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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

on touring

        I gotta say, my job is fantastic; my job is difficult.  It demands all of my attention, dictates what I eat and what I do, draws on my emotions, and takes me far from home.  It is not for the faint-hearted, not for those who look back quickly or often.  It is a train that is moving, the whistle was blown months ago; and I can either be in the moment, caught up in it's great motion and how I am a part of that, or I can dig my heels in and wonder what I am doing in Denver, in Los Angeles, in San Diego, in whatever-city-I'm-in-today.  


      I am an actress on a first national tour.  I love it, love it, love it.  But somewhere along the line, it went from I have a show tonight to I am going to work tonight. Because make no mistake about it: it's work.  Work that is consuming, challenging, rewarding, and amazing--but utterly, work.  

      I have done tours where there are a fair share of one-nighters.  And yes, I have had a conversation that consisted of me speaking to someone important and business-like from home--someone of the medical, insurance, or accountant nature--and, upon being asked what city I was in at the moment (this was pertinent to whatever transaction needed to be, well, transacted), there was an awkward pause as I scrambled to remember just what the trip sheet had said...My generic hotel room at the time gave no hint as to where I might be and every second that ticked by was making me out to be a liar...Finally, I just admitted, Look, I don't honestly know where I am right now...The business lady who most certainly knew where she was and had probably never spent a day of her life not knowing, simply said, Okay...in a manner that told me it wasn't okay at all.  Sheesh.  She'd probably never been on tour.  

    Anyway, my point is that on this production contract I get to stay in a city anywhere from one week to two months.  This is nice.  This means much less awkward conversations concerning where I am presently, because I know where I am.  So far, this has meant seeing the fish soar through the air in Seattle's famous farmer's market; going to Red Rocks in Denver and singing a few notes in the space where Sting, Bono, and Stevie Nicks have sung (the only difference was a few thousand or so audience members, but whose counting?); seeing the notorious Alcatraz and biking across San Francisco's famous Golden Gate Bridge; wearing a pair of oversized sunglasses and pretending to be famous in L.A. because just about everybody else is; walking along the cliffs in La Jolla; seeing The Faint in Portland...Yes, this tour has let me see many places and people that, otherwise, I would never have seen.  

    Oh, and here's another thing about touring this show: I--along with a very talented cast and crew--have the responsibility of bringing BROADWAY to these theaters across America.  Some of these audiences may have never seen a show in New York, never seen the real deal, so to speak.  And this is what we are doing.  It's an honor.  And since we are doing A Chorus Line, which is really a show within a show (a broadway show about being in a broadway show--have I confused you yet?), we have the charge of bringing to the stage all of the energy of New York, the performer's dream, that all-or-nothing raw and desperate mentality of a person trying to make it in this business.  And we have to do this for every audience we come across, sometimes twice a day.  And 100 shows later, we have to do it with all the wonder and excitement that comes naturally when you perform it for the first time, because these audiences are seeing it for the first time.  

    So, touring is, I guess, a lot.  A lot of great things, a lot of challenges.  And I am grateful to be experiencing all of it; grateful to be bringing this show to people who might be too far to get to New York.  It's an amazing job, even when the heels are hurting my feet with a fury reserved for judgement day and I might not feel like singing One, singular sensation for the 5th time that night--well, it's still amazing.  Even then.  

    

       

5 comments:

Mom said...

What a wonderful glimpse of your life on tour! Most of us will never get to experience what that is like and it's a treat to be able to read this.

Was it easier to say goodbye to Drew when you knew you'd be back home in September?

joshUSA said...

touring is so like that...i would have to check my laminate and tell people where i was. I like your way better though, we would never have "resisdence" it was always one night only and then audi 5000 baby...

Pop said...

I'm amazed you can keep your energy and enthusiasm levels high given that you do the absolutely exactly same things every show. And so much standing still! Incredibe...

Jamie said...

You are currently in Costa Mesa, CA. I looked it up on the touring schedule for you :) I can't wait to see you in Baltimore. Is there a day of the week or a particular show time on a weekend that you like best?

Jessica Latshaw said...

mom--yes, it was actually a little easier saying good-bye because I was gonna be seeing him in less than three weeks:-)

Josh--I like my way better, too! It's nice to be able to see the city a little before moving on...

Pop--actually,the hardest part of the show for me is the standing still, because that's when my feet start really hurting!!!

Jamie--thanks for that! let's see...a week night is a great time to see the show; usually matinee audiences can be a little lamer--but, really whenever you want to come and works in your schedule will be a perfect time to see the show!!!