We spent a week in Orlando and I was so excited because I was able to visit with my friends Ellen Kahne and Brad Frost who are both working down there. We stayed at a hotel right downtown and went to dinner one of the first nights there. Seeing friends on the road is just such a refreshing thing. It reminds me that there is life outside of this show and that I have a community of people supporting me along the way.
Later in the week we planned a trip to Disneyworld! If I am in Orlando I will do ANYTHING to get to Disney. It’s one of my favorite places in the world! A couple of cast members hadn’t ever been to Disney and we all contacted as many friends and family as possible who work at the park to get some tickets! My great friends, Karen and Chris Baker, are both working there after having met on our cruise ship. They are such sweet and talented, hard working people. They were sous a chance. generous to get a big group of us into the parks and we spent the day exploring Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
The biggest part of my week in Orlando was that I went home for a few days to be part of the wedding of Matt and Catie Castleman. I had so much fun being in Cincinnati for a couple days and it was great to see so many friends from college, high school, church, etc. We just had a great time and I was so happy to be there to support two people who I admire so much and are so wonderful together. I can’t wait to be in the same city with them for a longer period of time. Our last day in Orlando was a whirlwind of me traveling back, doing two shows, and then we had a big party thrown for us! Brad and Ellen were able to come out and meet the cast (Ellen saw the show) and party a bit at a great little spot where the had food and drinks. We also got together and had a little cabaret night where we all sang Christmas songs and stuff that we had with us. It’s always great to get a chance to do something DIFFERENT than our show every night.
The last week of tour before break was a week full of one-nighters. We started in Rockford, IL where I decided to plan a little outing. The night before in Orlando we had so much fun singing together and singing Christmas songs and I thought it would be a terrible waste to not share that holiday joy with others. I found an assisted living facility nearby to our hotel in Rockford and called them. We ended up having about 20 of the cast plus our violinist, Chase, come along and sing from the show, Christmas carols, etc. I played piano, Chase improvised beautifully on the violin, and we threw together about an hour’s worth of music that the residents seemed to REALLY enjoy. It made me so glad to be able to use our talents for something bigger than ourselves. We performed that night at a really great old palace theatre. It is always fun to see the varying architecture of theatres all over the country.
The next day we were in Evansville, IN. It was crazy to think I was so close to home, but the day flew by and the next day was a travel day. We drove through rain past downtown Louisville. What a tease! I just wanted to jump off the bus, but we had a few more days. That night we stopped along the way in Charleston, WV, a city I never thought I would randomly spend so much time in. This time we were in a hotel that was surrounded by… nothing. There were no restaurants open or anything, so we ended up having a bit of a pizza party in our hotel room. All sorts of people came by as we watched old Christmas movies on TV, played Catch Phrase, and Celebrity and had a grand old time. We have definitely learned how to entertain ourselves on the road.
For the first part of the weekend we played Richmond, VA. We performed in a HUGE theatre, the Landmark Theatre, which had history as a Masonic lodge or something. I have never seen anything quite like it. It was nice to be in a pretty fun town. There were lots of shops and things around. Between shows on Saturday I ended up taking a group to a restaurant I found called The Black Sheep. It had been on Man vs. Food and was one of the best meals we had on tour. It was just so incredible; warm, RICH, and delicious. Our last stop before break was Charleston, WV, where we actually performed. We were in a beautiful performing arts center, but the highlight of being there was that my parents came to see the show! It was such a nice treat to have them in the audience and then we had a late drive to get me HOME! For someone who travels constantly for a living, I just CRAVE being home in the Louisville/Cincinnati area. To my friends and family there: I am so thankful for the loving community you are to me. It makes all the difference to have people surround you that build into you, invest in you, and care for you the way you all do. It is because of you that I love to come home. Can’t wait until next time!