Sassy Actress, with a Side of Quirk

Life Musings by a Real Drama Queen

Summer Lovin’ Having a Blast! Florida!!!

The sun is shining and it is always a beautiful day here in sunny Florida! Last post, we were opening the show at the Peace Center in South Carolina! For me, that seems like ages ago. We have been uber busy, traveling to and performing in Florida, so let me get you up to speed!

Greenville, South Carolina was spectacular, and our shows went off without a hitch! After performing shows 3,4,5 and 6 at the Peace Center, we packed up and headed to Savannah for a quick layover during our haul to Florida. Nothing super exciting happened in Savannah, BUT I did have some amazing braised kale with my meal at a little hole in the wall restaurant called Hideaway Cafe or Breezeway Cafe? Something like that…anyway, I got the bass special which was delicious in its own right, with a lemon beurreblanc and roasted parsnips, but the REAL star was the braised kale. Lemme take you back a minute…I have never gotten on the kale train. Ever. Despite being a self-proclaimed health nut, I have never ever been a fan of kale. Every time I had eaten it, I felt like I was chewing on cardboard that tasted something like grass. Needless to say, kale was not my green of choice. However at this sailaway cafe or whatever, they changed my mind about kale- indefinitely! This kale I could have eaten every day of my life. It was braised with plenty of bacon and onions and finished off with some vinegar. It was crazy good. Now you are saying, hmmm Dionna…it seems you only liked the kale because of the copious quantities of bacon, hmmm???? And I will tell you that the bacon did elevate the kale (I mean, bacon is bliss, come on!) BUT I would have loved it even if the bacon hadn’t been there. The braising changed my feelings about kale and I cannot WAIT to try it out for myself in the kitchen.

So yeah. That was Savannah, for me at least. All about that kale, ’bout that kale…I digress.

Moving on, we drove all the way to our first stop in Florida, Pembroke Pines, which was just outside of where our venue was in Aventura. Despite a little rain, we all enjoyed a day off. A few of us decided to do a gator tour of the Everglades which were just a few miles from where we were staying. That was AWESOME.
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I am seriously scared of most reptiles, specifically gators, but I was stunned at how beautiful and magnificent they were in the everglades! Learning about them in the wild made me a little less scared, but let’s be honest, I won’t be getting near any alligators any time soon! We also saw some awesome birds on the tour and had a fantastic air boat ride all over the glades. After the boat ride, we also got a fun live show from Chris, one of the Gator Boys from the Animal Planet show. He was pretty fearless (and corn fed) as he got very intimate with one big gator. Overall, the trip to the Everglades was well worth it.
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The next day, we drove to our next venue which was the Aventura Cultural Arts Center. We had two shows that day, plus a load in and load out, so we all prepped for a long long day. When we arrived, we were stunned at how freaking beautiful it was!
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The center is right on the water, which we later found out is called Dumbfoundling Bay (interesting eh?). We usually have full houses at most of our venues because they book schools to see us, but at the Aventura Center we were doing public shows, so they weren’t as packed as we are used to seeing. That being said, we still had a lot of fun. I will say that I was kind of turned off by the rudeness we got from the PARENTS in the audience! Many of them were texting, talking, moving around the theater. One lady even started to take a PHONE CALL in the middle of the show. People just don’t know how to conduct themselves in the theater. Teach your kids how to be polite in the theater, I beg of you. Also, I realize this is silly to say on here since most of you that are reading this are generally theater-goers without children or with children that are grown. Oh well, I felt it had to be said.

After our short, but lovely stint on Dumbfoundling Bay, we drove to West Palm Beach and loaded our set into the Kravitz Center’s Black Box space.


Kravitz Center!

Now this theater was lovely, even if we were using the smaller of their spaces. Their mainstage is huge.


The Mainstage. Humungous!

Like ginormous huge. Like 3,000 people huge. Cray Crayyyy. Our space was not as big but it still held like 300 kids I think (I never got the count here). This was our longest stint in one place on the tour, a total of 10 shows in 5 days. We were in West Palm Beach for a total of 6 days and almost every day after the shows, we would head to City Place which is a great walkable area with shops and restaurants, or to the beach, or to Delray Beach, which is another downtown area a few minutes away.
I really enjoyed all of the sun, sand, and surf. You don’t realize how much you love the ocean until you return. Or at least that was my experience.

Every day in West Palm Beach we had a full audience and the stuff they would say during the performance would make you laugh out loud. There were the awws and gasps when the baby Julius doll appears on stage, followed by a quick but fierce debate about if the baby was real or a doll. We had the little girl down front who cheered my character Garland on after Lily ruined the group presentation. The reactions we get during the show are so varied and hilarious. I find myself having to work REALLY hard to stay in the scene when a kid is being particularly funny. Also, one day this past week, I went on stage after my quick change into the Grammy costume with my wig on sideways. Madeline (Lilly in the show) told me I looked like a mouse unicorn. There was no way to fix it once on stage, so I just made it part of Grammy’s kooky personality. Oh the joys of live theater!

After our longest run in one place EVER we packed up on Halloween after two shows and said goodbye to one of the best crews we have encountered to date. We made our way down to Coral Springs FL about 45 minutes away and settled into our hotel. Halloween for the LPPP tour was kinda funky. Our friend and castmate Tim left to catch a flight, since he was going to a wedding in NJ on our day off, so we were already not at 100% so to speak. The remaining six of us decided to try to find dinner at a cool place and then head to downtown Ft. Lauderdale to see if we could find some fun festivities. Four out of six of us dressed up and I went as I Dream of Jeannie. David, our SM, was a sriracha bottle, Madeline was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Regan was a Greaser. We went to this Polynesian restaurant that was supposed to have Halloween events and had an interesting time. The bar, where we were first sat, was awesome, with live music and lots of people dressed up. The people there were mostly older, but we still thought it had potential to be fun. Then we saw the drink menu. Most drinks were between $10-20…ridiculous if you are an actor living off per diem! We promptly refused drinks and when we asked if we could order dinner, they informed us that we had to move to the formal dining room to do so. We were whisked away to a small, intimate room that was tackily decorated and overly formal. We were again prompted to order drinks, which we didn’t, and then finally got the dinner menu. The cheapest entree on there was $16.75…and honestly, they weren’t that great. Everyone ate their meal but honestly, my food, the hunan chicken was chinese takeout quality. Definitely not worth almost $20, plus it made me sick later. Bleh.

After our interesting stint at the Polynesian restaurant, we tried downtown Ft Lauderdale which also turned out to be a bust. The area we went to was mostly rich older people or young business yuppies. A good two thirds of the people were not in costume and the bars were either too crowded or had more overpriced beverages. So Halloween was a bit of a bust. BUT my costume was fantastic and now I have something to wear for next year’s Halloween, so all is not lost.

Saturday of this week, we had a day off and we all kind of went our separate ways. Regan and I enjoyed a lovely brunch at this place called Foxy Browns. I had a bellini and we shared banana bread grilled cheese, which was filled with nutella flavored ricotta. Yummo! I also had the short rib benedict which made my heart go pitter patter. If there is a short rib benedict on a menu, get it. Just do it. After brunch, I had a leisurely day reading and catching up on some shows. A few people went to Miami for the day but I stayed back and relaxed. At night, a bunch of us went to the Wicks Theater in Boca Raton and saw their production of Swing. Regan had a few friends in it since he has worked there previously, so we got some last minute tickets. Though the show has virtually no story line, the vignettes off singing and dancing were a great fun way to spend a night off. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, especially the spectacular band that was playing on stage. Delightful. After that, we went to the flashback diner for some grub. All of the entrees are named after old hollywood stars which made the experience all the more enjoyable. I got the Dick Clark Reuben and it hit the spot! The diner was the perfect cap to our day.

We loaded in the set yesterday afternoon and the venue is huge. It seats just over 1400 people. Amazing! Photos to come. And today we have 2 shows, load out, and then a drive to Savannah! Our next stop is Ogdensberg NY, which I hear is on the Canadian border. Woohoo! So we have a long drive ahead of us. And I will probably post something silly while on the road.

Anyway, sorry this is so long and kind of boring. Lots happened this last week and a half and since I was so busy, I had no time to write! But definitely look forward to more frequent posts…hopefully! Happy November! Hope this isn’t lame. I love you internet friends. All two of you. Hi mom! Okay, I’m off to the Coral Springs Cultural Center. Later Florida!


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