We have just completed our final two Pinafores of this fantastic Midwest tour, and now are at the Comfort Inn, in Van Wert, OH, where they are SO good to have a breakfast room they are letting us use to spend a little bit of time unwinding together — our little closing night after-party.
We, the beleaguered, befuddled blogging trio of Cousin Hebe, Cousin Ruth and the Captain, have decided to combine our efforts for one final blog posting as we prepare to set sail for home!
Our final two shows were in Danville, KY and Van Wert, OH. (In Danville, we thought it particularly appropriate that Dan Greenwood went on as Ralph … in DANville.) However, I ask you, WHAT are the odds that our performance in Kentucky would manage to land dead on the ONE night that BOTH KENTUCKY RIVAL BASKETBALL TEAMS are playing in the NCAA Semi-finals!! Now THAT is truly March Madness!! (However, it did provide excellent fodder for my 2nd Act drunken-improv bit with Sir Joe.) But it was MOST gratifying was that we had a remarkably full, VERY lively and appreciative audience, and they ALL stayed for the 2nd Act even though the tip off for the Louisville Vs Kentucky game was at 9:45 – I took that as the ultimate Kentucky compliment that we had really ensnared them with the brilliance of Act I!
Our final show was in in Van Wert, OH – a venue we played a few years ago with The Pirates of Penzance (I know, because I found the picture on the wall we all signed).
It was another excellent show, and and Kate Bass (Josephine’s) grandparents came to see it. Talking to them the next morning, they told me the just couldn’t stop smiling they loved it so much. in fact, the whole audience was again wonderful, and we felt like we were going out on a particularly high note (like, Josephine-high-note high) — but it was also a bittersweet end. We are so proud of the work we have done and the show which has become so sharp and polished, happy to think we will get to come home so soon, but yes, Little Buttercup, we’re sad and sorry to leave a show we love so much with a group we have been traveling so closely with. And especially to leave our friends in the orchestra. (Cue music “Kiss today goodbye…”)
You know, as I sit here trying to come up with the perfect summation of the last 2 1/2 weeks, it strikes me the interesting push/pull relationship with touring and traveling.
Traveling on a tour bus, with a busy show schedule and a location that changes daily, can be grueling.
Sir Joe catches a few ZZZs
We make the best of it, we sleep on the bus when we can, we watch movies and joke around, and we drink a lot of coffee before the show. (And usually bourbon after.) It’s not always perfect living (and it’s not always a vacation, either) but it’s a temporary rhythm that we settle into, like any other job, and we do it as professionally as possible. Sure, we get cranky and tired and battle stiff muscles and deal with broken down tour buses and people’s elbows jabbing us if you’re in the aisle seat and yes, it gets annoying.
However, we are living the life we have sought out for ourselves! We put on costumes, we get onstage in front of enthusiastic audiences, and we take our curtain calls to a standing ovation every time because we put on a darn good show. We grow incredibly close in ways that other professions can’t comprehend, we become a family, we rely on each other and we laugh harder than anyone else does.
And just like anyone else, even though I’m glad to be off that tour bus (especially this time…) I miss everyone like crazy when we are apart. And I can’t WAIT to get out there and do it again.
Can’t believe we did our last show of the tour! To borrow some lyrics from the musical Baby: “…What a journey, what a ride!..” and it could not have been with a nicer group of people: we so fortunate…and now I’m off to say hi (hear festivities near the lobby)…and re-pack for the journey home.
What a ride is right! We’ve done 3500 miles, 18 days, 14 hotels, 12 venues, 8 states, 6 buses, 2 sets of tires, 2 times zones, and 1 great show with an amazing company… and I’m ready for the next adventure. (Just let me pull this last load of laundry out of the dryer first!)
COUSIN HEBE (our own Barbara Walters):
To finish out the tour, I did a final mini-interview, this time with our 3rd, fun bus driver — this Sat. eve, approx. 4:45 p.m.; (he met us in Cape G., MO and came to see the show TWICE!!):
Vicky: Al, thanks for doing this interview, pre-show boarding tonight. Where are you from?
Al Smith: Detroit, MI.
Vicky: That’s great! — and for our popular question (with thanks for joining us later on the gig) - what has been your favorite part of the tour?
Al Smith: Observing the play. (v. did not prompt this response - so very honored he feels that way).
Vicky: Wow - great to hear! What did you like best about the show?
Al Smith: It was different from other shows I’ve seen; it was relaxing and hilarious. I enjoyed the Sir Joseph/Captain scene, the dancing and the costumes.
Vicky: Everyone will be so glad to hear that; thanks! I’m guessing that you do something else, in addition to driving, yes?!
Al Smith: I’m a drummer. I play with various groups.
Vicky: Fantastic! What kind of music?
Al Smith: Latin, religious and jazz, etc. I’m self-taught.
Vicky: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not on the road?
Al Smith: Cooking — and spending time with my 3 year old son, Carlon!
Thank you Vicky — I suppose it is only fair to admit that, being our final show, this usually proper Captain got a little loose behind the scenes and started trying out this “backstage selfie” thing I had heard so much about. Turns out it is pretty fun (bear in mind, my phone is a Blackberry apparently from 1879, we’re lucky it gets email.)
The Captain and Josephine, inside the Cabin, waiting for our first entrance.
The Star-Crossed Lovers – Buttercup and I as she waits to “Hail man-o-war’s men, safeguards of our nation”
Cousin Hebe conducts the Sisters, Cousins and Aunts as they sing “Over the bright blue sea” from offstage
Gratuitous Bustle Shot … Shall we submit?!
Really, I have no idea … these things just happen sometimes.
Here is my final collection of anonymous quotes as we head for home:
”I love New York!”
”There’s no place like home!” (we did visit the Judy Garland museum after all…)
”What the _____?!!”
”The roof is leaking!”
”Why are my feet sticky?!”
”Heigh-diddle-dee-dee - an actor’s life for me!”…
Thank you Al, David Wannen, David Auxier, Ben, Annette, Andi, Gail, and every hero behind NYGASP for giving us the opportunities that you do! We appreciate what you’ve created and hope to be part of many more creations in the future. And special thanks to Joseph Rubin for his hard work in organizing this tour blog!
And finally, before signing off, we have to give three cheers (“I’ll lead the way - Hoorah, Hoorah, Hooray!”) for the final set of NYGASP unsung heroes. Many of us on the tour bus have left behind wonderful, supportive and (thankfully) strong and independent partners, spouses, fiancées, significant others, or otherwise committed (in the good way) individuals. In many cases, they are left to tend to homes, pets, and children on their own. And while a few days’ absence will most certainly make the heart grow fonder, when that absence becomes 2 and a half weeks, it can really take a toll. And so, our last shout out will be for those Mighty Winds Beneath our Wings, keeping a light in the window and the home fires burning, who who we all can’t wait to get home to again!!
So, let’s lift up our hearts and our voices to:
Val and Lucy
Jame, Cole, Sam and Olivia
Lauren, Anwyn and Declan
Sanita, Isabelle and Audrey
Joel and Imogene
John and Sophia
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!!
Sarah (the Hutch) Hutchinson, aka “Cousin Ruth”
Vicky Devany, aka “Cousin Hebe”
David Auxier, aka “Dance Captain Cocoran”
and Sailor Seph “Guest Blogger” Stanek
So long everyone!