Nice Work, If You Can Get It
Mom is asking for another post and I'm currently on an 8 hour bus travel day traversing Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky with an ultimate goal of Dayton Ohio. Yup, four states in one day. Haven't done that since I was a "tiny little girl" (Dorothy quote) and Dad packed us in the unairconditioned car every other summer to drive non stop from CA to IL to visit relatives. I think I was about 8 years old the last time that happened. In CA you can drive 8 hours north and still be in CA! Anyway, this provides a little time for blogging. Here ya go, Mom!
We've just finished our second full week of shows. We are generally booked 8 shows a week the entire tour. We will have shows 17-24 in Dayton. Yay! A sit down! (Some term explaination here for Mom, who will ask, and anyone else who needs to know.) A sit down is when we are booked in a city/theatre for more than a day or two. We are in Dayton for a week. That sounds awesome when you realize that the following two weeks is entirely one nighters. Yup. A new theatre in a new city every night. This means travel, show, sleep, repeat x14, or something like that. I haven't counted. I don't keep track. It can be daunting. A sit down can be exhausting too as it means that you usually have a two doh shay or two. (That's "Willy Wonka" speak for 2 show day) This term is pretty apropo as your brain can get turned around by show two due to exhaustion or the feeling of de ja vu.. Didn't we already do this scene? Am I getting in or out of this costume? However, sitting in a city also allows you a bit of time to get your laundry done, shop, explore a new part of the country, get to a doctor or buy a new phone because yours died. (Gah! Yes, it died!)
I'm getting one question very consistently from you lovely friends and family so I thought I'd blog the answer this way. You are all asking: Are you enjoying this? Are you happy? Is it fun? Or something to that effect. Let me say that touring would not be for everyone. You are not the master of your own time, ever. You live on a bus and sleep in a new hotel room nearly every night. You wait for a bus call time by email every night to tell you what time to be on the bus the next day for travel or at the theatre for show. You eat when the bus stops and allows you to eat, where it allows you to eat. If you need to get anywhere else, uber is your best friend or you walk. You are no longer a name, but a number. This is for wardrobe mainly but girls start with 100 (Me) and up, boys are 200 (Julian) and up. This is so all the locals who dress us can help but don't actually have to learn who we are. Yes, and learn to like public nudity. Theatre people know this. You just change where you can as fast as you can. And thank god for awesome wardrobe dressers! You are told what to wear (for shows) when to change (8 costumes changes a show), how to look, where to stand, how to move, when to breath, what to say and how to say it. Additionally, you do this with 50 other people from whom you cannot escape so you better like them. We live together on a bus and in hotel rooms. I am one of only two cast members allowed their own room and bus seat. Believe me, I don't take this for granted. Having time to get away from people can be very valuable to me. I'm grateful. You are also far from family for a very long time. Thank God for Face Time and modern technology but it's not being there. There aren't many married or family types on the road and there's probably a reason why. Those who are, are on their phones constantly. It can be rough on them. Sooo.... Am I enjoying it? Completely.
We get to do what we love! Plus travel! And with people we love and have quickly become family. You become family so fast when doing a show. You have to. Like each other or not you are a team that has to trust each other with your life, basically, on a stage every day. Your job is to make everyone on the stage look good. Not just you. If you're out there for just you, it shows. The audience knows it and your cast does too. You have to trust each other to keep the ball in the air., catch the line that was missed, the fly that didnt come in, the costume quick change mayhem backstage, the cue that failed, whatever! (Not that ANY of these things EVER happened in 42nd Street! 😉) As our family grows off stage our characters deepen on stage and it shows in great ways. Our characters take risks because we trust eachother more and more. You don't mind the tight schedule because you want to be on time and on stage prepared. You don't care that you have to change your clothes 100 times a week because you are being dressed in Roger Kirk creations that make you look like an incredible Diva! (Pause here a moment and gasp. And the best one isn't even here! ((Mostly because I'm afraid that Adam would kill me for posting them. Come see the show!)))
How spoiled am I? Who could complain? Oh, BTW, I got to see the original signed sketches of my costumes as they hang in Bramble's beautiful home too!
Seriously... And you should see the dancers! Gah! They look so fabulous! Follow 42ndstreettour on twitter or Instagram for more pics.
You also learn everyone's habits, likes and dislikes: Clara likes pop tarts, David enjoys a good bourbon, Carlos is a Harry Potter/video game/power ranger nerd deep down, etc. and on top of it all we get to do what we love for sold out, appreciative audiences every night with a show that is actually really really .good! Maybe great! As actors get to know eachother a common question is usually "What's the favorite role you've ever played?" Most often this answer ends up being sentimental. Our favorites are the show where we met our spouse or got our big break or, for me, A Little Night Music, Ragtime, The Sound of Music, Oliver, where I shared the stage with my beautiful children. However, this crew agreed that the best answer is THIS role. THIS show. whatever THIS is is the right answer. Whatever show you are lucky enough to be in right now for any actor is your favorite. Because you are employed. When you are an actor/musician/tech you realize how fortunate you are to be in a job that pays you to do what you love to do every day. "Nice work, if you can get it" We know that. I know that. I'm grateful.