Van Call- 10:30 AM
TRAVEL DAY- Windsor, WI

It was another beautiful drive to Wisconsin today, and I couldn’t help but to continue to admire the stunning colors that paint the trees and fields along the highway. Never in my life have I seen such vivid and rich eggplant/violet purples, burgundy/wine colored reds, rose/blush pinks, and fiery oranges
amidst the autumn leaves.

Danny excellently decorated the cargo van, which made spotting it that much easier amongst the crazy traffic we hit in Chicago. It’s amazing that our entire show fits in the back of that vehicle…

We stumbled upon the Mason Jar Cafe in Benton Harbor, MI for lunch, and were so happy to be anywhere but a rest stop. Fresh local greens, grass fed burgers, sweet and savory breakfasts- everyone found something to enjoy at this roadside gem (and even got a sneak peek at a pretty cool art gallery attached en route to the restrooms!)

We got to Wisconsin just in time to run next door to the Mousehouse Cheese Haus to grab some local Wisconsin hazelnut brew and of course, Wisconsin cheese to take back to our “hotel party.” We even stopped at the A&W next door to snack on some fried cheese curds and fresh root beer, before heading back to the “girls’ room” for some games and a hand crafted sink cooler.

Once we were bonified cheese heads, we headed over to the bar attached to the hotel to shoot some pool (which is quickly becoming the nightly tradition of tour) and catch a glance at the locals- including a man with a pretty gnarly dread lock beard.

Van Call- 8:30 AM
Michigan Theatre- Ann Arbor, MI

After gorging ourselves last night, the group took a vote to forgo a meal break in order to sleep in an extra hour before hitting the road to Michigan. That sleep was much appreciated this morning, and we all piled in the van and headed to Ann Arbor.

We arrived to my favorite venue as of yet, the Michigan Theatre, and I must say that Michigan may even be on its way to becoming my favorite state. I was geeking out in the backseat at how beautiful the UMich campus is, and was for the first time hit with some serious post-grad blues.

The theatre was absolutely stunning- a super large house with a balcony and all the works, the red velvet curtains, fancy chandeliers, gold detailing, a magnificent double staircase, and most importantly buckets upon buckets of fresh popcorn at the concession stand in the lobby. The crew was super helpful as well, and loading in and out was a breeze!

The Kornfelds were kind enough to treat me to dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse after the show, where we had some incredibly delicious BBQ and local brews. It was so nice to catch up, and I was again so grateful for the love (and good eats!) I’ve been blessed with so far on this journey.

Tonight we checked out downtown Ann Arbor, where we took over the pool table and cried a little over the Cowboys’ big win (well, Nick, Kyle, and Mike at least). Our next two days are travel days followed by a day off- so everyone is excited to have a “weekend” of sorts and some fun! (starting with samurai sword chopping all the flies that have found their way into the fun of Carlyn’s and my hotel room…)

*Kid Quote of the Day- “Oh George, you really came all this way to enter Chef in the contest?” (Child screams NO!) “You really are a great friend!” (Child screams again, NOOOOO!)

*Blooper of the Day- The catastrophe of the missing bubble wrap. Improv at its finest!

Van Call- 10 AM
TRAVEL DAY- Elyria, OH

My oh my! What a gorgeous day for a drive! Blue skies, autumn leaves, open roads… there couldn’t possibly be a better time of year to be driving from state to state and taking in all that this country has to offer.

CP Nova had her first “man van” today, while Carlyn and I tackled the cargo— with immense grace and success, may I add. It was a little unnerving to be up so high and only able to utilize the side-view mirrors, but we quickly got the hang of it and arrived to Elyria safe and sound.

The cast ventured over to Cleveland for our first “real” adventure, and grabbed dinner at Melt, this awesome grilled cheese bar/restaurant that was covered in neon signs and various holiday yard decor. We were a little taken aback by the insane menu at first (Josh was brave enough to try a sandwich that was entirely deep fried), but we all wound up with very full and satisfied stomachs. I chose a grilled cheese that had mozzarella sticks and meatballs (how fitting) on the inside, a local Great Lakes Octoberfest brew, and a fried twinkie for dessert— thankfully Danny was willing to share! It was an excellent first pick for a first night out as a cast, and I can’t wait to see what food the rest of these United States have to offer!

Van Call- 4:20 PM
Amoss Center- Bel Air, MD

It was a very lazy (so lazy I didn’t even take any pictures, so many thanks to Kyle, our photographic genius!) and late start to our day today. Carlyn and Danny were the only brave souls that woke up early enough to hit the gym (serious props) while the rest of us took our sweet time before heading into the sunshine for some Pizza Hut. It was nice to have the afternoon to rest up, especially since a good majority of the company is sick… I’m loading up on vitamin C and living off a prayer that I don’t join the rest of them in their sniffles. We then had a nice little drive over to the Amoss Center for a 7 pm show where we had our biggest house yet- over 500 in the audience!

My dad’s side of the family was able to join us at this performance, and I was again touched by the love and support I have received from so many family and friends here at home. After we loaded out, I loaded up on crab dip and Maryland crab soup at dinner with my MomMom, Dad, Leila and her friend- who both had a serious case of the tweens.

I arrived back to the hotel to find our next itinerary, to which Carlyn and I couldn’t help but to research and plan the best activities to enjoy on our days off. “Crooks and nannies” - here we come!

* I don’t have a good kid quote of the day, but there were 2 little kids dancing in the aisles during our bows and they were quite possibly the cutest things we’ll see on this tour.

Van Call- 7:30 AM
Publick Playhouse- Cheverly, MD

Though we “slept like monsters,” the early wake up in the rain this morning had Carlyn and I hitting the snooze button on more than one occasion. We all faced the gloom and the grey and headed to the Publick Playhouse to brave our first two show day. Now, I’ve been dreading a rainy load in, and, thanks be to the theatre gods- we arrived to a beautiful little theatre with a loading dock and a crew at the ready! The staff was truly wonderful, and even provided us with fruit and bagels to enjoy on our very quick turn around.

The first show, be it an early one, was filled with quite the rambunctious kid crowd! The kids were laughing louder and longer than anything we’ve yet to experience, and there were honestly a few moments that almost had us laughing right along on stage…

The second show was a tamer crowd, possibly because what felt like a good 90% of them were adults from the Taylor Janney fan club. (Thanks Mom, for rallying the troops!) It was so nice to see so many familiar faces this afternoon, and I felt so blessed to have so many people there to support and send me off. Special shoutout to Katie and Kathleen who waited with Mom for me to enjoy many a laugh over lunch with post show!

I got to swing by California Tortilla for dinner with my Dad and Leila, which made the Maryland girl in me oh so happy. (One would expect crab cakes… but queso was calling my name).

Now we’re tucked into a Super 8 in Bel Air for 2 nights in a row, and to my delight there’s a blow dryer AND continental breakfast. It’s the simple things :)

*Kid Quote of the Day- (as Danny made his first Man in the Yellow Hat entrance) “That’s George’s man!”

Van call- 6:45 AM
Searingtown School- Albertson, NY

It was an early start to a long day, but I am happy to report that we have made it home sweet home (at least for me) to the best state of them all- Maryland. I type this entry from our first room at a Red Roof Inn- thanks for the free wifi, btw.

We had a 10 AM performance this morning in Long Island, where we were greeted by many an eager student (except for maybe one, but we’ll get to him later). After a bit of morning traffic, we finally arrived and somehow managed to load in, set up, mic check, and start the show in no time! (We even had one of our quickest load outs… I’d say we’re well on our way to mastering this whole touring thing!)

The show went very well for being on a gym floor- I was so happy to have finally mastered “Go Monkey Go” sans any wing space. That being said, the kids were very happy to point out that George was very clearly visible and “RIGHT THERE! IN THE BOX!” throughout the entire “Oh no! George is missing! Where could he be?” scene.

We grabbed lunch at Dominick’s Deli, a hot spot for LI locals… and were slightly intimidated by the knife swinging sandwich chef. We filled up on cannoli cookies at a park nearby, and then piled into the van to get our day’s fill driving. Carlyn and I took over CP Nova and while I was nervous for a minute to be back behind a wheel (and a minivan none the less) I did quite alright! (Give or take a teensy tiny little swerve… but we were on a mad license plate hunt- 23 and counting!)

When we got to the motel, we found a stray kitten that became quite the entertainment while we waited for our rooms. My mom and step-dad had us over for dinner, so Carlyn, Nick, Danny, Josh and I piled back into the van and headed over to Olney for some good grub and of course many a round of the game of “Things,” which started a bit polite… but soon had us in stitches over senses of humor. It was a wonderful evening, and I was so happy to have everyone over and share our last little bit of a sense of “home” as we start off on this wild ride!

*Kid Quote of the Day: “I don’t want to see stupid Curious George.” -Searingtown’s toughest child critic.

Van Call- 10:15 AM
Union County Performing Arts Center- Rahway, NJ

Today was our first show in a real live theatre! And a 1350 seater at that! The Union County Performing Arts Center was a gorgeous space- built in 1928 as a vaudeville and silent movie palace. We were super stoked to drive up to the loading dock, and to be able to use their sound system. Not to mention the awesome masking and draping of the stage- a huge crossover?! wing space?! hallelujah!)

Today’s performance was sponsored by a Sensory Friendly Theatre Series, and was presented to to children with autism and sensory sensitivity, which was really something special. A lot of these kids have never seen live theatre before, and this show was such a wonderful gift to be giving and sharing. We had our first meet-and-greet after the show, and it was truly magical to watch the kids enamored by George. Nick was really wonderful with them, and their enthusiasm is something I think we’ll all be able to think back on and cherish when the going gets tough. (No one was really all that into the Doorman, but such is life!)

We hit a bit of traffic on the way back over the GW Bridge, which allowed us for the first of many car games. We played 20 questions, which rookie Kyle proved to be the grand master at- getting the answer on literally our 20th question twice in a row. We also started our license plate searching and somehow managed to spy 14 states on our first try! Some of the best laughs so far have come from the shenanigans in CP Nova, and I’m eager to see what even longer drives bring…

*Kid Quote of the Day: (upon meeting with George, post-show) “I don’t speak monkey, so…”

Van Call- 10:30 AM
The Calhoun School- NYC

First of all- what a neat school! We were all happy to see the progressiveness of a “people’s bathroom,” and were encouraged by the “all families welcome” signs hanging about. The space was super cute as well, and provided us with
another great lesson in adaptive improvisation: a thrust stage!

We got to the venue with some time to spare, and adjust some of our crazier numbers to best utilize the space. While it was certainly a challenge, having an audience 3/4 of the way around us (including a LOT of kiddos) really energized us, and allowed some new character moments to shine through.

This was perhaps our sweatiest show yet- my ear became such the slip and slide that I lost my mic for most of the show! If I don’t come back 10 pounds lighter… On second thought, if we carry on with Chicken Joe’s after every show…

The kids were very excited to see George. One little boy enjoyed the show so much that he actually ran onstage to join in on the fun! I was so thankful to have some of my city friends in attendance as well— it was nice to be able to see some of the people I love in the city I love before we head out!

*Blooper of the Day- Doorman was a little over eager to get to Rome today, and Danny gave us quite the reenactment in the dressing room post-show.

Van Call- 10:30 AM
The Calhoun School- NYC

First of all- what a neat school! We were all happy to see the progressiveness of a “people’s bathroom,” and were encouraged by the “all families welcome” signs hanging about. The space was super cute as well, and provided us with
another great lesson in adaptive improvisation: a thrust stage!

We got to the venue with some time to spare, and adjust some of our crazier numbers to best utilize the space. While it was certainly a challenge, having an audience 3/4 of the way around us (including a LOT of kiddos) really energized us, and allowed some new character moments to shine through.

This was perhaps our sweatiest show yet- my ear became such the slip and slide that I lost my mic for most of the show! If I don’t come back 10 pounds lighter… On second thought, if we carry on with Chicken Joe’s after every show…

The kids were very excited to see George. One little boy enjoyed the show so much that he actually ran onstage to join in on the fun! I was so thankful to have some of my city friends in attendance as well— it was nice to be able to see some of the people I love in the city I love before we head out!

*Blooper of the Day- Doorman was a little over eager to get to Rome today, and Danny gave us quite the reenactment in the dressing room post-show.

It was our last rehearsal in home sweet Chelsea Studios, so naturally our lunch break called for a field trip to The Meatball Shop. While we didn’t find any golden meatballs, we did get a kick out of the menu’s suggested “naked balls.” Photos courtesy of Kyle LeMaire, our brilliant photographer. (How lucky to have professional paparazzi on this tour!)

Van Call- 6:30 AM.
Trinity Elementary- New Rochelle, NY

It was a very early wake up this morning, and we all somehow managed to be up and ready to go before the sun. We piled in and got to know our lovely champaign supernova minivan, and Nick braved city streets to get us to New Rochelle. Mike put me in charge of calling the Principal to let him know we were on our way, and perhaps it was the early hours of the morning, or perhaps it was my nerves, but I left the wrong number and had a giggle fit on the answering machine, which left our whole car in a bit of a spell upon our arrival.

It was Trinity’s first assembly of the year, and our first time on a real stage! While we encountered a few prop snafus (think- fallen trays and veggies everywhere…) and having to adapt to very tight wing space for the first time, everyone really pulled together. While there were certainly a few hiccups, the show was well received, we learned a great deal about adjusting to space, and WE DID IT!

This obviously called for a celebration, so Nick led us to “Chicken Joe’s,” which I’ll admit I was pretty excited for, a local chicken shack where all the cool kids go. I ordered “the high school,” a paper bag filled with a 1/2 pound of fried chicken balls (yes, I know how that sounds), french fries, and delicious seasoning all shaken up and handed off to go. We had a picnic with the geese and the bees at a park across the street, and were all stunned by the Hogwarts-esque high school nearby.

Our first adventure was a success, and I am so excited to see what the rest of the country has to offer!

*Blooper of the Day— singing “you never quite know what’s round the bend” and shrugging at the carrot that Carlyn picked up off the floor during the finale.