Or 'the beginning' for those of you, like me, who don't speak a word of Italian.Today is arrival day for the actors - or three out of four of them. So I'm trying to slam out a blog for ya, cuz I'm sure in the next day or two I'll be swamped. In fact we've been pretty swamped till now as well. Primarily the past week has been spent with me trying to bang out the program - which is always a huge freakin' undertaking. I'm so proud of them when they are done, but during it I'm always wigging out about getting the thing finished. I'm super super happy that this time round Ann Siegrfried (former high-school teacher to the entire state of Indiana) subtly suggested that we let her proof read it... last time we had to get the rushed so quickly that a bunch of goofy mistakes slipped through. And this time she caught a bunch of stuff that was a Godsend. One of these in particular was very fortuitous. As always, the ads are all themed to the shows... and for the summer the ads are a range of the three shows. For one particular vehicle rental facility - the owners of which are friends AND always kind enough to advertise with us - I had thought it would be really cute to have a picture of a sixties kind of scooby doo van and have the phrase "For all your Magical Mystery Tours". Cute - right? Sixties... groovy. Fun. Except when ad read the program she noticed that I had typed "For all your Magical Mysery Tours". Which doesn't create quite the same positive spin. Oops. So - snaps for the Siegfried. We were over there for dinner the other night, and for the first time I was actually exposed to this Guitar Hero/Rock Band craze thing. All this time I THOUGHT it was supposed to teach you how to play the guitar. No. It seems like a lot of fun but I don't think Rich and Paul should start a Queen cover band any time soon. While we were there Ann managed to seduce me into joining the Arts Council - which I'm kind of excited about. The Pack Leader is usually the one on all the boards and stuff - so I'm pretty happy about it.

I've also been churning out sixty thousand advertisement it feels like. The GREAT news is that as of yesterday we have officially sold as many tickets as we did last summer - and we don't even open for two weeks. YAY. However, we are running for a longer period this summer so we can accomodate more people. AND we picked that schedule before we decided to take out the wall. And NOWWW we can accomodate 70 people a night as opposed to fifty. So - that means we have the capacity to accomodate more people. And tickets are selling well too... Even with the capacity of seventy, several of the nights are already completely sold out. So - if you're coming - and I hope you are - book your tickets sooner rather than later to get your choice of dates!

The Italian show (which is first) seems the be the one selling a little bit slower than the others (but not by much). We have determined that because it's the least clearly defined subject, people aren't sure quite what it is. So we just sent out a nifty postcard to our mailing list with a big list of all the songs we're doing in the show that everybody knows...and I think a lot of people will read it and go "Ohhhhh - well I wanna see THAT". Songs like Come Fly With Me, My Way, Young at Heart, Sway, Volare, Papa Loves Mambo, Mambo Italiano, That's Amore, The theme from the Godfather, Santa Lucia, Funiculi Funicula, Three coins in the Fountian, Cara Mia.... seeeee you know them!

As soon as the program was done I was already way behind on my planned work schedule pre-actor arrival. ERg. So I started really hitting the books to try and get the research and scripts underway. I think I told you that the Italian script is now in a good draft form - so that's one checked off the list. The past couple days I've been doing nothin' but Irving Berlin and I have about 60% of that script written...which is a lot better off than I thought I was gonna be about two days ago. Rich was all on his own working on the wall (cuz I had so much script stuff to do) so I started working downstairs just in case something fell on his head or somethin'.


In order to try and multi task I managed to get my hair cut, have a little color slapped over the grey - and then hurry back to help Rich cut wood with the plastic cap still on my head. I looked like i was a really cheap Star Wars extra from that Wookie Christmas Special in the 70's.


Rich has been zooming around like a Tazmanian Devil on a caffeine-high taking care of bits and pieces. Fixing the hole in the lobby wall kept being put on hold because the rain wouldn't stop long enough for us to go get plywood. Rich was really concerned that even if we wrapped the ply in a tarp, it might get damp, which would contribute to it warping, which wouldn't be good for the wallpaper - etc. etc. So we waited. And waited. And finally the rain stopped. The wallpaper arrived right on schedule - which is a huge stroke of luck. Last time we ordered the stuff we discovered that they print it to order... which can take weeks of waiting. But they happened to have a roll of our pattern in stock - so we got it in just a few days. The problem was is that we had to get this repair/renovation job on the lobby done SOON because we have an event with the Sciotes on Monday. (Remember the Sciotes? They are a sorority... but not like the 'Girls gone Wild' kind... More like the "Mature Women Gone Philantropic" kind. So we didn't really want them to be having their annual initiation even with a giant hole in the ceiling.

On top of that Rich had tracked down new chairs (since we now need to be able to seat 70 a night). So he found the same style of chair that we previously refinished (this is easy to do on ebay EXCEPT you have to find them within driving distance unless you want to pay for shipping of twenty metal chairs). So he found them... and he and Madge went and picked them up. When the gentleman who sold them to us apparently heard Rich and Margaret say something about upholstering them he said "why would you want to refinish these? What's wrong with them?". Allow me to present you with the chairs current visual appearance:


Purple and Red checks. Nice. So - with all these chairs - and the 2x4 supports and all the other stuff - around Friday the lobby looked like this (keep in mind we had an event in three days...


I don't know how, but every time we think this room is done...we manage to mess it up again!

So - after we finally got the wood, he took the big plunge and removed the temporary support 2x4s. Rich removed them when I wasn't here because he said if anything did go wrong he'd rather be crushed than have to witness me panic. :) The 2x4s came out - and it looked sooooo freakin' big. It's an amazing difference how much it opens the room.


And Rich got to work on making the new wall plug/facade thingy.

First he built a series of stud type things so that he could attach stuff inside... contemplating-hole.jpg

Then, in accordance to my handy dandy blueprints (that apparently did him no use whatsoever...but they sure looked pretty) we cut out the plug itself from this 1/2 inch MDF he got. (He was worried ply would warp...don't ask me... i'm not in charge).


And then it went up in the air... plug-2.jpg


And one on the other side as well... The one on the side in the picture we designed to marry the wallpaper panels further inside the lobby... to create continuity. The one on the opposite side of the wall is a simple rectangle because it's gonna be behind a bunch of hanging stage lights and seemed less obtrusive. Deciding on the panels was a gradual first we thought we were gonna have to plaster the whole wall smooth again...and I had no freakin idea how we were gonna pull that off. The thought of trying to fill that hole in perfectly smooth gave me hives. But then Bob realized that because there are no air vents in the other half of the lobby, we might be able to use the hole to help circulation. See that archway wall stops any hot air from travelling from the outer lobby vents into the inner lobby (which is why we have ceiling fans in both rooms now)... but if Rich designed the wallpaper panels with a little gap between the wall and the panel, then air could still circulate through. Brilliant! And Rich managed it. But when we looked at that big wooden slab in the middle of the wall we were both like..."um... not sure we're gonna think this looks that attractive". But rather than panic we figured - we're too far along now... let's hope it looks better with the wallpaper. Which frankly, has all the same colors as the wall - so it will blend a lot better than a football field of MDF hanging on the wall.

Then - with all his spare time - he managed to finally get the final coat of stain and polyurethane on the bar floor... so it looks a lot more rich now...



And then.... back to the panels and the wallpaper. We determined since Margaret and I wanted to continue being friends past the weekend that the two of us would not embark upon another wallapaper adventure together. I thought Madge and Janice would be able to do it - and so did Rich - until we realized that Janice wasn't gonna be back until the day of this Sciotes event. So - Rich, having never wallpapered before - decided to just take the bull by the horns. I had no recollection of how we had done it the first time - I think it was a case of post traumatic stress syndrome wiping it out of my mind to prevent emotional scarring. But after Rich made a few attempts and had bubble issues I remembered the main trick was to no put the whole sheet down at once, but to kind of spread it in one direction pushing about an inch of paper down against the surface at a time as you roll it out. Or something like that. He did great. And he had the big-time smarts to do the panel hidden behind the lights before he did the one that's in full view.




Even without the framing on, we could see that with the wallpaper it looked a whole LOT better. THEN he had to measure out the molding - which took forever last time, but he had learned from his mistakes of a year ago, and now managed to do it in a pretty painless fashion. He trimmed down the framing pieces... used the router to make the custom molding a-la Rich, and then, with the help of the old pneumatic brad gun... it was install time.


Because the darn thing involves so many angle cuts, the long day and late night got the better of him... so the next morning (today) before we had to go pick up Angie, he corrected a few boo boos, and got both frames installed.

And voila! No wall. No hole. More space. More seats... HURRAH. dsc_0006.jpg

And in case you forgot - here's what it was before... doin-the-rounds.jpg

The wallpaper panel actually looks REALLY nice now, (the frame really finishes it off), and it ties the two rooms together in a great way. And here is the reverse side...


Doesn't the room just look HUUGGEE??? i'm so excited. We have way more centre view seats, a way more unified audience experience (which really does make a difference - because it was kind of like playing to two separate groups sometimes)... and the ability to have a whole lot more events and meetings and stuff.

Way to go pack leader. We've picked up Angie... who has brought along a ukulele (how excited an I about THAT!?), Jill is on the road right now, and in a couple hours we go pick up Jordan... Yaayyyyyy. And tomorrow - it begins. Eep. I think we need a nap.... jojo-and-puppy.jpg