Bluegrass and Blue Skies
Greetings from the Magic School Bus!
It is day two of our travel days from Lexington, KY-->Birmingham, AL--> our first stop of the week: Niceville, Florida! Of course, we are all dreading the Florida temperatures, sunshine and palm trees…😏.
Actually, we are coming off of some pretty springy days in Lexington, KY--both in spirit and in temps.
We arrived in Lex on Friday afternoon and had performance 1/5 there that evening. At first, the size of the theatre’s backstage space posed some challenges. Our wonderful dance captain, Camden, had to quickly re-space some of our large ensemble numbers because a few set pieces could not fit in their assigned wings. The (SPOILER ALERT) cage (END SPOILER ALERT) in “With You” for instance, needed to enter from the opposite side of the stage at the Lex Opera House, and we all had some new traffic patterns to implement for the first time that night. The cross over space was also much smaller than what we were used to, so we had to do some creative climbing around set pieces in the dark to make entrances and quick changes in time. It was a bit like Pippin Parkour that night, until we figured out less thrilling ways to make the magic happen throughout the weekend. Despite its challenges, the theatre was beautiful and a community treasure--celebrating its 130th birthday this year!
(Excited about Pip up there ^after teaching our respective morning workshops!)
My fellow cast members and I are here to tell you that upland southern hospitality is absolutely a thing. The people of Kentucky were some of the warmest folks we’ve met. After our one-nighter in Paducah, KY, I dazedly walked around the walmart in search of protein bars. I was so bewildered, I forgot what town I was in, (walking around a Walmart or Target can be a little trippy, because you might as well be anywhere), until a staff member accidentally paused in front of me while stocking shelves and then said, “Oh my gosh, ma’am, I am sooo sorry for stopping in front of you like that.” I was stunned by her manners, and quickly remembered I wasn’t in the BC, NYC or Philly. Common Courtesy exists in Kentucky, Ya’ll!!
The courtesy even went beyond common. On Sunday in between our matinee and evening performances, we were treated to a home cooked dinner from the locals of Lexington. Some of my long lost best friends, roasted vegetables, were waiting for us, in addition to a Pippin-themed cake and fruit/candy bags to go. We were all in heaven and so touched by their generosity. The locals do this for all of the touring productions that come to the Lex Opera and even sell a cook book of their recipes with our signatures (and 5-star reviews of the meal) for audience members.
In addition to their hospitality, they were our most excited audiences yet. Their energy and enthusiasm in the house was very special. We will miss you, Lex!
Magic to Teach!
On Saturday morning, my fellow dancing lady, Imani, and I woke up bright and early to teach a workshop at Woodford Theatre in Versailles, KY. I accidentally stole 2 bananas from the not complimentary breakfast, (I promise I really thought it was comp’d.. Campbell house hotel, I’ll Venmo you $.69. Thank you so much for the potassium), chugged some coffee and waited outside for our driving representative from the theatre to pick us up. Vanessa and her daughter were lovely as they talked to us about the theatre and the group of young artists we’d be working with, as well as making some excellent food recommendations near the theatre.
I was a little worried about my ability to make a 2 hour workshop happen on a few hours of sleep with two double show days in a row, but this group of young artists gave me enough light to power through the day and for many days thereafter. They soaked up everything we taught them, were inquisitive about all things musical theatre, Pippin, auditioning and touring, and filled our hearts with their passion and excitement. Imani and I taught them broken doll walks from “Manson Trio” and they sang and danced the ending of “Magic To Do.” They were Extraordinary! The Woodford Theatre gang then joined us for our Saturday evening performance and were the sweetest audience and stage door guests. I will treasure the memories of our time with them and look forward to keeping in touch—as they are some of my newest followers on here. 😊
About 2 weeks of one-nighters before a week in Oklahoma City. Woah.
(Kentucky Fried Chickens after our double/double in Lexington).