Four Calling Birds about to roost in Huntington.

Yup - it's that time... Rich and I have barely stopped hyperventilating over the stress of stuffed pork and Washington Irving's run-on sentances, and now it's time to make way for Santa. I'm really excited...but I'm also running behind on my work and I could use about a weeks worth of sleep. "What else is new, I hear you ask". Ohhhh - I have some fun news. With the new lobby expansion, this is the first time we've had to figure out exactly what to do with the Christmas tree now that there can be seats in the center area of the lobby. Because of that Rich was slightly nervous about the ticket numbers, so he capped off at 70. But he and Janice found a brand new spot for the tree (over where the keyboard used to be.... the keyboard will now be on the opposite side) and that means we have room for A FEW MORE SEATS. Sooooo all you people that were peeved when you found out that the shows were all sold out (we only had seats left on opening night)... there are now 2 or 3 extra seats released for EACH NIGHT. You're the first to know. So if you want them... get them FAST. You've been warned :) Cuz it really is sold out to the gills.

This week has been quite the rough ride for us in some areas. There had been quite the panic about finding housing for the stage manager and the musical director. The second story of the actor's house isn't complete yet - and this is the first time we'll be housing 6 out-of-towners. So we needed living quarters for two more people. Rich had arranged to rent an apartment...but at the end of October, during the shows, we were told that the tenants weren't going to be moving out in time. So - we began a search for housing. Also our musical director has no car AND doesn't have a drivers license - so he needed to be within walking distance of the theatre. We had a few days of panic as every single real-estate lead led to NOTHING. We tried hotel rooms... and even though Rich KNOWS for a fact that several of the hotels in the area had plenty of room, they wouldn't negotiate on a long-term rate. So it was gettin' hairy. In fact the last blog nearly contained a lengthy plea of desperation to see if any of you bloggies had any ideas, but then, right before Rich was about to post the blog he finally had success. He checked out like every rental listing the area - but people won't rent short term (we only need two months)... so it was tough. But a really great guy who's a teacher and who has two new adopted twins had a two bedroom available down by Marsh (the ex-supermarket). So - this weekend Janice and Bob brought a trailer from Ohio and, like some kind of episode of Trading Spaces, in about three hours they loaded all the furniture from Bob's place in Atlanta into this apartment. And, of course, Janice steamed the carpets. Because otherwise it wouldn't be Janice. And it looks fantastic. So - Christmas miracle number one.

Our new musical director Nate arrives tomorrow... it's comin' so quick. I'm so excited to work with him. He's super talented, so nice, and his arrangements so far are just stunning. And it does make things a whole lot easier to be collaborating with someone who has the musical theatre lexicon in their vocab... we speak the same shorthand - so it makes things a lot easier. For instance, I have this idea of doing "We three Kings" like a song called "Meadowlark" - but if you're not a musical theater freak, that reference gets very muddled to explain. :) One of the actors, Patrick, arrives the next day and then the other three descend by car and plane upon Huntington on Thursday. And the magic begins on Friday. By 'magic' I mean lack of sleep, stress and Po having more people to play with than she can handle.

Rich had told a bunch of our patrons that we would have plans for the auditorium that people could see by Christmas. Apparently at some point I agreed to this wholeheartedly. But that was before Sleepy Hollow changed into 273 sound cues and I lost two weeks into a black hole of smoke-rising-from-my-laptop late night sound cue creation. But the pack leader was gonna murder me if I didn't live up to my delusional pledge...so, even though I haven't had time to start the research for my show script (eeeeepppp), I got most of the program completed, and then yesterday holed myself up in the living room (while Team Najuch was setting up the apartment) and got some sketches DONE. It's kind of incredibly annoying how much more effectively I work under a deadline. I've been terrified of trying to nail down what that room would look like... but since I HAD to get it done... somehow my brain is able to go "Ok kids, time to make a DECISION". (I'm not sure who the kids are??? Brain cells??? Synapses??? Rods and cones???? Please advise). Anyway - I actually succeeded.

auditorium-rendering-smaller.jpg

proscenium-sketch.jpg

So you already saw those "NHT" panels. The proscenium is moved forward a bunch from the original position so we have room for backstage goo-ga. The silver molding around the arch is gonna be custom done by the pack leader on our sexy Compu Carve machine, and then silver leafed. I actually really like the continuation of the curvy lines from the 'show drop' (which will be much less bulky and MUCH less expensive than a grand drape) which continue on to the proscenium arch. Anyhooo - it ain't a bad start.

I've also been whacking through the program. I custom build about 90% of the ads, and this program is the biggest we've ever had... it's 28 pages and like 35 ads. So that was a solid week of Jo Jo just trying to come up with 80 different ways to say "May the season bring you joy and peace. And Love. And peace or joy. Or peace". But - it's pretty much done, and at least that's one thing I don't have to try and get done while the kids are here.

This weekend in between apartment hunting and program building and foundation patching (oh yeah... Rich and Bob were doin' THAT too!) we hosted the La Fontaine Arts Council Fashion Show, which is called Fashion for the Arts. Debbie and the committee do the most incredible job with their events... they are always so classy, and have amazing party favors and the auction items are spectacular. People just love the event, and Rich and I seem to have become the annual moderators of the fashion show... which seems to involve us saying goofy things about clothing names like "Zenergy Zebra" and "Ponte Poncho" and harrassing the models. The ladies seem to get a kick of it...

dscn1376.jpg The clothes were from Chicos. And when I made a Chico and the Man reference, we had another five-year-age-difference between me and Rich moment where he had no idea what I was talking about. Luckily most of the ladies at the fashion show were a little older than Rich. Thanks to Wikipedia I can elaborate: Chico and the Man was an American sitcom which ran on NBC from September 13, 1974 to July 21, 1978, starring Jack Albertson as Ed Brown (The Man), the cantankerous owner of a run down garage in an East Los Angeles barrio, and Freddie Prinze as Chico Rodriguez, an upbeat, optimistic Chicano street kid who comes in looking for a job. It was the first U.S. television series set in a Mexican-American neighborhood. Here are Chico, and the Man...

SAY CHICO... IS THAT A ECRU MOCK TURTLENECK YOUR WEARING? chico-and-the-man-pic.jpg

Anyhoo...people love the silent auction stuff. dscn1385.jpg

Which included these two fabulous items made by Ann's hubby Paul Siegfried... HE WEAVED THIS BASKET. LIKE HIMSELF. HE CAN WEAVE. A STRAIGHT MAN WHO WEAVES!!!!???? dscn1380.jpg

Incredible. I think Paul needs to make a million on ebay with wine baskets. Seriously. Plus he also took these gorgeous photos of an ice storm last winter... dscn1383.jpg

Ruth did a super nifty candy basket... dscn1381.jpg

And the centerpieces were just gee-orgeous. dscn1378.jpg

And I would like to draw your attention to the homemade purse cookies which were decorated to MATCH the purses... Amazing.

Anyhooo... I gotta start my research kids! xooooo Jo Jo.