Delaware was our last week of week-long sitdowns for a while. We have been really lucky on this tour to have this great schedule. Many tours aren’t as lucky to stay in one place that long or go to such fun cities. Most non-equity tours play a lot of one-nighters or “split weeks” where you are in a city for 2 or 3 days. We had been so spoiled so the next week was a real reality check. Ha ha! We boarded our bus for the first time and headed to our first one-nighter in Morgantown, WV! These shows can be really interesting. Our crew goes ahead of us and loads in all 4 semi-trucks of our show, including sets, props, costumes, wigs, lighting, sound… everything. We are completely packed in those trucks, but we come as a self-contained full production to the theatres. When our crew gets to each space, they have done all sorts of prior work to be prepared, but you still can never really know what you’re going to be in for and they really have to work their magic to make our show happen in a day.
We arrived in Morgantown with only a little bit of time before we had to get to the theatre. It was kind of drizzling out, but I was determined I was going to walk a little ways over a bridge, down the road and get to the Target, Barnes and Noble, Dick’s, etc. As I began my trek I was about halfway across the bridge when it just started pouring rain. I had no umbrella so I started to run, made it over the bridge, across the highway and to a gas station where, of course, they had no umbrellas for sale. I had to give in and realize that my trip wasn’t going to happen, but now I was stuck half a mile away and it was still a downpour. This is where Donna Hampton has to stop reading. Go away, mom! I ended up just looking around the gas station and finding someone who I thought would give me a ride. Being a male I knew I shouldn’t ask a woman, but I found a young guy and he was more than happy to help me out and take me over to the hotel. Thanks to Spenser for getting me out of the rain! The show went well, regardless of the quirks in the theatre like having no paging system. Our first one-nighter was a success!
The next day was a real doozie. We had to get to Sioux City, Iowa. Let me just say… there is just no easy way to get to Iowa. It is not exactly easily accessible. From Morgantown we made an hour-long drive to Pittsburgh to fly to Dallas/Fort Worth. There we had a layover to fly to Omaha, Nebraska where we would load a bus and drive three hours to Sioux City. Needless to say, it was a very long day, but by the time we got there, I was glad to be in Sioux City for a couple of days. We had a late dinner at Famous Dave’s BBQ (one of my faves) and saw a late movie that night. The next day I was up and about, exploring Sioux City. I stopped at a local coffee shop, deli, and enjoyed their great local city museum that had some really excellent exhibits.
The biggest event of Sioux City, however, was laundry. When you’re living out of a suitcase, finding the time and space to do laundry can be a real hassle. My roommate, Jake, and friend, Shane also needed to do laundry, so we searched and searched before finding a laundromat across the river in Nebraska where our hotel shuttle dropped us off. When we walked into South Sioux City coin laundry we knew we were in for a treat. Behind the desk sat a bigger lady, probably in her 70’s, leaning way back in her chair. We walked in and said, “Hi there! How are you?” Her response?
Oh boy. After explaining to us that we couldn’t do dropoff, but would have to do our laundry there, she gave us our detergent and pointed us to the machines. She was just as dry and blunt as anything and we were definitely getting a kick out of our worker friend when we asked her name and she responded.
We continued the rest of our visit loading our washing machines and asking Nightmare questions. She cam over and dug through our dirty laundry when she felt we had overloaded the machines and felt no remorse in making us pay for extra machines or telling us that if the machines were overloaded she would become our worst nightmare. What a trip! We left to get a snack and when we returned to switch our laundry Nightmare had left and a younger lady was there working. We transferred our laundry from the small washers into large, industrial dryers. When we began putting 2 smalls wash loads into one large dryer she stopped us. “However many washers you used is how many dryers you use.” After much frustrated discussion she explained, “Mary, who was here earlier is in charge. If I don’t’ follow her rules it’s my neck on the line. She’s wired this place with all sorts of cameras. She even watches and monitors from her car!” We gave up and realized that Nightmare was going to have her way no matter what.
The show in Sioux City was fun because we were playing a restored Orpheum theatre. The Orpheum circuit was home to many vaudeville performers and this particular theatre had been open in the 30’s. Granted, theatres built then definitely have their own set of obstacles because they are generally smaller, but it was a really fun time and the audiences were wonderful.
I woke up the next morning not feeling well and knowing we had to drive to Mason City, IA. I walked to the local Walgreens to get some medicine and left myself a good 20 minutes to walk back before we had to be on the bus. As I was walking back, though, a train came through town. I waited patiently, knowing it would just be a few minutes and thinking of the trains going through little LaGrange, KY at home. I was in contact with my company manager, so he knew what was going on, but this train was SO SLOW!!! It kept stopping and starting and just never seemed to end. I ended up standing out in the cold for 30 minutes and the bus full of all 50 of my company had to wait on me! What a mess. I couldn’t help but be reminded of when I almost missed my cruise ship in France. It was just me running to meet them. Ha ha!
Mason City was a quick stop that I tried to block out because I wasn’t feeling on top of my game. We were pretty cramped, but the show went well. All in all our start to the one-night life was pretty smooth, but it’s certainly tiring to travel and work this much. I’m excited to get back to one place for a week as I am writing this post on my way to Austin, TX. Hope you all are well!