You Are Here (and we were there) Blogisode 2

You are all hilarious and thank you for reading and for sharing it and for commenting on my very first blog post in 937 years. And you guys, ENOUGH about my jacket color. It's a great jacket and it was built for me and is super fancy and Broadway. You can't order online, so don't even try, although I know you want to. And hey--I get this snazzy new hair color, so all is good. Here is a picture of me on TV in a cab (which is just about as exciting as it gets) and you get a good look at my jacket and my hair and more importantly, I get to show off that as a New Yorker, this is just about being as famous as being a Yankee. Just saying.


Here’s what made me nervous about other comments from blog one. “I’m so excited to read your next installment tomorrow!!" Uh oh.  Tomorrow? No can do. It's been 562 years since my last blog post and I am already creating expectations and disappointing. I will try to write everyday, but blogging is kind of like going to the gym. I get up—I get dressed to go to the gym—and then I wear my workout clothes to Target where I then buy more gym clothes and also a cake pop and a coffee from the Starbucks inside.

In case you are curious how that manifests in a writer’s life, it looks like this: I get up, I drink coffee and read all of your comments, I maybe check my stats to see if I have more than three loyal readers, I drink some more coffee, I charge up my iPad, and then I carry it around with me all day thinking about what to write. At some point in there I maybe I take my iPad to Target where I then buy a new book to read. (PS I just read In a Dark, Dark, Night, which is a modern-day Agatha Christie-esque story. Enjoyable.)

And then I go do the show and come home and talk to Beatrix and then watch The Americans (so good—obsessed) and I think as I drift off to sleep, I will definitely go to the gym and/or blog tomorrow.

The good news is I have a better track record for blogging than I do for going to the gym although I may or may not be dressed for the gym as I type this.

So here we are, back again, not the next day but the day after. I guess the point is, I will write and finish this blog series, I promise, but be loving and patient with me.

Ok—Martha says I used to recap too much so I am not recapping anymore.

If you haven’t read the first blogisode, go here, and then come back. Hi again. We left off (as you now know) with us boarding a bus in midtown bound for Gander, Newfoundland. And unless we have some kind of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang situation, you know we took a lot of other vehicles to get there.

So. I get to the bus and everyone is all, you know, looking the way you look when you get on a bus at 5am, which looks like…a lot of hats (Colella always has an adorable stocking cap thing) and no makeup and stretchy clothes…and people begging for coffee (Chad Kimball). This is standard early morning travel etiquette, I’d say, and we were all in silent agreement to ease into the day with no pictures or loud sounds. Exceptions are made for one cast member who is alarmingly bright and cheery and connected to social media at even the earliest of hours, and that person is…..drum roll please….(I will get to the trivia question from the last blog in a minute, this is a slight diversion)….Rodney Hicks. Rodney Hicks showed up looking adorable and well groomed and in—I feel like saying, and I am not sure if I am right—maybe he was in all white and ironed and shined shoes and a not-intended-for-warmth hat that he alternately wore perched on his cute bald little head and suavely perched on a nearby ledge.


The thing to know about Rodney is he is INTENSE, he loves you in a complete way, and he does everything full-out. So. When he pulled out his camera at the airport and started taking pictures of us (selfies) we all said, “Uh, ok, well, but I don’t have any makeup on or anything” and his response was a sincere, “You are beautiful” so we all just, well you’d do it too, we all posed and smiled.

I think when he started doing multiple Facebook Live posts at about 8am we got a little testier, or at least I did, and I remember hiding in the bathroom at one point in a swirl of my own vanity before finally giving in and putting on some makeup to make my mother happy (even though she is no longer here I still hear her voice in my head, and she’s right). PS the runner up for best dressed at all times goes to Kendra Kassebaum who always looks both chic and cozy, my forever goal in life. She is my wardrobe spirit animal.

 Basically—from the get go—we were excited, but tired, and quickly aware that this trip was not one you were taking alone or with one dear friend, but instead would have a camera presence akin to The Amazing Race. So basically, although no one ever looked as snatched as Rodney, we all upped our game pretty quickly. I’d say that idea was solidified by the press team’s announcement of what news organizations would be covering our trip (just about all of them).

 One of the most fun and interesting aspects of this show, as you all probably know, is our characters are based on real people. Many of us had met our real life counterparts early on including me. The real life Diane, who is a lovely woman from Texas, came to the production in La Jolla and we met in the lobby prior to her seeing the show where she and Nick regaled me with the stories we tell pretty much verbatim in the show. "I'd never had more than one beer at a time before" and Nick finished her sentence by saying, "So I bought her two more beers"

I listened and said, "Really?" Knowing full well that exact scene would be played out before their very eyes in mere moments. We were never supposed to do direct impersonations of our characters, but regardless, we are portraying them with an eye towards responsibility. Except for Diane's accent, which I couldn't do justice to if you paid me a gazillion dollars. It is a perfect and awesome Texas drawl. I always tease her because she puts an "r" at the end of the word idea. Say it with me. "Idear" Really lean into it with your best Texas accent. "Idear" I begged David and Irene to add a line for me where I was able to use the word idear--like maybe, "I have an idear, let's Stop The World!" But oddly they said no (?? But why?)

I adore this woman, Here is a picture of me adoring her at the legion in Gander, ripped from a Canadian newspaper. Which seemed like a good idear.

As if the trip of a lifetime could not get any better, not only did all of us go on the Gander trip, but so did our real life people from all over. Nick and Diane were there and Beverley Bass and her husband Tom came, as did Kevin Tuerff (played by Chad Kimball). The rest of the gang we met while in Newfoundland, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Once we flew out of New York (after a sizable delay) the gang of us (including cast, band, stage managers, company managers, and press people, we landed in Toronto. Oh--and since we are now talking about flying, I will answer our trivia question from blogisode one.


The answer is: This girl.


Astrid Van Wieren.

And because this picture is awesome in every way, it will be coming back in a later blogisode with an explanation.

But you should also know that if you were on a plane and sitting next to Astrid you would hold her hand happily, even if you are the Grinchy-est get away from me person because Astrid is adorable and loving and vulnerable and you would hold her hand and be honored to do so. Besides. She would take your hand anyway, so you'd have no choice. And then she would buy you a drink.

Anyhoo, we land in Toronto, grab some food and by food I mean booze, and we board our next flight, this time to St. John's Newfoundland. Here's what the map on the plane looked like.


Once we landed we meet up with Beverly Bass and Tom, and they open a giant suitcase filled with care packages for all of us to enjoy while we are on the four hour bus ride to Gander.

That's right. We drove to Gander despite being in a musical based in and around the giant airport in Gander. Correct. We did not fly into the famed Gander Airport. Apparently it is hard to get a flight to Gander these days and given the size of our crowd it was decided to bus us there instead in two giant party buses with booze brought to you by Captain Bass. Look how cute the little care packages were, and yes, that is Gray Goose as a sweet nod to the lines in the show about the particularly coveted libation.


(You guys, I feel compelled to point out I know some of these pictures are coming in a giant size, and while I am trying to make them smaller, I have not yet been successful. So bear with me. I'll figure it out, hopefully by the next blogisode. If there is a wordpress doctor in the house, please make yourself known.)

The bus ride and our arrival deserves a post all of its own, so I will end it here for now. But I leave you with this question.

How do you think the band kills time on a four hour bus ride?

This answer and more coming up in the next blogisode!

Thanks for joining me and for all your support. This blogisode is in memory of Beulah's son, Aubrey, the firefighter she talks about in the show, who passed away last week. We love you, Beulah. And a shout out to Nick and Diane who are okay but do live in Houston which is (as you know) flooding from Hurricane Harvey. We love you guys, too. Stay safe.