Will Hutcheson and the Madri-gals.

Hey there...

Greetings from Bermuda….

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We made it.  We survived.  And the actors are snuggled all safely in their respective home-land beds and Rich and I are draped over various sofa's in my parents living room.  I've been spending most of my time assembling a year's worth of performance videos.  The new HD camera is such an amazing tool… and it allows us a much more tangible record of what the performances feel like than ever before.  

Rich is holed up with his new Santa-delivered kindle working on upgrades to the website and some very fun new ticket deals and ways of targeting a younger audience.  And he's making lots and lots of to-do lists for the auditorium.  

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Money, as always is tight, but considering the economy we felt extremely fortunate to sell 45 more tickets for the holiday show than we did last year… and we gained a whole bunch of new people, which is exciting.

So back to prepping the show…
Basically considering the pressure we were all under, it was a pretty fierce team effort.  We were trying to work so quickly, and throwing so many things at Will at once that it was just madness.  Judy, who was musical directing from the Huntington end, cleared her schedule and made a whole lot more time for us than we had originally scheduled (since by the time Will ARRIVED all of the music should have already been TAUGHT).  

In the middle of the worst of it, we did manage to sneak downstairs to check out Santa on the day he visited the theatre.  Janice had the whole lobby decked out (on top of the usual decking-out) so that it was super cute. 

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PLUS Reindeer came to visit… Last year the reindeer had suffered an antler-related-injury and was kind of at half mask.  But this year (his name is Jingle Bell… we're buddies) was 100% tip top.

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IT'S REIN(DEER)ING MEN!

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And in the greatest discovery of all time, the next week I learned that one of my students is actually the owner of Jingle Bell.  And I have an open invitation to go hang out with Reindeer whenever I want.  Jealous?  I'm not saying that next year at the Supper Club we WILL be doing Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer with live Reindeer… but I'm not denying it.

Of course… Mr. Scrooge might have something to say about it :(

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I can't imagine that any of us could have been working any harder.  Poor Nate managed to churn out the new arrangements in lighting speed… but then only had 7 days to produce all the orchestrations.  To say that's tight is… well it's was as tight as Rosie O Donnell's spanx after Thanksgiving dinner.  It was scary.  The actors simply can't become comfortable performing the songs until the know WHAT they are singing with, and normally we insist on having arrangements ready for the first day of tech.  We had about 8 out of 24 of them this time round.  And it was nobody's fault.  But it just was one more piece of stress.  And some of the tracks were very very complicated and had really tempo shifts that there was no way to prepare without the final orchestration.  48 hours before opening night there was just this cloud of doom over the whole place.  It was like being duct taped to an out of control train.  At one point Will, who is about the most indestructible force of enthusiasm I know, even lost it and had to leave the room to have a little melt down.  And there was just nothing you could say.  The problem was everyone was working as hard as they could - but there was only so much material you could absorb, stage, remember and polish in the amount of time we had.  It was discouraging.  Because we had something that could be an amazing show, that because of a total lack of adequate time, we were just praying to get to the point of cohesion.  

So Rich did something I never expected he would do… and I never would have thought to ask.  He looked through the database at every name who was booked for opening night.  They were all regular patrons that we had a relationship with.  He said, there isn't anyone on this list that won't understand… we don't want to do a bad show for them.  And we don't want the actors to die trying.  So he and Ann called them all personally, and we moved all their tickets and cancelled the first night.  I've never had that happen before, and neither has Rich - but if Spider Man can delay it's opening night for 6 months - I think we can cut ourselves a little slack.

DON'T WORRY.  NO MATTER WHAT, WE'LL STILL GET DOG FOOD.

 

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The cast was so happy.  They knew it wasn't a reflection of our lack of faith - they knew it was a demonstration of how hard we knew they were working and how much progress we knew they could make in another 24 hours.  

One of the most 'funny in hindsight' things was the massive debate about the carrot noses I made for Frosty the Snowman.  I was SOOOO proud of them...

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But after several life-threatening discussions with Elizabeth, I saw reason.  Especially after they did the song with them the night before we opened and they looked pretty damn stupid.  Ah well.  I still think they are pretty adorable.

And we did.  Having an extra day was amazing.  Suddenly there was a light at the end of the tunnel and there was suddenly time to actually get things comfortable for everyone.  Rich lit the show faster than ever - actually about twice the usual speed, and did a beautiful job.  We all felt so much better I asked him if he could just actually lie to me from now on and always tell me opening night was always a day earlier than in actuality!

And it was so worth it.  The opening night was great, the audiences were wonderful and the run was really enjoyable.  

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I think it was one of our strongest overall Holiday Shows, and Nate really did some beautiful arrangements.  He was so proud of everything that he even booked a flight to come visit for one day just so he could see the show on the 15th of December.  

And, a number we had worried that the audience might not even get… turned out to be the hit of show.  
Here it is for ya...

 THE BALLAD OF TONYA HARDING

The food this year was amazing.  Thanks to our new chef, Jimmy Hauser, it was one of the least stressful 'behind the scenes' shows ever for Rich and Janice.  And everything looked beautiful.

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In the middle of all the insanity one of the nice highlights for the actors was our 'food tasting' day - comfort carbs were pretty darn welcome about that time!  

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It was determined that perhaps I am irrationally passionate about sweet potatoes.  Serioulsy.  I like them sweet.  Of course, when you consider the ones my mother makes...

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…it's possible that I'm actually less passionate about sweet potatoes than I am marshmallows!  I feel they are a vegetable's best friend :)

Jimmy even made the most beautiful ice sculpture for one of the private parties… Here's his Summit Radiology logo.

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In fact the actors pretty much were inundated by food… I'm amazed the costumes still fit - I think if they hadn't been pretty hardcore dedicated to the gym we all woulda been in trouble!  There isn't much anyone can do to survive Ann Siegfriend's Cookie Party of Insanity...

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And let's not forget Rich's panda birthday cake :)

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But we all made it.  And by the end of the run we were able to celebrate that we had pulled off a Christmas miracle.  At the traditional Wings Etc closing night celebration (yah, we do it in style folks), we exchanged gifts… even though Charlie was not very keen on letting me wrap...

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The biggest hit was the onesie I found Elizabeth.  Not sure why but the cast became obsessed with onesies this Christmas.  But Elizabeth loves sharks… so I found her this...

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Nick, our stage manager, gave us the most amazing ornaments… Rich and I call each other Panda and Koala…. and, being the most talented felt artist in the world, he made these for us...

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It's pretty tough to relax around here without any weiner dogs (they are having a grand old time with the grandparents).  But Rich is managing...

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While i am still recovering from how much a Turkey costs in Bermuda...

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Of course I had a strong feeling this was gonna be a good trip when, while waiting at the Indianapolis airport I saw this insane cuteness...

WEINERS ON WHEELS.

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I know.  I know… I can't take them to Bermuda… because if I had discovered two weiner dogs headed to the island there would have been a major diva fit at the airport.  "Stop the plane…My dachshund's need frequent flier miles".

Still these dudes were pretty damn cute.

Since it's fitting to ring in the New Year, I'll leave you with a taste of our holiday left overs :)

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Happy New Year blog peeps :)

xoxo

jojo.