Monday, October 31, 2011

Haiku #33 - Halloween Party

Where else can you find
Captain Kirk and La Migra
With Ghetto Geisha?
La Migra

Captain Kirk 

Ghetto Geisha

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Haiku #32 - Sold Out Show!

We were completely sold out tonight!  It was pretty exciting to drive into the parking lot and see the "sold out" sign next to In the Heights on the marquee, and even more exciting to play to a packed house.  According to people who saw the show out in the house, it went really well - looked great and sounded great...

...which was a huge relief since we were dealing with some technical issues backstage.   Obviously, the goal is that the audience doesn't know about those issues, and hopefully the actors are blissfully ignorant of them too.  Tonight's haiku was inspired by heroic effort on the part of everyone who works back(or-below)stage.  

Kurt's afflicted by 
post-traumatic show syndrome - 
pass the tequila.  

Haiku #31 - Hot Music on a Cold Day

Lady from front row:
"If that music doesn't melt
the snow, nothing will."

First two-show day - tiny theater, terrible weather, great audiences.  That quote was from someone who attended the matinee.  The band cooked even more at the evening performance - it was that first show where we all agreed that we'd played the hell out of the show.  Yeah!  I love that feeling.  

On to Brookville, NY tomorrow... 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Haiku #30 - Canada

Two days, many miles
Border crossings, now traffic -

Sorry to disappoint those who expected a quintessentially Canadian haiku; nothing particularly Canadian happened to me in the 21 hours I spent there.  The main event today was a long bus ride to New London, CT. (Better luck with Canadian haiku in Toronto in February - we'll be there for two weeks in February - I'm predicting at least one haiku about the cold.)  This time, we crossed into Canada about 1 pm yesterday, did the show in Kingston, Ontario last night, and crossed back to the US around 10 this morning.  I hurriedly ate an apple I took from the hotel breakfast before the US agri-inspector came onto the bus. I'm a rebel like that.

Kingston was cool. My main criteria for a town are: pedestrian friendliness, tea, and food that didn't come out of a deep fat fryer, and Kingston more than met them. Wish we could've stayed longer. Kurt & I went to a really cool tea shop before the show (inventively called Tea Store).  The walls were lined with jars of loose leaf tea, and you just pick the kind you want and take it to the barista to prepare.  Ah, Canada, where the streets are lined with tea shops, bookstores, and red mail drop boxes...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Haiku #29 - Swing

Midway through Act Two
Stage manager says "You're on"
The life of a swing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Haiku #28 - Real American: Ruth

let's all sing Gershwin
with Ruth on the eighty-eights
'til they kick us out
Kurt, Kat, & Ruth
Photo by Cherie B. Tay
Real American: Ruth
The Stanley Theater threw us a party last night after the show - a real party, complete with local brews, a chef preparing pasta (delicious - not helping me in my quest to be skinny on the road!), and a cocktail pianist named Ruth playing a square Sohmer piano.  

Ruth doesn't remember what year she was born (or so she said, when someone asked her if she was around when a particular 1920s song was popular).  She was playing stuff that always makes me feel like I was born 75 years too late.  Kurt and I made our way over to her to say hello at the beginning of the party, and at some point, he started requesting songs to sing.  We were joined by Christina, Nathaly, Benny, Gabe, Perry and a few other cast members, and in the end they finally turned the lights out so the cast (and keyboardists) of In the Heights would stop singing standards and let them go home.  

I hope, when I am of a certain age, that 20-somethings will sing Queen and Journey when I'm playing for their cast party. And Gershwin, eternal.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Haiku #27 - Laundry Logistics

join the laundry queue
for the washer-dryer - or

Let me explain the logistics of one-nighters on the road:
*get up (sometimes offensively early, after having finished work around 10 or 11 pm) to get on the bus to the next city
*sleep/read/listen to music, etc. on the bus.  
*barring delays caused by traffic, mechanical problems, etc., arrive and check into the hotel in time to have a couple hours or so free before 
*to the theater for soundcheck, company meeting, prep/warm up for the show
*there's a dinner break in here somewhere
*do the show
*back to the hotel (or out, for the young and restless among us)
*sleep (or not)

So, now that we're in one place for a few nights, you can imagine the rush to do laundry.  30 people, give or take, who care about their appearance, more or less, one washer-dryer that sort of works (but it's cheap!).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Haiku #26 - Hotel (Cushy)

Thousand thread count sheets
Wifi that works, for a change
It's the little things

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Haiku #25 - Mistakes

ok, guys, "Atencion"
oh, where's the guitar player?
cue accordion

This one's a guest haiku from Kurt, about a really obvious patch change mishap I had at today's performance.  If you are familiar with the show, you will know that "AtenciĆ³n" starts with soft, lovely guitar (as played by the beautiful and talented second keyboardist, me), as it introduces a reflective part of the second act.  Well... today it started with accordion (as played by the beautiful and... well... second keyboardist, er, me).  Wah-wah.  Day off tomorrow, just in time!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Haiku #24 - Peeing on the Bus

peeing on the bus
for emergencies only
no pooping allowed

The View in the Loo

Haiku #22, 23 - Real American: Cherie, ASM

Meet Cherie B. Tay, our assistant stage manager, Texas/Singapore native, technology savant. 

Where do I begin.  Cherie possesses a level of talent and drive I can really only describe as stupid.  She is my massage hookup, because, in addition to her grueling itinerant-stage-manager schedule, Cherie has taken it upon herself to learn reflexology during this tour.  I made up this haiku for her the first time she used me as a guinea pig:

i wish i could purr
reflexology is nice
i will drool instead

I wrote her this, too -

signing is handy 
to talk to the ASM
from across the bus

- because she is also learning sign language using the videos from the ASL website.  She's teaching me, too.  Or trying.  So far, I speak sign language with an offensively thick accent: I keep saying "vaffanculo!" instead of "good", and when I'm trying to sign back "I don't understand" across the bus, it usually comes out as something like "HORSE! WANT! WHYYY!??!?"  Slowly but surely, however, I am learning to say such useful things as "I want cookie now!" and "Why, God, why today?"
Let's see, what else... she's working on her Spanish (a no-brainer on this bilingual tour), keeping a blog on her stage managing adventures, and acting as our unofficial tour photographer as well as posting on her daily photo project.  

She can also drink me under the table.  But that's not so stupid.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Haiku #21 - Breakdown

those trees are pretty
I have time to gaze at them
bus is broken down

We got about 15 miles down the road from Penn State when the driver pulled the bus over to the side of the road to investigate a funny noise.  We were rescued about about an hour later by another bus driver who very kindly spent his day off getting us the rest of the way to York (location of tonight's performance).  It's probably good these kinds of things happen right off the bat, before we start to get on each other's nerves, and before we get lulled into a false expectation that things will always go smoothly.  

York tonight, Easton tomorrow!

Haiku #20 - Opening Night

the scores were missing
but it all came together
on opening night

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Haiku #12 - Roomies!

Better to lose sleep
because you like your roommate
than because you don't.

Me with my tour roommate, Alex the Badass Bassist 
We both look a little tired at the airport waiting for our flight back to New York, partly because we've been working very hard, and partly because we're getting into a habit of staying up talking and sharing music.  She is going to introduce me to funky jamz and remind me how to wear lipstick, and I'm going to introduce her to Latin grooves and teach her how to pack. We're a good team, and half of the rhythm section of the Heights band.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Haiku #11 - 2nd Preview

Sunday matinee
Trying to be on our game
Lac's in the hizzy

From left: Gianchi, Alex Lac, & Kurt
We had our second preview performance this afternoon, and Alex Lacamoire, the music supervisor was there.  He was (along with the aforementioned Shermanator) the Tony- and Grammy-award-winning orchestrator and arranger of the show, and the original music director on Broadway.  So... he knows how it should sound.  We all survived, and got some notes from Lac to polish the sound of the show when we hit the road for real in about a week.

Back to New York tomorrow... I am being beckoned downstairs to help some of my colleagues finish the riesling.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Haiku #10 - Real American: Woody, The Vegan BBQ Master

At the theater
The vegan pitmaster feeds
Scores of carnivores

We had our first preview performance last night at Brooks Performing Arts center here in Clemson, SC. My friend from college days, Gregg, now heads the commercial music department in Spartanburg about an hour away, so he was able to be there. I had a little moment during the opening number when I realized that, while I've played these number hundreds of times for rehearsals, last night was my first time playing them with an audience.

Real America:
Today is the homecoming game at Clemson. It is now crystal clear how big a deal football and marching band are here in the South: this little college town, normally pop. 20,000, balloons to 100,000, mostly dressed in Clemson Tiger orange. We are marooned at the theater all day because of the parking and traffic situation, so the company and theater are feeding us.

Real American:
The theater is run by a guy named Woody, who makes a mean barbecue, and is, implausibly, vegan.

Haha, that's a good one, I laughed when he told me. I'd just tasted the pulled pork he brougt in for the crew. Ain't no way no vegan cooked pork like that. ...Awkward moment as I realized he wasn't joking. He's a self-described "friendly vegan" - vegan for health reasons, he does have a taste of his BBQ to make sure it's up to par. Woody has also been my hot water hookup - as long as his office door is open, I can feel free to use the electric kettle. This has improved morale during these long tech days, because I am MUCH nicer when I have tea access.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Haiku #9 - Pedro the Click Track

Pedro the Click Track
Act One meltdown - don't panic;
Count on each other.

Haiku #8 - Shotgun

The Shermanator
Folded up in the backseat
Gianchi called "shotgun"

Our drummer Gian-Carlo, being cradled by the
inimitable, award-winning, applause-causing Bill Sherman

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Haiku #6 - Kokopelli Goes to Band Practice

G.C. and Al - bass & drum!

Playing in the band:
Andrew, Al, Jonathan, Jim
G.C., Kat and Kurt

(not pictured: Jonathan, Andrew - trumpet and trombone, respectively. I'll catch them eventually, bwah hah hah hah...)
Jim the flute (and sax and clarinet) player with Kokopelli the flute player
With music director, Kurt and Koko

Haiku #5 - Sharpie Explosion

Aw, you have a stain :(
A Sharpie broke in your shirt,
so I'm signing it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Haiku #4 - On the Keyboards!

I am practicing
pedal choreography
2nd keyboard woes

Let this not be interpreted as a complaint - 2nd keyboard woes in this show are mild compared to the woes of the 1st keyboard/conductor.  We had our first chance to practice on the keyboards last night, so finally I'm hearing the sounds from the show. I have about 160  patch changes, and I'm using a volume pedal for the first time. My left foot is like, "Yo, you want me to work? I haven't seen you since you needed me for the sostenuto pedal in 2002." ...But I have a lot fewer notes to play on a nightly basis than our fearless music director, Kurt (I also get to trigger the coolest sound effects, including but not limited to a car horn, a record scratch, and a big-ass explosion).

Relative woes are really a moot point, since I am also learning the conductor score to be prepared to conduct in the event Kurt eats some sketchy General Tso's or gets hit by a covered wagon. The show must go on - that is the magic of thater.

Haiku #3 - Rehearsal Archive

I smell awful but
Room full of sweaty dancers
Nobody can tell.