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.

Phew! Somehow managed to load everything into our van (thanks to Kyle and Nick’s amazing on-the-spot shoving and organizational skills). Looks like we’re ready for our first preview in New Rochelle tomorrow!

Well folks- we’ve done it! perfecto! hooray! We’ve got ourselves a show in just a little over a week! Today was our last 10/12 of tech and we have already begun to delight audiences in our invited dress rehearsals. I am so excited to get started on this adventure and to spread some curiosity and joy from town to town! This has been such an incredible rehearsal process, and I have learned so much. From putting a show up in a weeks time, to fully embodying a larger than life character in a truthful and honest way, it has been an amazing introduction to the life of a professional actor. I’m still amazed that people get paid to have this much fun! Everyone in the cast is magnifico, and I think we’re all ready to get this show on the road!