, Kris.

I. LOVE. MY. CAT.


Poor Tallulah. She’s depressed right now because she is stuck in a boring hotel room in Clearwater, and last week she spent all her time doing this:

Lying in her loaner bed (the owner is a poodle named Coco Marie), watching the birds outside the french doors of our West Palm Beach cottage. The real thing is so much better than Animal Planet. Now the poor kitty is stuck in a stupid hotel room, with no view. She has spent the past twelve hours hiding under the bed. Poor baby.

Park City, Utah… a bit of heaven on earth.

I left Park City this morning as the sun was rising and drove to the Salt Lake City airport to fly to Denver. I will miss Park City – our sweet little ski condo and the most beautiful natural surroundings that I have seen in a long time. I wish we had gotten one more week to spend there – two just wasn’t enough. 

Last Sunday night Karl (our company manager) hosted a crew dinner to say goodbye to Keith Reese, our beloved head carpenter, and to say hello to Justin, our new head carpenter, who joins us from “Wicked” LA. We had a private room at Spencer’s Steakhouse, which is the restaurant adjacent to the Hilton in Salt Lake City. It was so nice to hang with everyone outside of work. We really do have the BEST crew on this show. When everyone is just relaxed and enjoys each other, it is just the best dynamic. If only we could all try harder to not let the stresses of the show get the better of us and get along like we did on Sunday night all the time! I hope we can have get togethers like that one more often, I think it really did enforce the fact that we are all a team and a family – it wouldn’t hurt to be reminded of that more often.

It was dark in Spencer’s, so my pictures came out kind of crappy, but here’s a couple of good ones:

Wayne, Fran and Roy - our wardrobe dept.

Wayne, Fran and Roy - our wardrobe dept.

Elaine,  Suzanne and Mitchell - our hair dept.

Elaine, Suzanne and Mitchell - our hair dept.

The boys chowing down

The boys chowing down

I flew on Monday to Sunnyvale for a short visit with my family. My youngest brother, Simon, is leaving soon for London, where he will be attending graduate school at the London School of Economics (smarty pants). Because Simon has some of the wanderlust that I do, I figured I had better make some time to see him before he left, because who knows when we will be in the same place at the same time again anytime soon. Coincidentally, my Granny is also in Sunnyvale right now visiting my family, so we decided to surprise her with my visit.

She was definitely surprised. “What are you doing here?!” was her response! It was really great to catch her by surprise – and seeing that my brother Nick had been in town that weekend, Granny also managed to see all four of her grandkids during her trip! I had lunch at home with my parents, Granny and Simon. I mostly hung out at the house in the afternoon (I love my parents’ house – its the house where I grew up – the doors are always open and the backyard is so inviting. It makes me instantly relax)…but I did sneak out for about an hour to go to a yarn shop in Los Altos called Uncommon Threads. They had a lot of beautiful yarn – mostly Rowan. I didn’t buy anything for myself, but picked up two issues of Interweave Crochet for my mom, who is trying to get back into crocheting again (see a photo of the wedding dress she made herself on Patty’s blog)

I did pick up some ribbon at Michael’s Craft Store, though, to finish off my Lacy Skirt with Bows.

We had dinner at Cicero’s, the world’s best pizza place, where I have been going since I was eight years old. My sister Becky and her husband, Dave, met us there. It was really great to see them.

Becky, Granny, Mummy, Fran

Becky, Granny, Mummy, Fran

Simon, Dave and Daddy

Simon, Dave and Daddy

Cicero's Baker's Pride - the best pizza EVER

Cicero's Baker's Pride - the best pizza EVER

After dinner, we went back to the house for some yummy tiramisu that my mom had made, and then I headed out to see my other brothers and sisters – my best friends from forever – Mary, Fin, Erika, Craig, Bryan, and Fin’s fiance, Mike (yes, fiance – CONGRATULATIONS GUYS!!!!!). We hung out at Mary’s and drank beer and watched the 49er game like no time had passed. I love those guys like family – we’ve been friends for almost twenty years now, if that’s not family, what is? My pictures from Mary’s didn’t turn out so well (Mare, you have to send me yours!), but here’s a couple of pictures of us from last summer so you can put faces with the names. 

Mary, David, me and Bryan

Mary, David, me and Bryan

Mike and Jen

Mike and Jen

Craig, Bryan and David

Craig, Bryan and David

The only person I don’t have a digital photo of is Erika (she was in Brazil last summer when the above photos were taken. Rats!). And David is living in Hawaii so we didn’t get to hang out with him the other night, but he was definitely in our thoughts! I love you guys. Mofos forever!

After breakfast with my mom and grandma on Tuesday, Simon drove me to the airport and I headed back to Salt Lake City just in time for dinner and the evening show.

On Wednesday Ryan and I drove the “Alpine Loop” through the mountains to the Sundance Resort, which is owned by Robert Redford, and p.s… is amazing. We rode the ski lift and got some great scenic pictures. The leaves are starting to turn in Utah, and the colors are just stunning. We ate lunch at the Foundry Grill and walked around the grounds before heading back to the car to complete the loop through the mountains.

Taken from the lift:

The Foundary Grill

The Foundry Grill

A little boy wading in the creek

A little boy wading in the creek

Sundance was amazing – spectacularly beautiful and peaceful. You can stay in cabins there as well as ski there, but it is also host to many creative projects as well – there is a pottery on site and a glassblower, and many paintings and photographs are on display in the gallery for sale. The Sundance Institute workshops new plays and films, and the Sundance Film Festival, which takes place in Park City in February, is a celebration of indie films. There was a quote by Robert Redford on the wall at the resort that struck both Ryan and I:

This place in the mountains, amid nature’s casualness toward death and birth, is the perfect host for the inspiration of ideas: harsh at times, life threatening in its winters of destruction, but tender in attention to the details of every petal of every wildflower resurrected in the spring. Nature and creativity obey the same laws, to the same end: life.

– Robert Redford

I think that’s maybe why I love the mountains and the ocean so much. They just put things in perspective with their size and greatness. They remind you that you are blessed to be alive.

The drive back to Salt Lake past Mount Timpaganos was equally spectacular and we were afraid we might be late getting back, but we made it to work by the skin of our teeth.

Thursday we bade goodbye to Keith Reese, our head carpenter. He’s been so kind and generous to me since I started the tour. I will miss him a lot. We all wore Hawaiian shirts in his honor.

After the show, Ryan and I went to one of the Park City local bars, the No Name Saloon, with Steve and Elaine. It was a pretty cool bar – a bit too loud, but had all sorts of interesting objects hanging from the ceiling, from a 1942 Harley, to an old-fashioned toboggan.

Friday we hit some of the outlet stores on the outskirts of Park City, and bought some new shoes. Ryan also bought a cool tie with skulls on it. We also drove through Olympic Park, although it was starting to rain, so we didn’t get out of the car. We did see the huge ski jumps though – it must be pretty amazing to see skiers jumping off them in the winter.

This past weekend, we made sure to make a stop at another of my favorite western U.S. restaurants…Rubio’s Fish Tacos!

Yum! I don’t know why it is so hard to find a good fish taco east of the Rockies!

And finally on Sunday, we said goodbye to Siobhan, one of our chorus girls, who is leaving the show to head back to the Big Apple and get hitched to her boy, Jordan. It’s strange because Siobhan’s first performance was three days after I started with the tour. It’s weird to have been with the tour long enough that people who started when I did are leaving.

We’ll miss you Siobhan!

And so here I am in Denver. I will miss you, Park City. Thank you for the lovely peaceful two weeks.

….And Tallulah will miss her spiral staircase.

Falling in Love with Portland

We arrived in Portland last Monday, and although anywhere probably would have seemed great after Kansas City, Portland far surpassed my expectations. Portland is another one of those cities, like Minneapolis, that I always suspected I would love, and I can confirm after almost two weeks of being here, that I LOVE Portland.

I had the luxury of a full day off on Tuesday as we were not opening until Wednesday – the trucks needed the extra time to get across the country from Missouri. The travel day was thankfully uneventful, and with the opening not until Wednesday, Ryan and the rest of the crew were able to have Monday night off. After checking into the Mark Spencer Hotel on 11th Avenue, Ryan and I headed to Thai Peacock for dinner – after being in the midwest for weeks I was seriously jonesing for some Thai food. Our meal was DELICIOUS! I actually went back the next day, I loved my food that much! We then went and checked out Powell’s Books – a ginormous new and used bookstore. We actually had to text each other to find each other’s location, it was so big.

Powell's Books

Powell's Books

The next day I walked all over the place and did some shopping. To my delight there is a yarn store, KnitPurl, one block from the hotel. The Mark Spencer, where I am staying, is an old apartment building, a little on the shabby side, but homey, and my room gets great light and has a nice view of the city – it’s very comfortable, and feels just right for Portland. It is also in a great location, just south of Burnside and the Pearl District, and surrounded with restaurants and shopping. I explored all of downtown on Tuesday, as well as walking around the Pearl District, and the 23rd Avenue shopping area.

Wednesday we loaded in all day and opened the show. It was delightfully smooth – the crew here is good, the theater is big, and the audience loved the show.

Thursday we had two shows, making up for not having a show on Tuesday. A large group of cast and crew went over to Veritable Quandary following the show for drinks and appetizers. We sat in their outdoor garden, which was lovely, and were pleasantly surprised by a round of champagne bought for us by a patron who had been to see the show.

The next day, Ryan and I rode our bikes back up to 23rd Ave and had lunch at Sushiville, a super cool sushi boat restaurant. We were there for almost two hours, picking dishes off the conveyer belt and trying different things – and we each spent less than $20! We then rode up to Washington Park and walked around the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden, both of which were beautiful. We also spied Mount Hood for the first time.

At the Rose Garden

At the Rose Garden

At the Rose Garden

At the Rose Garden

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden

Friday night we all went out for Jovon’s birthday, to a tiki bar in northeast Portland, called Thatch. It was a blast – we all had pupu platters and fruity drinks, and Jovon enjoyed more than one volcano cocktail.

My parents arrived Saturday. They took the train up from San Jose and I met them at their hotel after the show for some wine and dessert. They came to the show on Sunday night, where we had some seriously scary feedback after the Feet of God scene – it sounded like a massive foghorn going off. My parents loved the show though, and came to shot night afterwards, where they met a lot of the cast and crew. We then headed over to Veritable Quandary again for dinner with Ryan. 

On Monday my dad rented a car and we drove out to the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery was so beautiful – as much as I love New York, there is NOTHING like the west coast for natural beauty. The mountains and coast are just amazing. We stopped at Multnomah Falls and hiked to the top. We had lunch at the lodge there before driving on to the Bonneville Dam and then on to the town of Hood River, where we ate ice cream and shopped for cat and dog accessories at a cute pet shop. After that we drove on towards Mount Hood to get some pictures before heading back to Portland for dinner.

My mom and dad at Multnomah Falls

My mom and dad at Multnomah Falls

The Bonneville Dam

The Bonneville Dam

The Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge

Rock Formations

Rock Formations

Mount Hood

Mount Hood

Tuesday, Ryan and I met my parents for lunch at Jake’s Grill and then headed to the bike shop to buy a rear rack and baskets for my bike, while my parents went to the art museum. We met them again the next day for breakfast and then bid them goodbye – their return train to San Jose left in the early afternoon. It was great to get to hang out with my parents and see the city with them – I miss seeing them everyday! 

I almost forgot to write about the Portland Saturday Market! On the previous Saturday morning, Ryan and I went to check out the market underneath the Burnside Bridge. It was awesome! There were TONS of vendors selling jewelry and art and food, and there were lots of musicians playing in the street. I bought a couple of necklaces and a pair of earrings. We saw this guy playing guitar who only had one hand – it was amazing!

So – back to Wednesday. After breakfast with my parents and Ryan, I met up with Fran and we headed to Mount St. Helens! There is just no end to the amazing sights here – Mount St. Helens was so unbelievable – it really did not look real. We stopped along the way and took tons of pictures. At the Observatory we listened to a ranger talk about the current volcanic activity – did you know there was a small eruption in 2004? We also watched a very dramatic movie about the eruption in 1980, that ended with the movie screen rising to show us the actual Mt. St Helens through a giant panoramic window. 

Besides the grandeur of the mountain, what really struck me about the area, was all the gorgeous wildflowers that have grown up through all the ash. It’s really an amazing sight. And proof that life does go on.

Mount St. Helen's

Mount St. Helen's

Wildflowers growing out of the ash

Wildflowers growing out of the ash

Fran shooting pictures of Coldwater Lake

Fran shooting pictures of Coldwater Lake

We only have three days left here and I still have a whole list of things I want to do and places I want to see. I don’t know how I am going to fit everything in – I guess I’ll just have to come back!

The company has been so happy here – how could you not be? It’s such a great town. I love that Portland has all the amenities of a city like New York – great shopping, great restaurants, TONS of coffee shops – but it is surrounded by such natural beauty – and that both the ocean and the mountains are so close. You can be in the city center, get in your car, and an hour later you can be in the middle of nowhere. And it will be stunning. It also seems like there is always something going on in town – a festival at Pioneer Square, a free symphony performance down by the river, a fair under the Burnside Bridge. There are lots of very unique shops and restaurants and bars. Its not all Hooters and Home Depot! I love it. The town has such personality. I could definitely see living here in the future.

In Tallulah news, she went to see “The Cat Doctor” last week here in town (I love that Portland has a vet specifically for cats). She got her annual rabies shot and the vet implanted a microchip in her in case she ever gets lost. They were so nice to her and she was sooo well behaved. Of course everyone in the office fell in love with her. The results of her check-up were that she is healthy and FAT! A pound and a half overweight! The vet talked to me about putting her on an Atkins diet – cutting down her carbs. I can’t believe there is such a thing as putting a cat on the Atkins diet. I don’t want to deprive Tallulah of food, though, since she is being such a good sport about being dragged around the country. I think the key may be trying to get her to exercise more. I would love to try and train her to walk on a leash, to get her exercise in that way. We’ll see… at any rate, I have a healthy, happy cat – and that’s what really matters the most.

So this weekend is Ryan’s birthday. We have a couple of fun things planned, so more info to come in the next post about the festivities. And on Monday we head to Salt Lake City and for us, Park City, where we are renting a condo. I’m excited, but am also going to miss Portland terribly! Like I said before, I am just going to have to come back!

Arriving Dallas

Ferris wheel at the Fairgrounds

Ferris wheel at the Fairgrounds

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?

Traveling with Tallulah

For a very detailed description of how “Spamalot” the show travels, check out my co-stage manager Jovon’s blog entry here.

Since my blog is all about traveling with Tallulah, I thought I should include an entry about exactly how I manage to cart my cat around the country. 

I was extremely nervous about the prospect of trying to bring my cat on tour, especially since I had never toured before and didn’t really know what to expect. The thought of leaving Tallulah behind broke my heart though – when I adopted her I made a commitment to her and there was no way I was going to go back on that commitment just because a job had come up. And, being that she was young enough to handle it, I thought I’d give bringing her along with me a shot. 

First plane flight to Detroit

First plane flight to Detroit

As I said though, I was very nervous about it. I am so grateful to my friend Ruth, who brought her cat with her on the “Dame Edna” tour, for all the helpful advice she gave me about how logistically to manage it. I also had a number of conversations with Brian, who at the time was traveling his two dogs on the Spam tour.

I was so afraid that at some point in the travels Tallulah would either get out of a hotel room, freak out on an airplane or be incredibly miserable. Luckily, we have been with “Spamalot” for five months now and at Hartford Stage for a month before that and none of that has happened. I have a very well-adjusted, well-behaved, happy cat traveling with me who sleeps next to me at night, talks to me when I get home, and makes me laugh every day.

On the beach in Fort Lauderdale

On the beach in Fort Lauderdale

On the porch in Naples

So here’s the lowdown on how Tallulah travels:

Sherpa bag

Sherpa bag

First of all, she has a kick-ass cat bag – its the Sherpa Delta Deluxe bag. It’s a great bag for a number of reasons – it is made to fit under the seats in most airplanes, it has three flaps that roll down to conceal the cat almost entirely (which is good when sneaking her into hotels and restaurants), it has a loop on the back side of it which allows it to sit on top of my suitcase with the loop over the handle of the suitcase, and it has locking zippers (which is good when your cat figures out how to unzip the bag with their head, as Tallulah has). Since we started the tour, I have been collecting patches and pins from all our stops and decorating Tallulah’s bag. She is a very well-travelled cat!

On the bus to Tampa

On the bus to Tampa

We travel mostly by plane and bus. Ruth had suggested that I get some Bach’s Rescue Remedy and feed Tallulah a dropper full before getting on a plane. Bach’s is made for humans, to control stress, but you can give it to animals as well. I give Tallulah a dropper full about a half an hour before we leave the hotel to fly – it keeps her mellow. She’s such a mellow cat anyway and I don’t have any trouble with her making noise, so if we are only traveling by bus, I don’t give her any of the drops. I think it helps with stress on the plane though.

On the sleeper bus to Hartford

On the sleeper bus to Hartford

Flying with a cat is pretty easy – I have papers from the vet which say she is healthy and all her shots are up to date, but I have never been asked to show them to anyone. I always check the website of the airline we are taking before we go in case they happen to be very strict about pet papers. Some airlines say they need papers which have been given to you by the vet in the last five weeks – but so far we haven’t flown on any of those really strict airlines. Most airlines also charge a fee for flying with a pet – usually it’s about $80. At the airport, the most stressful part of the day is going through security. I have to take Tallulah out of her bag and carry her through the security area, while her bag goes through the x-ray machine. She is generally very calm and good, but if it happens to be a loud and crowded day at the airport, she can get a bit spooked. So far she hasn’t gotten away from me yet and I have also escaped any battle wounds. She usually just clings tightly to me until we are through and she can climb back in the bag. On the plane, she is happy to be under the seat. She usually just sleeps and doesn’t make a peep. No one usually knows I have a cat with me.

On the buses, I make sure we sit far away from anyone who is allergic to cats. I usually unzip the top of the bag and leave it on the seat next to me. Tallulah sometimes sits up and looks out the window, but generally she stays in the bag. From Tampa to Naples, I drove a rental car, so Tallulah hopped out of her bag and slept under the passenger seat the whole way.

Karl, our company manager, has been very accommodating in booking Tallulah on company transportation – a lot of the cast have dogs, and while some people drive the tour with their animals, others have to make their own airplane reservations as there are too many animals to book all of us on the company flights. Since I usually travel with the crew and Elaine is the only other crew member with a pet (her dog Tahzah), Karl goes ahead and books us on the company flights even though we have animals. The buses are generally not a problem, and usually there are quite a few pets on board – Callie and her cat, Oscar, and Angelina and her dog, Missy, among others.

Food and litter for a week

Food and litter for a week

Each company member is lucky enough to get a trunk which can hold up to 200 lbs of belongings, which travels on the trucks with the set to each city. I keep cat food and litter in my trunk and only travel enough food in my suitcase to get us through a week, plus litter, litter box, liner, cat toys, door scratching post, food and water bowls, placemat, dustpan and brush. One of my suitcases is a rolling duffle, and has a bottom compartment which is perfect for all my cat stuff – it all fits nicely and is kept apart from my clothes, which I like. I wash out the litter box every travel morning and pack up all the cat things right before we leave. Tallulah has gone up to eight hours without access to a litter box and has never had an accident. She’s such a good cat. I have a wee wee pad in the bottom of her bag just in case, but so far, no accicents. Knock on wood.

Food bowls and placemat

Food bowls and placemat

Litter and dustpan/brush

Litter and dustpan/brush

Cat toys on the table

Cat toys on the table

Cat supplies go in the bottom compartment

Cat supplies go in the bottom compartment

For buying supplies, if I happen to have a car in a city, I will just find the local pet store and go there and pick up stuff. But more often that not, I just order food and litter online fromPetco and have it delivered to the theater – they are very fast and I usually have my order within a couple of days of submitting it. 

Tallulah in her collapsible cube

Tallulah in her collapsible cube

On top of the cabinets in Tampa

On top of the cabinets in Tampa

Before leaving for the tour, I was most nervous about finding housing with an animal. Surprisingly, most hotels do allow pets – most have a weight limit, so big dogs are often not allowed, but cats usually can get in no problem. Most hotels have a deposit or a fee you have to pay in order to bring an animal with you. After the first couple of hotels, seeing how quiet Tallulah is, and how clean she is, I stopped telling hotels that I have an animal. It saves me a bit of money on the deposits. I always leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign up on the door and tell the front desk that I don’t want maid service. If I need clean towels or toilet paper or whatever, I just call down to the desk and have them send some up. And I usually just leave my trash cans outside the tour to be emptied. Tallulah has even gotten into the habit of silently running under the bed to hide whenever there is a knock at the door – this makes getting room service delivered from time to time easy. She just hides while they bring the food in.
At the table in Tampa

At the table in Tampa

Keeping warm in Memphis

Keeping warm in Memphis

Under the covers in Atlanta

Under the covers in Atlanta

I used to leave the TV on whenever I left Tallulah alone, but after a few weeks she got used to being on her own, so now I just make sure I leave some lights on when I leave. I’m sure she misses Kristoff, her brother, but she is always purring and playing and snuggling up, which leads me to believe that she is quite content. The next step I want to take with her, is introducing her to other “Spamalot” pets, so that maybe she can have some play dates after she becomes comfortable with other animals. She met Missy, Angelina’s dog, on one of the bus rides, and sat next to Taza on the last bus ride. We have another bus ride with Tahzah coming up tomorrow, so she will have some more “getting to know you time” then. I also want her to meet Callie’s cat, Oscar, at some point, and see if she will play with him. 
In Detroit

In Detroit

In Atlanta

In Atlanta

In Philly

In Philly

Snoozing in Atlanta

Snoozing in Atlanta

Hiding under the covers in Philly

Hiding under the covers in Philly

So that’s how Tallulah travels. If anyone ever considers taking their cat on the road with them, I say DO IT. It’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I mean, look at that face! How could I leave her behind??

Tallulah – Cat, Rock Star

Last night we took a sleeper bus overnight from Philadelphia to Hartford. We left Philly around 2:00am and arrived in Hartford at 6:30am. Tallulah hung out in the bus with us as we watched a movie and drank some beers. She met Elaine’s dog, Taza, who wanted to play. Tallulah wasn’t sure what to make of Taza, who is a long-haired chihuahua – she just sort of sat next to Taza and watched her roll around. After watching the movie, we slept in one of the bunks. Here’s Tallulah in our bed – what a rock star.

Here’s Taza in the lounge part of the bus:

Ryan and Chris at Yum Yum Bankok

Ryan and Chris at Yum Yum Bankok

I spent last Monday and Tuesday in New York with Tanya and Michael. I saw “Spring Awakening”, which I loved, and had drinks with Richard Rauscher afterwards, who is one of the stage managers, and a good friend. I also had dinner with Christopher and Ryan. It was a goodbye dinner, as Chris moves to LA at the end of the month. I will miss him so much – I don’t know what I would have done without him when I first moved to New York – he gave me a place to live, and an instant community of friends. I love him to pieces and can’t imagine what NYC will be like without him.

It was nice to get back to New York for a couple of days – I visited my storage unit and saw Andrea briefly, as well as also having dinner with my dear friend Patty, who is in town rehearsing the second tour of “Jersey Boys”. It was so great catching up with Patty and seeing one of her latest knitting masterpieces – a striped ribbed sweater called “Tubey”.

Goodbye donuts from Naomi

Last week was filled with rehearsals for Julie Barnes, who opens tomorrow night in Naomi’s track, and also for Graham Bowen, who is our new swing/ass’t dance captain. No sightseeing for me! We all went out for sushi on Saturday night to bid Naomi Kakuk goodbye. She is one of our original female ensemble members, and will be sorely missed. In her final performance last night, the two girls who do the “tap cross” with her during “Jew Song”, didn’t enter, so Naomi had a solo tap cross (which was a total surprise to her) – it was a great moment.

So now we are in Hartford. It is so surreal to be back here – and I’m staying in the same apartment building as I did for “A Christmas Carol”. It seems like no time has passed since I was last here – I can’t believe that four months have gone by. I think the next two weeks are going to be a bit of a hibernation for me – after Memphis, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philly, I am ready to not do any sightseeing and just stay in and knit, read and watch movies. I need to catch up on some sleep and relaxation!

Cabled Skinny Scarf

The skinny scarf is finally done! I started it in Tampa and for some reason it has taken forever to finally finish! The pattern is “Natty Scarf” from Knit and Tonic – I modified it to make a skinny version. The yarn is 100% alpaca from the Hidden Pines Alpaca Farm (www.hiddenpinesalpacas.com), bought at the New Jersey Sheep and Wool Festival. The label says it’s from an alpaca named Sammy!

Don’t you love my model?