For you Yankee Doodles - the Anglos have this bizarre holiday the day after Christmas called Boxing Day. it's basically a great excuse to go back to work, and there are like sixty different versions of why it's called boxing day. None of which have to do with Mike Tyson, surprisingly.Interstingly enough, in the UK - it's considered the Black Friday of Britain.
Okay... well... let's get back to those bar pictures I told you were back here in Indianer.
Now - chart the progress, keeping in mind the actors where here for only 10 days before we opened.
Then the doors started being installed against the framework...
He made a perfectly clean corner plug to fill in this gap...you'll see it in a minute.
then the countertop got positioned... (and had to be slightly trimmed for a perfect fit (since the dumb walls are a zillion years old and not square).
Then the counter top got attached. And because it had quite an overhang for barstools etc, they also had to come up with a good way of anchoring the countertop so when people leaned down it wouldn't move.
Coupled with the sexy velvet walls and the stage lights installed on the ceiling...it looks pretty darn great. And once all the bar shelves go up on the wall behind the bar, and the trim is done on the velvet - it's gonna be amahzing.
Oh, and by the way...remember I told you about the insanity of the Thanksgiving deserts... Yah...
So anyway. That's the bar. And the pie. Hey, I have a question...they have Salad Bars..why don't they have PIE bars... those would be be better. I'm going to write a strongly worded letter.
Of course it was the Holidays - and of course, Huntingtonians LOVE to feed actors... which is pretty darn great...cuz we get to tag along. The culinary highlight of the season had to be an INSANELY fantastic dinner at Debbie Dyer's house. This woman makes Martha Stewart look like Pig Pen. The food was so beautiful and flavorful and gorgeous... I wish I had taken the camera (see why Santa brought me the cute little camera???) cuz I have no pictures - but it was amazing. I mean her SALADS taste amazing...like her salads are like desserts... her desserts are like... um... better than sex. With someone sexy. That you want to have sex with. Not like...better than sex with Wolf Blitzer.
The next great event actually coincided with the arrival of my Dad. We had long had an invitation to a Christmas party at the Siegried's house. Dad only was certain that he could make the visit at the last minute (like two days before he arrived) and so after the show the actors went to the party with Rich and Derek and I whooshed to the airport to pick up Dad. And after flying all day the first thing we did was take him to a party! But he had a great time... and Anne's house looked beautiful. Something that is kind of new to me in this neck of the woods is the multiple tree propensity. Almost every house we've been to this Christmas has more than one tree... like three trees! If my mother tried to decorate three trees she'd have to start working on them... well on Boxing Day!
This was my favorite one of Anne's - it's in her kitchen and she made all the ornaments... It was very Little House on the Praerie.. and sooooo warm and inviting:
The same day, coincidentally, Justin's family drove down (with awesome giant doggie in tow) from Chicago to see the show. Just like Justin they have a weird talent for evaporation (I swear the Banta's have Harry Potters invisibility cloak....one minute they're there and then POOF!). So I didn't get any pictures of them... but Justin said they loved the show... and...ahem... liked me a lot too. AWwwwwwww.
Almost all of these pictures were taken, by the way, when the lubricated actors decided to commandeer my camera.
We were entertained by a bunch of other wonderful folks... Rich and I and Dad went over to Alane's for a scrumptuous Mexican meal - and Luke, after seeing the matinee of the show, decided it was very inappropriate that I did NOT have a Grinch costume. So he made me one!
Out of lego.
Have I mentioned how much I love this kid. Actually during the matinee I really wanted to do the whole Grinch number with Luke piggy back on me... and he was NOT having it. We rehearsed in the kitchen and everything and he was too shy. Alane and I tried bribing him...by the time we were through the kid was gonna get Hot Wheels, a spy kit (whatever tha might be??), ice cream...and I think Elmo's home phone number. But nope. No go. :(
People also kept dropping off the most amazing stuff over the holiday - cookies, and coffee cake, and cookies and cake and cookies and Aaaaaaaaa... I'm expecting a call from Jenny Craig any day now.
Dad and Derek really hit it off - and since I was so busy with the shows (often two during the day while he was here) AND I was feverishly trying to get all the cuts done to the Tempest so I could get our rehearsal version out to the designers - Derek and he had a couple boy's nights... largely bonding over a mutual obsession. Cigars. If Dad had attended Notre Dame I don't think he would have ever left Derek's house. Except for the fact that while HE was visiting Janice was staying AT Derek's house. With Derek's 12,000 pound Golden Retreiver Hesburgh (named after the former President of Notre Dame). In case you're wondering how much Derek likes his alma mater... one of his bathrooms is currently a cave because one day, when the team lost a ball game, he had a Hulk moment and decided to punish the bathroom tile... Because clearly - it was the Tile's fault that they lost. Anyway... This dog is like a Clydesdale. Derek is a tall, solid guy - so when this dog decides to bump up against him and say howdy... he can take it. When Hesberg wants to say a friendly hello Janice, she's knocked halfway into the next county. It's pretty hysterical. I'm gonna get a picture for you next time I'm there. Seriously - the two of them look like Paul Bunyan and Babe.
Dad had a good time I think. He saw the show like eight bazillion times... Before he had arrived I'd actually forgotten that the last time he was here the Lobby wasn't even renovated... It's amazing how much has happened in the past year, really! So it was so neat to have him see the lobby (especially decorated for Christmas) AND the bar AND the show. He seemed really pleased.
Now I suppose the time has come to tell you some of my charming 'ad-lib' blunders that occurred from my over familiarity with the script...this is what happens when my mind has time to actually churn...
Right after Justin had sung "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, and you'll fall asleep Counting Your Blessings" I noticed that a lady in her golden years sitting over by Tim had fallen asleep. I mean she was completely zonked out. ZZZZZzzzzz. I thought it was pretty funny... so I started talking to the gentleman she was sitting with. "Wow - that song must really... it's like musical Ambien!". Then, since it was Eckert night, I said she was so asleep we might need Father Tom (who was there) to administer Last Rights. Ha ha. So cute. Hee hee. Ya - turns out that the lady had broken her shoulder blades and couldn't lift her head up. She was awake the whole time. Eeep.
One night a cute grandmother-y type lady sitting right the front table guessed one of the free drink questions. I asked her what she wanted to drink and she said "Water" - which was always a big laugh and huge dissapointment...(why ANSWER the question if you're drinking water?????!!!). Anyway - I tried to coerce her into getting something more fun and, since I don't drink I tried to think of fun exotic drinks, and I say "Can't we get you something fun... sex on the beach...Blue Orgasm??". Apparently not everyone in Indiana knows those are drinks. This woman was like seventy. I actually heard Rich gasp on this one. Dad was also very very proud.
When ever there were kids in the audience we asked the parents if they still believed in Santa Claus before the show - because I would alter my script. One day we had one kid in the audience who DIDN'T believe in Santa - so I did the script as normal. And I told the audience that we always asked before the show... "God forbid I be the cause of some kid having to get therapy. He'll need it enough without my help." Yup.
I will say for every one of those disasters (Rich and Janice are considering getting a remote control shock collar like Derek has so that they can shock me when I'm going down the wrong path), we did have some pretty funny ad libs... Eckert night was CHOCK full of inside jokes and was by far one of the most fun nights we've ever had at the Supper Club (hint to others... try and get tickets on Eckert night if you can...the other audience members had a great time) One of my favorite Eckert night adlibs was... Of course, everyone at the Supper Club has benefited from the incredible generosity of this family... Rich and I are so grateful that Tom and Winnie met each other and went at it like rabbits." and "Over 1600 people have attended this Christmas show. And some of them aren't even Tom and Winnie's kids".
One night when I was trying to do a Miss Piggy impression (which amazingly always was a big hit) I gagged halfway through and it went very awry. Kyla said: "I think you have a Kermit the Frog in your throat!".
I did this thing where I told the audience that "according to the Joy of Cooking, a fruitcake soaked in alcohol can be preserved for up to 25 years". Some of our confirmed bachelor friends were at the front table I said, "And no matter how much you two drink...that's not what they meant."
After that the gag evolved and Justin said "25 years? I'm not even that old". To which I replied "You're not fruitcake either. Works out good."
One of the most bizarrely popular things we did was a whole thing about Bippus Bank. See Kyla's nickname ended up being Bippus because she thought it sounded like a Yiddish word. And then it turned into this whole thing about the many uses of the Yiddish word Bippus ("God bless and keep her, but sometimes that woman can be such a Bippus!")- which the audience loved... We had only intended on doing the gag the night that Ryan Warner, the head of Bippus Bank was there - but he loved it so much he loaded the kids down with Bippus T shirts... sweatshirts...notepads...free money...loans... it was so fun. They were thrilled. And seriously - by the time the show closed the "Kyla is Jewish" reveal section of show practically ended up being it's own 20 minute thing... The show came to a grinding halt and became Laugh In.
Anyway - I think that about catches us up...and gives you a pretty decent pictoral cavalcade of our excitement... Oh... and due to neccessity I've also, for the first time in my life, learned how to iron a dress shirt. I've hadn't worn a blazer more than once a year since I was 16 (I think school uniforms probably do that to a kid)... but now after wearing a suit months at a time... I had to learn cuz Janice wasn't always around. See, you can teach and old dog new tricks. :)
Christmas in Ohio was lovely.
It was really tough to not be with my family - but it was really nice. BTW hint for your next holiday - order a Dutch Apple Pie from Nick's... it was Cindy's suggestion and FANTASTIC. On our way to Ohio we, of course, stopped by every Lowe's we past to check out clearance...and I picked up this classy chapeau...
After spending so much time helping us at the theatre...and having already decorated every inch of our lobby, Janice only had the strength to put the lights on her tree. And five - yes five - ornaments (which she didn't have to unpack because she'd bought them this year!)
The true Christmas miracle this year was that I managed...over the phone...to talk my Mom through downloading Skype so that we could do web chat on Christmas day. Astoundingly we managed to accomplish this in only about twenty minutes (this is a BIG DEAL for us)...and she managed to download it...install it...open it...and get it running all on her own. Goooo Donna. It was really nice to see them on Christmas Day - and Monica, Mom and Dad all crowded around the screen to say hi... I have to say this technology blows my mind. It's one of those wacky futuristic things that I just can't quite believe we can do so easily. Carousel of Progress keeps on spinning... And by the way - it was 75 degrees today in Bermuda. Grrrrrr.
Katie gets here tomorrow for New Years. We're all gonna figure out how to keep Tim awake past midnight.