Omg you guys, hi. Hello. This blogisode comes to you from high above, uh, let me look….somewhere green and farm-y…Indiana? Anyhoo, it comes to you from an American Airlines flight and while it is the “prettiest plane”, I do wish my pal Beverley Bass was flying it. Note spelling of Captain Bass’s first name. She’s got that tricky additional e tossed in there, making her name bigger than a normal Beverly, which is very Texan of her, as Texans like things big. Shout out to Sue Frost for spell checking for me. Here is a favorite photo of me and Captain Beverley Bass and Diane.
I’m currently flying back to NYC to do the show tonight after driving my daughter Charlotte to Chicago for school. That’s right. I said drive. We split in the car immediately after the matinee on Sunday and drove all the way to Youngstown, Ohio where we smuggled in her cat (That’s right, we drove with a cat), and then we slept for 5 seconds, loaded up on coffee and drove the rest of the way to Chicago yesterday (Monday). I am now on a plane back to NYC and Martha, that good egg, is driving the car back to New York. I am not the only person to do such a crazy thing on my one day off from the show, we all have to live our lives as best we can, and since theater only has one day off (generally a Monday) we have to make hay while the sun shines, as they say. Or at least look at hay as you drive cross country.
There is no better time to write about a bus trip then while on a plane, right? Oh—but before we start I want to make sure you all know how perfectly beautiful Astrid is since I posted that hilarious but not-the-most-flattering picture of her (which we will get back to, as you might remember). Here we go. Let’s all look at the lovely Astrid.
See that last picture? That is from the very first day off in the very first week of rehearsals in the very first city (La Jolla, California) where we ever performed COME FROM AWAY. I took all these beauties on a hike around Torrey Pines, and now, just as I made up to Astrid for the fish picture, well, now I am probably going to blow it again by telling you about my very favorite moment EVER with Astrid, which happened on this hike. The defining moment where I immediately knew, this Canadian is bonkers and I love her.
(Sidebar: Turbulence happening. If Astrid were here we would be holding hands)
As we hiked we all ooooed and awed and marveled at the gorgeous views of the ocean—we saw a WHALE—no joke, it was amazing and despite me hiking that paths zillion times I’d never seen one before (or since). As we came down the final path to the beach, with the ocean stretched out all around us, Astrid said, “I’ve never been in the Pacific Ocean before” and while I was expecting her to…you know…take off her shoes and wade in the surf, she instead stripped down to her bra and panties and barreled right into the waves.
In the freezing cold Pacific.
Without looking back or giving a hoot if anyone cared.
Without a towel.
Look. I was so shocked and IMPRESSED that I knew immediately, this chick is in for life. She’s my “let’s have a blast” spirit animal.
I defy you to not have fun with Astrid. It’s impossible.
Oh well now look. I’m a million words into this blog and I have not even started about the Gander trip. This is terrible. But I can’t delete all that stuff about Astrid, it’s too awesome, so you have to put up with me and my side trips from Gander. Let’s get back to it. Ready? Grab a snack. I’ll wait.
So we’re on the bus and I left you with a little cliff hanger about the band which I will sort out in a minute.
If you’ve seen the show or listened to the cast recording you already know that we spend a decent amount of time singing about what you can see from a bus window in Newfoundland (this is a good time to play “Darkness and Trees”, “On the Bus” and “Darkness and Trees Reprise” if you want to fully immerse yourself) and let me tell you—Newfoundland is dark. Seriously. Now we weren’t all scared and nervous like the characters we play (we were all either drinking, sleeping, or if you are me and Lee MacDougall, you are sitting in the back of the bus by yourself reviewing the “Concert Choreography” which seems easy but it isn’t).
Here’s a picture of me and what I was doing on the bus. Lee was right in front of me doing the same thing.
Me and Lee at the Vanity Fair shoot (just so you know who I am talking about)
Last year at the time when we were in Newfound, Pokémon Go, the game you play where you hunt down and capture little Pokémon creatures on your phone, was all the rage. Both of my kids were obsessed so I downloaded the app to see if I could capture Pokémon in Newfoundland, hoping they would have some kind of super special and rare and exotic Newfoundland creatures which I could capture and then impress the kids. I will now use a screenshot of my Pokémon Go screen to give you an idea of how deserted Newfoundland is.
As a reference:
Here is a current picture of what it looks like to play Pokémon Go (I am in my apartment in New York City, but it looks like this most everywhere you might ever open this game).
This is what Pokémon Go looks like on a bus in Newfoundland
Needless to say, when Chad Kimball says in the show “I look out the window and all I can see is trees and rocks and…nothing.” That is an accurate statement.
So to put things in perspective in the just-how-tired-we-were department, remember we’d been up since before the roosters, been on a bus to La Guardia, been through customs in Toronto, flown another 4 hours or so to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and then boarded a bus to Gander for a three and a half (or so) hour ride. Not 45 minutes, ya’ll. Three and a half hours.
As you can imagine, things started out pretty crazy with Grey Goose consumption, crazy laughing, visiting from seat to seat, and the eating of the first of what would be many sandwiches. So many sandwiches. But eventually, as the long travel day caught up with us and the giant schedule for the weekend loomed, we all settled down and slept.
After a bit there was some movement and I saw Ian Eisendrath, our music supervisor, heading towards me in the back of the bus along with August Eriksmoen, our music arranger. August was along for the trip and playing some of the guitar and mandolin book. This was a first for him and he and Ian decided to talk through things. Eventually, other musicians joined, and you guys….it turned into this…the adorable Ben Power is on the pipes. They did this for a long time, as we drove through the darkness and trees of Newfoundland and while I tell you I will take away many memories of this trip, this memory will stick with me for a long time and I had a great seat for it. Enjoy. This is the real Darkness and Trees music. https://www.dropbox.com/s/in15ax3oplkygan/Bus%20Recording%20Rolling%20Into%20Gander.%20Ben%2C%20Ian%20and%20August.m4a?dl=0
We listened to this as we rolled into Gander, checked into our motel, and were greeted by our generous and delighted producers and most importantly, the real Mayor of Gander himself, Claude Elliot. We ate and drank and fell into bed.
You’ll never guess what greeted us the next morning!
Well…..you’ll have to guess. Because this is where we are signing off!
Good stuff coming you guys.
So glad you are here with me!