My life on the road of the 1st National Tour of the Broadway musical Memphis.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

good morning baltimore

Alright folks, back on a regularly scheduled program.
On the whole East Lansing was a bust, audiences were low in attendance, though mighty in response, and the local crew wasn't exactly on top of things, and we even had a creeper hair guy who would always be peering around the hair gondolas to watch us change, and make weird excuses to come up to the guys dressing room. So He had to get a talking to, ugh weird creepy old man.
Now the absolute best things about EL, and maybe the best things on this tour so far, Were 1: the most amazing gym we've been too on tour, and 2: Albert and Denise David. They are Evans dance teachers who I got to meet way back in Memphis when we opened the show, and they took me into there dance family. Well they came, and I told them about all the problems I was having with my body and my right leg, and they worked on me, stretched me out, trigger point massaged my leg, and yanked so good that sunday night I actually had hope again that I would be ok, and could finish out the tour and get back to the dancer I once was. I hadn't felt that good after an 8 show week in months!

So yesterday we arrived in Baltimore, Md, and it seemed that there was a general sigh of relief from half the cast that we are back on the east coast. Folks got to go home to nyc to connect with there loved ones, and to audition. I on the other hand decided to just stay in Bmore for the night off we have to hang out with my li'l bro.
Thats why I'm excited to be here! My li'l bro Michael and my nephew Harper live here, and I get to spend some much needed quality time with him. He is a freelance visual artist, and muralist who is taking Bmore by storm! I love being with him, he sparks so much creativity within me.

Baltimore also bring about our official 6 month mark, which means contracts are up for renewal, of course  thats why people have gone back to NYC to audition cause some have decided to leave, including my buddy Evan. SADFACE! His replacement came in yesterday and starts rehearsal today, we'll meet him at soundcheck. Apparently I have met him before so Scott says cause he goes to our gym. All I know is he better not be a bad egg.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Yes yes I know!! It has been a little over 2 weeks now and I'm sorry. I have been living it up in Minneapolis!!
I spent last summer there performing at the Guthrie Theatre in the PBS televised production of HMS PINAFORE. and since that was my last known real residence, it was like a coming home, and I was greeted as such by the city itself because of the wonderful sunshine and warm weather we had.

I had a whole bunch of friends come see me in the show, and I got to see people every day while we were there. It was truly wonderful, and restorative. So I will just post a bunch of pics and fun times with friends there. Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

We finally got out of Cleveland!! And I truly have to say Thank God!!
That  theatre was such a hard space to be in, and I hated all the changes we had to do to the show to make it fit into it. It was hell for cast and crew to have to twist and change and compromise for us to perform there.
And what made it even worse, was the sunday 1pm matinee, would should just be out lawed as it is, but because of day light savings, it made us loose an hr of the already not enough recovery time, and do a show at noon, which felt like 11. Let me say I'm glad there were no critics in the audience that day, cause we were in too much pain to even have the extra strength to care what the show looked like.( which by the grace of God looked good, I think we were under a special blessing) But of course because of that situation, people were getting hurt left and right, and by the second show we had to do that day, folks were dropping out like flies thru out the show, and boy did it hurt picking up the slack. So much so that I ended up with a pounding migraine that lasted for the next day and a half. All that to end a 2 week stint. I was ready to get the H E double hockey sticks out of there.

Then there was these mid west town called the twin cities. That's right folks we're in Minneapolis and St Paul, and it has been a phenomenal homecoming. Now I say homecoming cause for you that don't know, my last show before this was right here in Minneapolis working at the Guthrie theatre. HMA PINAFORE, which was shown on pbs as part of there master arts series and still is broadcast. Now I of course didn't realize what an amazing summer I had here til I was gone, and thinking back to all the memories, and looking at photo albums. I had a freakin awesome time here! Made some awesome friends,  lived in a great place, and worked for a great theater. On top of that, this place was my last known residence, last place I had sat down in, and made some decent connections before tour started, so it really is like a home coming.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Something to Leap about!

SO the doctor says there is nothing extremely wrong with me. YAAAAY!
He basically said I am a young man, but in dance years I'm middle aged. Which is true. This show is just putting me thru the wear and tear, with no recovery time. So I have a bilateral strain on my knees, with a possible over compensated iso something or other hip sprain as well. You should see me at night its ridiculous, I have ice bags on both knees and my right hip. Sometimes you have to improvise ice packs as well.

A lot of folks in the cast seem to be going on these juice cleanses or fasts, it's quite interesting, Let me tell you though people are hungry!!! hahahahaha, and get moody, heck lord knows I do. This seems to be a season of contemplation, and purging, Of course it's all around lent. People have given up there various vices and disciplined themselves one way or another. A couple of guys have even decided to not talk for a week, sans the show of course, just to look inward. It's been a very interesting time here in Cleveland so far.
And our boring, undeserved featured, staunch republican, in the way, hate conjurer, guest dj is now gone YAAAAAAAYY. Sorry, I didn't like him here. Thats all I'll say about that.

As you know it was the special leap year this week, with feb 29th coming in and blessing us with another day to love and be loved! So I made my famous oreo pie, And Dan wanted to do a leap year shoot, so after the show, I leaped for him!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hello hello and hello,

So here we are in Cleveland, and I get to feel semi domestic cause I am in an apt for the next 2 weeks, so I've gotten to go grocery shopping, and cook my own healthy food, and hang out in my living room, YAAAAY!.
Everyone was excited to get and a bit scared to be here. We have our first day off since Christmas next monday. A real actual Golden day. No traveling, no loading out, just a full day of rest. Praise God. Which especially is much needed for our crew. In fact lots of them are totally taking advantage of the situation, by going on vacations. Actually this is the season that vacationing has really picked up. So things are even more crazy.
Now the reason why we are all scared is because this is the official first theatre that we shouldn't be in at all. There is no crossover space on stage, we have to travel under the stage thru the basement, and then go up a single person flight of spiral stairs. A couple of Fly pieces have been cut, and we've even had to have a 2hr rehearsal to re-block and restage entrances and exits. So we're not doing the show that we set out with, which is kinda ridiculous. And our poor crew doubled the usual load in time cause of it.
But the show must go on, and we opened last night.We actually got thru it, though we had some mistakes cause of the new changes the show was a hit of course. The only real thing that messed up was the stairs not moving in for the last scene in act 1. So we all had to improvise and act our faces off. Kudos goes out to Rhett George as gator.

I have my doctors appt today for my knees, it's going to be a journey getting up there, wish me luck!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good words

So here we are about to finish our week in Greenville South Carolina with our last 2 shows, and there's really been nothing to report. I had to call out yesterday and take 2 shows off to rest my knees and my ankles cause there was some weird buckling going on friday night in the show, which almost caused me a big accident in the Radio dance break. But I'm back in today. (here's a clip from an old bway cast)

Matt with his beautiful girl Evie.
The absolute highlight for me was being approached by our head carpenter, and Crew Cheif Matt, about being someone who can keep him accountable for going to the gym, and not letting him slack off. It has been great having someone to count on you, someone you have to get up for to not let down, someone who needs you to be on so that you can encourage them. What was also nice about it was, the Y was about a mile and a half walk away so we would use that time to walk and warm up for our work out, but also to talk and spend quality time getting to know each other. He told me how discouraged the crew can get at times, and how it brings him down, so I asked him how could I encourage him,( knowing that effecting the head, can change the body), and you know what he said to me, "you already are."
 I felt awesome.

Oh and get this, apparently they don't know what the doctor saw on Treys xray, but he doesn't have a single broken bone, and all the time he spent off his foot really did well healing his ankle and he's walking again! I miss my li'l bro. Good now we can get back to our extreme parkour training! (google it)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So here we are in Greenville South Carolina, and Let me say that it has been a very refreshing experience so far. This town is very cute, and came as a big shock to me. They have this beautiful waterfall park thats a block away from the theatre down town which is a perfect serene place to have a soul searching devotional.

Though the marketing department has done an absolute piss poor job advertising ,(there's not even a poster on the theatre of our show!!), there has been good and responsive audiences. Now they are just mediocre in terms of interaction but because Naples was so bad, we almost seem overwhelmed.

The only thing that has made this week unbearable is the fact that the conservative radio dj is back in my booth ruining the beginning of the show, and standing in front of me during the curtain call. I am soo annoyed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Florida ending part 2

Yes the sunshine has been really great, and for the most part everyone has been feeling great. All the crew has been wearing shorts backstage, the girls have been wearing sundresses and bikinis, and folks our wearing flip flops and sandals. Of course with the sun comes sun burn, and tan lines, so half of the main street cast(white folks ;)), are red as lobsters, or on there way to looking like us beale streeters.
Some folks have even gotten talked too about being out in the sun too long ruining the look for the show, and of course thats already on top of the ill feeling of the sun burn.

But what was thought to maybe the best 2 weeks on tour so far, has turned out to be a very sour and sore spot for our tour.
For some reason this has become the place where a lot of folks have become un happy. We are now dealing with such crazy situations that multiple people have felt that there best option is resigning. So March is going to be one uncomfortable month for the life of this show.
In fact, Just yesterday I was sitting on the back of the loading dock next to Kent in silence just trying to figure out how to keep out of all the drama.

Also  our Beautiful dancer Brie is going to have to get surgery for her hip which she hurt back in rehearsal for this show, which means she will be out for a bit til she heals, and friday night I did something to my ankle which has started causing me pain. Though I've decided to stay for the next 6 month contract despite not being paid the value of what I'm giving, and what I should be, The determing issue may be if my body can hold out. This show is ridiculously strenuous on our bodies, and our management is not valuing us and taking care of us as they should be out here on the road, especially with so few of us.

So Florida has become bitter sweet.  Pray for grace on us ya'll

Florida ending part 1

Well Life here in Sunny florida, is finally coming to a close, and maybe for the best.

Everyone was really excited about coming down to the warmth for 2 weeks. I have to admit it has felt like a mini vacation being here in the 80's and wearing shorts, and all the fun in the sun we had. I got to run around Disney World twice, once each week, go play all day riding roller coasters at Bush Gardens,  Celebration station ,and go outlet shopping!

Going back to Disney was a trip. As I said before, this was the first time back in 10 yrs, and emotions, and memories flooded me, and almost over took me some. A lot of that happened as we went to the Animal Kingdom park.  I spent so much time there cause I was in the Festival of the Lion King show there. In fact Evan still had friends who were in the show, so we got a special VIP showing of the show and meet afterward, and it was astounding to me that there were still people in the show from 10 YEARS AGO!!! You know I ended my time at Disney not being in the show cause I got disapproved cause my kicks were too high, and I was dancing too hard, and I am SOO Glad! God clearly had better plans for me. But it was a blast to see the show again, and be in that space, it reminded me that I had danced for Star Jones on Thanksgiving that fall I was there! hahahaha I'm on her home videos baby!
 As we were walking around, I caught myself falling waay behind cause I was just stopping and looking around and recalling funny situations, reminiscing about the crazy times I had there. Remembering the parade route and how much fun I had dancing like a fool being a banner carrier at the end of the whole thing. hahahahahahah man that just made me laugh out loud. Also this park was the place I had most of my time being "friends" with Eeyore. (and yes that is code) So as we past the boat dock where the Pooh friends were out, I immediately had to deviate from whatever plan we were on, and race down the path to see them, and especially my great close old friend. I swear I could cry now, like I almost did then just thinking about the time spent there hugging people, effecting hearts,  and making dreams come true. It almost over took me waiting inline to see Eeyore. It also feels me with such a feeling of innocence, cause I was in such a different place then, with so much potential, and so much going for me. Maybe thats why its so emotional, cause it was a place in my life where I didn't have the consequences of 10 yrs of good and bad life choices. Hind sight is 20/20 yes. But I praise God he is still looking out for me, and loves me.

We had an almost full cast day at Bush Gardens. It was just a day full of running around from coaster to coaster trying to beat the herds of spanish teenage girls screaming and chanting songs. But I have to admit seeing the animals there in that environment, felt absolutely wrong. As I visit zoos and aquariums around the country, more and more do I feel conflicted about how I feel towards these captured environments.
Since it was an amusement park day I of course allowed myself to have one crazy junk food, and you better believe I got the jumbo sized powered sugar funnel cake, of course atop with whipped cream. Oh yes. Of course it was kinda the only thing I had eaten all day(disclaimer, not a balanced diet). And on top of that I had to shove it down, and eat it as we were racing to get to the one dinner theater so we could watch the Burn the floor park show, which was totally hot! ( and so was the guy from italy) ;)

Of course you can't forget our total fun day at celebration station!! Man I wish I had one of these in my area growing up! I'm thinking maybe making this apart of my bachelor party, hmm???

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The unexpected tour enhancer.

Waay back in September of last year when we started rehearsal, little did I know that the 13yr old son of one of the cast mates, who was always hovering outside the rehearsal rooms, playing games and doing homework, Would become one of my saving graces on this tour.

After immediately talking with them, I got extremely excited, cause Mama(that's her name in the show and thats what we call her), was telling me how she home schools Trey, and we agreed that I could help in the process, kind of be the cool teacher so to speak. I love teaching, inspiring, encouraging, being a mentor for someone, it kind of turns my heart on.
 So what it's become now is cool field trips to all the aquariums and science centers and museums we can find, that are worth going too.

Hanging out with Trey has been awesome! This kid is so amazing, and I feel the roles have been reversed and I learn from him all the time. His mother has totally raised him right, he's like a little man with great character. The one thing I fear though is because he's surrounded by all these older people all the time, he forgets that he's allowed to just be a kid, so I make sure we have fun, and fool around on our excursions.

We've had to put the running around on hold cause my poor little buddy's on crutches. he fell down the steps at the Fox theatre in Atlanta, stupid uneven balcony stairs. What we thought was just a sprained ankle turned out to be a broken heel.  We thought he would at least get a cool cast, And he was excited to have the full cast sign it and for me to paint the logo on it, but no one does casts any more and they just soft wrapped it.

 So now I've been thinking of ways to make him feel special, Any suggestions?

Friday, February 10, 2012

the beautiful power of sunshine

So it's past Tuesday, which of course means we are in a new city. I will do better at staying more up to date with life, but that's what it's like out here on the road, some times you don't get great internet.

We finally got another plane ride to our next city, Clearwater Florida. WOOHOOO!! Praise the Lord! You see, when are only day off from doing a show is the day we also travel to a new city, it's not a real day off, come on everyone knows the stress of traveling. Especially when most of your traveling consists of riding a incredibly cramped bus for 9 hrs. We were hoping that the company would be trying to take care of us more out here since there's not many of us and we need every last dancer, but sometimes it feels like they don't think about how we're holding up.

But We Are In FLORIDA! That fact alone has brightened up the company, and I mean everybody from Cast to crew. The sunshine is a beautifully powerful thing, for the thought of it had folks in sun dresses, shorts, and flip flops even before we got on the plane in ATL. Lots of folks are excited as well cause about half the cast is staying on there own to save money, or to just not be in a crappy hotel. There's a bunch of them that even got a beach house together for the week. I myself have been crashing at a friend of Evans.

Now to help us feel more valued, Evans friend got us in Disney World!!!! WOOOHOOOOO!! I haven't been back to Disney since I worked there 10 yrs ago, so I was waay excited. It was also great cause Justin has never been to Disney, or hasn't been back since he was like 1, so it was fun to run him around the park. It's interesting how once you have lived the disney magic, it still wells up inside of you once you go back to visit. We found ourselves screaming "we believe", and interacting with children, and riding all the  kiddie rides. It almost made us think twice about coming down to dance for disney again, but we quickly were reminded to stay away once we saw the show, and remembered how much they were getting paid. Disney World can be death to the potential for a dancer.

Another amazingly wonderful thing about being down here in Orlando, was I got to see my close friends Clint and Cody. I don't know the reason why God gave me so many good looking straight guy friends, but I tell ya it's not a joke I'm laughing at. We're gonna have to have words when I get to heaven. But it was awesome to see them. We went shopping at the outlets and to top off our boys night out, and day off, we had us a Hawaiian feast at the restaurant Ohanas in the Polynesian hotel at disney, and stuffed ourselves silly, and laughed til we cried. It was a great night.