Sassy Actress, with a Side of Quirk

Life Musings by a Real Drama Queen

Another Openin’, Another Show! Virginia, South Carolina and Everything in Between

Well, hello there! I have been mighty busy performing and touring that I haven’t really gotten to update you about all of the wonderful festivities that have happened over the course of less than a week! Touring time goes super fast. It always feels like you are just arriving in one city and in an instance, you are hauling out and onto the next venue. And yet, it seems like we have been on the road for months and it has actually only been a week! It’s crazy and lovely and weird, but that’s where I am at right now.

On Friday, we opened at our first venue which was the Paramount in Charlottesville, Virginia. We had a crazy early morning that day since we had to prep for the show that morning, so we had to fit a lot of stuff into a very little time frame. I definitely prefer when we can set up the day before the shows, because it can feel really rushed, but you do whatcha gotta do! We had two shows back to back in the morning and we were sold out! Our first audience was 998 kids and teachers, and the second show had 1,014. Definitely the biggest audience I have ever played to. The space was beautiful, but the stage was a little small for our large set so we had to rework some bits in the show, but we made it work.The audiences really brought the show to a new level. The kids were so infectious, laughing and dancing the whole show. How could you not have fun when you have 1,00 kids out of their seats, dancing right along with you? It was an absolute treat and a great start to our tour.

The Paramount! So many seats!

The Paramount! So many seats!

The town (city?) of Charlottesville was fantastic. Their is a pedestrian mall outside where you can browse and shop at local boutiques or eat at the amazing restaurants. The vibe was so friendly and chill and it had tons of southern charm, with cobblestone streets and outdoor seating. We went to a local chocolate shop and ate at a bistro called Fig, which was in the college area.

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Charlottesville Pedastrian Mall

The theater provided us with Spudnuts for breakfast, a local treat. Don’t know what a spudnut is? Well, I’m glad you asked! Spudnut was created by two brothers from Salt Lake City, after they traveled to Germany and ate a fluffy, potato flour donut. They came back to the states and eventually created their own recipe for a potato donut, or a spudnut. Shortly after, they created a franchise and sold their donuts nationwide. They were particularly popular in the 1960s. The franchise doesn’t exist anymore, but there are still independent shops around the country, including Charlottesville VA (they are on the Spudnut wiki page!). The original donut flour mix is no longer sold, so the companies have to recreate the spudnut on their own. Now, if you now me, you know I am a donut fanatic, always in search of great fried pillows of dough that we disguise as breakfast. So how does the Spudnut rank? Top 5 donuts I have eaten, hands down. They make two kinds of donuts, a cake like one, and a fluffy potato flour one. Go with the potato flour ones. So freaking good! I could have eaten a dozen. They are so simple, yet so fresh and delicious. Definitely a food highlight on my trip.

We left from Charlottesville right after the show and started our trek to our next venue, in South Carolina. The drive was so pretty! We stopped for the night in Greensboro, North Carolina and had another incredible culinary experience. World, I have some confessions. One, I have never had proper fried chicken. Two, I have never had chicken and waffles. There I have said it! But on Saturday, in Greensboro NC, all of that changed, forever. We went to Dame’s Chicken and Waffles for dinner and I died and went to soul food heaven. The menu was so varied and had super creative names for the chicken and waffle pairings. I got the Quilted Buttercup, which was two mini sweet potato waffles and a fried chicken cutlet with maple walnut schmear.

The Quilted Buttercup. Worth every last calorie.

The Quilted Buttercup. Worth every last calorie.

Not familiar with schmear? It’s Dames’ version of a flavored butter. And it is a necessary evil. Flavorful, mouthwatering, and ridiculously delicious. If you haven’t waded into the chicken and waffles pool yet, I highly suggest you dip your toes in with Dame’s Chicken and Waffles if you are in North Carolina. Seriously. You won’t be disappointed.

So that was Greensboro. It was grand, even if only for a night. We also went to this great coffee shop called Tate’s on UNC Greensboro’s campus, which was lauded by one of the cast members. It was awesome, with local art, hand crafted drinks, and live jazz that particular day. A small highlight for sure before finishing our drive to South Carolina. Saturday was also my dearest friend Madeline’s birthday. She plays Lilly on the tour and turned 23 this weekend! We took her out for dinner when we made it to Greenville SC, and, like a boss, she ordered prime rib. Actually, it was funny because that night, all three of us girls got prime rib from that restaurant and it was fantastic. Again, another great food moment on tour. The next day, we loaded in and set up the stage and then we had the rest of the day to relax and explore. We found this awesome coffee shop called Moe Joe’s which had this great local roasted coffee called “Highlander Grogg” that I fell in love with. It is nutty, with sweet hints of butterscotch. The baristas there were super nice and friendly, as most people are that we have met in the South. The town too is gorgeous, on a river, with cobblestone streets and exposed brick everywhere. Falls Park is a must see.

Reedy River Falls

Reedy River Falls

It is a huge park with a suspension bridge overlooking Reedy River Falls. wpid-img_20141018_182149884.jpgSeriously beautiful nature, accompanied by picturesque fountains and sculptures everywhere. I really like it down here! I might have told my mom (multiple times) to think about retiring down here some day, so I can continue to visit the area…come on mom! Speaking of moms, one of our cast member’s mom and sister were in town, so the rest of us joined them for dinner later that day. It was really nice and they were absolutely lovely.

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View of the Peace Center

Today we opened at our venue, the Peace Center. We are in their smaller space, the Gunter theater. Despite the fact that the space is smaller, the facilities are top notch and the stage is ginormous. There is a ton of wing space (backstage space for those of you who are unfamiliar with theater terms) and the dressing rooms are almost too big for our tiny cast. It is a pleasure to work in their space. The crowds today were pretty good, not 100% sold out, but fairly full houses nonetheless. The kids, as usual, really enjoyed it, though the first audience was a bit timid and second audience seemed a bit antsy. That’s kids for you! Regardless, we had great shows and are excited to finish it off tomorrow with two more.

View from the Gunter Stage

View from the Gunter Stage

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about Buddy. Oh Buddy. After our shows today, we went to a burger joint downtown called Grill Marks, which had delicious big burgers, shakes, fries, and the like. The food was great and I could talk for another hundred words about all the food we ate, but I won’t because there was something even more delicious than juicy burgers on the menu at Grill Marks, and his name was Buddy. Buddy was our server, and boy, was he a grass-fed* hunk of man. Now, I am a happily taken by a lovely man myself, but my guy knows that I can appreciate a good-looking man. I mean, looking is okay, as long as I don’t touch, right??? Anyway, back to Buddy. Everyone at our table was swooning over him at our table. I swear, Madeline and I got slack jawed every time he asked us if we needed something. He was tall, dirty blonde, toned arms, which were covered in tats (zomg tasteful sleeves though), with a voice that was smooth and sultry. Buddy, if you are reading this, we want you to know that your hotness was appreciated. Grass-fed* men for life!

Okay, well, now that I am done embarrassing myself with the Buddy rant, I am going to go and take a cold shower. Thanks for reading about my tour life. I realize this post is better organized because I am writing it on a computer rather than my tablet. I’ll try my best to write them on hotel computers whenever possible. After tomorrow’s shows, we are off to Florida with a quick pit stop in Savannah Georgia. If you have any questions about my tour life, or want a specific topic discussed or explored, or if you want Buddy’s number, just leave a comment and I would be happy to answer it! Happy Monday Y’all!

* Back in Omaha, I began called certain men “corn fed”. “Corn fed” is just a term I coined for that All-American, Midwestern, hunky guy. A variation of corn fed is grass-fed, which is for the more alternative guy, who still has certain clean cut features of a corn fed man, like being toned and masculine, but he has an edge. Their is also another variation, for the hipster “too cool for school” man or the oddball, which is free range. Those men are either straight up hipsters, or are really quirky and original. They also tend to be lankier and leaner than the corn fed, or even the grass fed man. Just a little reference point for you.*

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Ease on Down, Ease on Down the Road!

Hello there!!!

Hope you have had a fantastic week. I have so much to catch y’all up on. Currently, we are driving from Illinois all the way to West Virginia and I am typing this up in our van. I am surprised and happy to say that I have yet to regurgitate my breakfast. Let’s keep this theme going, shall we?

So, when I last left you, we were gearing up for a week of tech. We actually teched in a different venue since the Rose was being used for Cat in the Hat. We went to the Jewish Community Center about 30 minutes from our house to tech. The stage was actually tinier than what we will normally encounter on the road, but for all intensive purposes, it worked for tech just fine. This tech was by far the easiest tech I have ever done. EVER! It was so easy, in part, because our team is so focused, but mostly the credit should go to our stage manager David, as well as our
lighting/sound designer Kyle. They did a paper tech before us (the actors) even got into the space, so when we were added to the mix, we just had to tweak a few moments with the technical elements. The show itself is also simplistic, in the sense that all of the moving periaktoi are moved by the actors, and it is just an easy turn.  There is nothing flying in which also makes tech nice and easy.

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Garland and Lilly Cheesing!

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Garland's Chair, obvs

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I would say the most difficult part of tech was adding in the costumes since all of the characters, besides Lilly, make quick costume changes at some point or another. The actors playing Garland (me), Mother, and Father, have the majority of changes which are often only seconds. The actor playing the Mother actually has 11 total quick changes. I myself, only have 4, however my one quick change from Garland to Grammy is crazy tight, mostly because I have to do a pretty heavy set change and then have to put on a dress, blazer, glasses, AND change wigs. The wig change is by far the hardest part of the whole thing because nobody is on stage left during my change so I often have no idea if my wig is on correctly. Also, have you ever tried putting glasses on when you have a wig cap and wig on. Easier said than done. Despite all of this craziness, we all only needed one dress rehearsal to figure out and solidify all our changes. So, in turn tech was super duper easy and successful!

This past Friday, we had our first audience which consisted of fifty pre-schoolers. It was great to have an audience and I think they really enjoyed it. At first, they were really quiet which made me think “Oh no! They are bored,”. But what I realized as the show went on is that they were being quiet because they were REALLY listening. I mean, they were totally on board. That age group, when they are trying to listen or follow a story, they get nice and quiet. At one point, my friend Madeline, who plays Lilly, took the “Uncooperative Chair” to give herself a punishment, a little boy in the audience gasped loudly as if saying “OH NO!”. He really understood the seriousness of that chair. It’s moments like this that make our job incredible. At one point, when my character Garland had to kiss Lilly’s baby brother Julius, I made a disgusted face and some little one in the audience went “yuck!”. The audience really gave us some perspective and helped us realize which jokes will land with the kids and which ones will land with the adults that come to see the show.

On Saturday, we had our last dress rehearsal and then packed the truck so it would be ready to go on Tuesday morning. We had the rest of the night off, so went to an attraction called Haunted Hollows for a little spooky rendezvous. It was a huge piece of land that had different Halloween themed houses on it. There was the main house, which was three stories of “terror”. Let me preface this by saying I am a scaredy cat that loves to be scared. I get a huge rush of fear and adrenline that makes me feel both terrified and also excited. It’s the same reason I love and also am terrified of things like cliff jumping. I am an adrenline junky that is crazy scared half the time. But that just makes me feel that much more exhilarated when I’m done.

Tangent complete. Back to Haunted Hollows. So, the main house was supposed to be 3 stories of crazy scariness and whatnot, but it was a bit disappointing, and that’s coming from a lady that gets spooked if someone approaches me from behind to fast. I scare easily and that haunted house wasn’t that scary. There was a few moments when my friend Regan (who plays the Father track) grabbed onto me for safett and in turn, I clung to Saladin (who plays Chester) because I too was spooked! But generally, it wasn’t very scary. I like to be really scared. So I was a bit upset. There was one farm house that was full of hay where I got super scared. It was pitch dark and a guy with a chain saw surprised me by jumping on the bale in front of me, revving the saw. I jumped and almost went into the fetal position. My friends found my mini heart attack hilarious, and I’ll admit, my reaction was pretty wonderful. The only thing that sucked is that after the guy spooked me, he was no longer scary. The element of surprise was what was scary, and that guy was the only surprise in the farm house. It would have been eons better had there been another guy waiting at the door. But there wasn’t. Perhaps they were short staffed? Also, the characters that walked around the park were few and far between. The ones who were there didn`t interact with people which is boring and again, not scary. The only ones that really were fantastic were Bubbles and Peaches the clowns. They killed it. They had chain saws and were crazy scary looking. Plus, I watch American Horror Story: Freak Show, so I already was more terrified of clowns than usual. They were scary. The rest of Haunted Hollows? Not so much.

Sunday and Monday we had days off, but the weather was dismal at best. We all spent good chunks of the day relaxing in front of the TV, with a book, or packing up for our journey. By Tuesday morning, we all were packed and off to tour through the country! Five people loaded up into the van with our luggage, while David (the SM) and I hopped into our beauty of a box truck for the first travel day. Our truck is 13.6 feet tall, 26 feet long, and weighs about 8 tons when it’s all packed with our set, costumes, props, and equipment. It’s a beast and I love it. We had approxiametely eight hours of driving which we split between the two of us, with David taking the first 4 hours from Nebraska, through Iowa and the beginning of Missouri. I finished off the drive through the majority of Missouri and Illinois. I had to drive through some inclement weather, but David said I did a great job. I was one proud lady. Nailed it!

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Gearing up to drive the truck with a coffee!

The truck is actually really fun to drive. I enjoyed being away from the group for a bit, to chill out and jam out to music. David may or may not have taken a few snapchats of me jamming to some great tunes like Shake it Off and Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca. We also drove through St. Louis so I saw the arch from afar and we went over a really cool bridge. The majority of the driving however, was farmland. Lots and lots of farmland.

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We, as in the truck, made it to the hotel before the van which is practically unheard of, but the van ran into some problems with Lila, the GPS. I think she is quite sadistic, but in the truck we just use mapquest printouts or our phones, so I don’t have to deal with her much. Anyway, they went on an unneccessary detour, so we got there and settled in about an hour before the van. Then comes the best part of the day- dinner. There is this barbeque place called Bandana’s literally across the parking lot from the hotel we stayed at, so we went there since we were all STARVING. Let me begin with saying that I love barbeque. LOVE LOVE LOVE! This place has many awards for their ribs, so I decided to go with that platter which came with 2 sides and really delicious garlic bread. I had cole slaw and potato salad as my sides, which were great, but the ribs were the star. They also make 5 different homemade sauces, which were all delicious. I liked the sweet tang of the Kansas City sauce so I used that on top of my ribs. But the ribs didn’t actually need sauce. They were incredible on their own, with great flavor, but the sauce just made them that much better. The cole slaw was really good, sweet and kind of watery (I can’t think of a better way to describe it), which is how I like it. The potato salad was different from what I am used to, but it was still good. It was really sweet, probably from relish, and very soft. I liked that it wasn’t goopy or crazy heavy on the mayo and I also liked that they used red potatos. It also was incredibly well priced for the portions and yes, I did indeed eat all of the ribs. They were just so good!

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And now, we are currently driving from Illinois to West Virginia! I don’t have to drive today which I am thankful for since I can relax a bit and just enjoy the ride. We are currently in Bird’s Eye, Indiana and we just passed the town of Santa Claus about twenty minutes ago and yes, it is an actual place. With attractions like Christmas Lake. Google Maps that shiz! We will be driving through Kentucky and West Virginia later in the day so woohoo! Also, we are currently back on eastern time! Yay! Alright, that’s all for now. I will post my review(s) of Gone Girl this afternoon since I have discovered that typing in the car doesn’t make me sick- yay! Thanks for reading!

xoxo
D

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Finishing the Hat! Rehearsals, Trucking, and Loving on these Crazies

Howdy! Long time no talk. We have been in the trenches rehearsing our butts off, and let me tell you, it has certainly paid off! We are coming up on our tech week and we are super prepared. Our show is in really good shape so hopefully the new elements introduced this week will run smoothly.

Our director, Graham, gave us a great pep talk after our first run today. He said that we are all really prepared and ready for tech but we still have work to do. He reminded us that we are performing for impressionable kids and that we really have to take our roles seriously. He also said that our show is special because it straddles the line between reality and fantasy, swaying back and forth. Since we are so prepared, we also have to make sure not to make our acting choices too “big”. As an actor, it can be really difficult to rehearse or perform a show over and over again and not get a little bit bored. When actors get bored, we often times make outlandish acting choices to spice up our performance. This can be okay as long as the integrity of the show stays the same. Even now, in rehearsals, we sometimes find ourselves doing this by accident because, well, we have been rehearsing a ton. That little reminder, however, really brought us back to earth and our second run was absolutely fantastic. I think I can speak for our whole cast in saying that we all kicked major tush this afternoon and felt better than we ever have running the show.

So in short, our director Graham is fantabulous. In other news, I drove the box truck last week! A big, hardy, 24 foot box truck. It isn’t the actual truck we will be using on tour but it was still useful to drive it around town. Our actual truch will be 2 feet longer and 5 feet higher! My parents are thrilled. I would be lying if I said I didn’t love the fact that I am the only girl driving the truck. I revel in knowing that I can hang with the boys, which is that little feminist inside of me. Anything you can do, I can do better! Or, at least equally. I drove the big truck with as much ease as you can expect from a beginner AND I even backed it up to a loading dock perfectly. My teacher, our TD, was thoroughly impressed with my ballsy attitude. I also didn’t hit any curbs which is pretty cool.

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We also got our makeup plots yesterday and they are SUPER DUPER EASY. And wonderful. Very basic, natural makeup which is awesome. The makeup designer was really nice (I didn’t catch her name but she rocked) and she even told me that if the makeup the Rose provided irritated my skin, I was welcome to use my own stuff, which is great since I have uber sensitve skin. I also asked if I could have a bright pink lipstick for my character and she happily obliged. She even commented that when the Rose did Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse my character, Garland was garrishly made up and she gave me the lipstick that was used in that first production. I mean, my character is pretty much a pageant queen a la toddlers in tiaras. Now I just need to find my cupcake dress and flippers…

Also this awesome makeup artist had an adorable little baby chihuahua. I remember his name because it was Elvis. How could you forget a pup named Elvis???

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Me and Elvis. Of course I had to hold him!

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Garrishly Garland.

This past weekend was another great one with the cast. I know I sound like a broken record but everyone here is freaking awesome. We went to this awesome sushi place in the Old Market and had a grand old time. I had a jalapeno cucumber margarita which really put my meal over the edge. We, of course, ended the eve with ice cream from Ted&Wally’s which is ALWAYS worth the calories. I had two kick ass icecream flavors, Caramel Pecan Pie and Maple Walnut. Also HELLOOOOO FALL!

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After Dinner..Casually posing with a Bull Sculpture. Ignore my Awkward Broken-Looking Leg.

I also want to mention that I totally read Gone Girl over the last week and finished it last night. Zomg. We are seeing the movie tonight. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have mixed feelings about it, but I will save that for a book/movie review post I’ll be writing after I see the movie! I know it’s random and totally not what this blog was intended to be about but I’m all Honey Badger about it, I do what I want!

Also, I literally just heard our director, Graham is coming to the movies with us tonight. Have I told you how awesome this Brit is?

I intended this post to originally be about my fellow castmates and stage manager but then I was all like meh, but now I am all hmmmmm. I definitely want to write all my horrible feelings about them…JUST KIDDING! A bunch of them actually are reading the blog which is super awesome and very kind of them. Some of them were wary of me using their names which is sort of funny since I am sure there aren’t many people who actually read this blog besides my mother (HI MOM!) but I can understand their concern. This whole name thing led to an incredibly hilarious conversation in the living room about what I could call people in the blog, as their aliases or codenames, if you will. One wanted to be named Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time, which I am not familiar with, which made me look like a pariah. Another wanted to be named Jack something from The Nightmare Before Christmas which I also haven’t seen, which sparked more witty banter. Let’s just say some of them do not respect my taste in TV & Movies anymore. That’s okay. I’m more of a Nashville girl than Adventure Time anyway! Let the teasing begin!

So I guess this is it for now. I have to go roast some chicken drumsticks before we skidaddle to the movies. If you’ve made it all the way down to the bottom of the page, good for you! I appreciate it. Seriously though. You rock.
P.S. I am writing in my schedule that I will post tomorrow. So I will! No more lazy blogging.

XOXO
D

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