Tag Archives: Colorado

The Most Beautiful Thing In The World

29 Feb

Tonight has been a night, friends, and it’s got me in an emotional frenzy.

For the first time since I left the tour, I caught up with my Kinky Boots family (or at least what’s left of it) at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando for their closing night performance before they head off to Fort Lauderdale.

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Friends, I was not prepared for the whirlwind of feelings that would come over me seeing the show as an audience member. I first headed backstage at the recommendation of the Company Manager to help say “Happy Trails” to one of our original tour cast members, Ricky Schroeder (not that Ricky Schroder). Because I was always out in the front lobby selling merchandise, this was the first time I’d ever actually been backstage for a Happy Trails (with the exception of my own Happy Trails for Evita), and even though I’ve been away from the show for over a year, I was so moved to hear everyone singing Ricky off just before his last show.

I was able to see a few of my old tour mates backstage before I had to head out to my seat, including two of my dearest friends from the show, J. Harrison and Patty, and, of course, Ricky. While I was thrilled to see them, it was a little bittersweet that I was only got a few minutes with them before they’re off to another town. Because of our schedules, I just wasn’t able to see them at all while they were here this week and somehow 5 minutes tonight didn’t seem like enough time. But I knew that was the best I could get, so I was somewhat prepared for that and had come to accept it.

What I wasn’t prepared for, though, were the feelings I had being backstage in a theatre again with those folks, getting hugs from people I haven’t seen in a very long time and feeling as if absolutely no time had passed. People were hugging me, asking me how I’ve been, how I’m liking Orlando…and for some reason, that surprised me. Yes, I’d been on the road with these people for several months, but for some reason, I was shocked that they would actually remember me for some reason. I know that sounds absurd, but the fear of being forgotten or feeling insignificant is something I think I’ve always struggled with, and tonight it reared its ugly head.

In the time it took me to walk from the stage door to my seat inside the theatre, a lot of feelings started to come up and a lot of memories came flooding back. And surprisingly, none of them were bad memories, despite what you may have inferred from all of my previous posts. I didn’t immediately think of the stupid questions and irritating customers and endless double show days with no breaks – my thoughts went to the trip that some of us made to somewhere in the woods in Washington, just outside of Seattle, or when some of us took a road trip to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, or when J. and Patty would come and hang out at my booth during the show when they were still swings and I became incredibly nostalgic.

I was only with the Kinky Boots tour for four months, but I just realized tonight that in that short time, I had become part of a family that I am so proud to be a part of, and I was welcomed back as if no time had passed.

When the show started, I sat back and thought to myself, “I think this is the first time I’ve seen the show all the way through since I saw it on Broadway three years ago!” And then my friend Joe, who plays Don, walked out onstage and started his pre-show scene reminding patrons to turn off their phones and I started to get choked up. But it wasn’t until J. and the Angels (including the last two original Angels, Juan and Ricky) came out for “Land of Lola” that I lost it. The song is fun and upbeat and I was sitting there weeping. I was so, so proud of J. and Juan and Ricky, but especially J., who started out as a swing and literally never set foot on a stage for the first 3 months we were on the road and has since moved up to brilliantly playing the lead in the show. Patty, too…she moved up from a swing to playing Pat every night, and she’s wonderful, as well. (A swing, for those who don’t know, is someone who fills in the gaps when an understudy has to go on, which is a grossly understated description of what they actually do…it is probably the hardest job in theatre).

I was proud of them all. Even the new cast members that I didn’t know, but especially my friends, and seeing J. shine onstage just moved me so much because honestly, no one on earth deserves this kind of success more than J. does. He is one of the kindest, sweetest, funniest people I’ve ever met and he’s stupidly talented to boot. His heart is so genuine and he has high expectations of people, which I appreciate, and all of that heart comes across in his performance as Lola. He is joy personified and I love him dearly.

It was strange, though, to see the show with a new cast. As wonderful as the new cast is, I missed the faces, voices, timing and nuances of the people that I heard and sometimes saw in the time that I was with the show. And suddenly I started to miss everyone terribly. I especially miss our nights gathering in someone’s hotel room to watch American Horror Story. I miss opening night parties. I miss being part of that family.

During the bows, I was of course one of the first people on my feet, and I was a mess. Tears streaming down my face and my heart full of love, and then I saw Ricky’s face and he was going through his own breakdown as the cast gave him a special bow for his closing show. Kinky Boots won’t be the same without him and I believe that, like the rest of us who’ve left the show, he won’t ever be the same because of Kinky Boots.

I went to the stage door again after the show to give out a few more hugs and catch the people I hadn’t been able to see backstage earlier, and I was able to chat with Ricky just a little more before he headed back to his hotel. We talked about Orlando and what it was like to work down here and how things at Disney were and auditions and that kind of thing and then he said something that I just loved. He told me that when people ask him what his favorite memory of the tour was, he tells them it was our little group trip to the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. The “Murder House” trip, so called because we also stopped in Boulder on the way to see the Jon Benet Ramsey murder house on our way to Estes Park. We all sat in our ZipCar outside the house and chanted, “MUR-DER HOUSE! MUR-DER HOUSE!” while we listened to the most epic 90’s playlist I’ve ever concocted. We’re weirdos. Now, I know that Ricky has a billion amazing memories of this tour to take with him, but that he even considers that trip to be one of the highlights makes me so happy, and it makes me miss the camaraderie that comes as part of being on the road together.

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What I didn’t get to tell Ricky is that he is also one of the highlights of my time with Kinky Boots. As I’ve written before, my grandmother died only three weeks into the tour and I wasn’t able to go home for her funeral. The entire company was so kind to me – Joe Coots came up to me at the opening night party in Tempe the night she died and gave me a huge bear hug and then introduced himself to me, because he’s that kind of guy – but one of the many acts of kindness that still stands out to me during that time was Ricky posting something on Facebook about seeing a movie that Friday – the day that Granny was being buried – and allowing me to invite myself along to keep my mind off not being at home. I hadn’t actually met Ricky in person yet – I’d seen him backstage briefly – but it wasn’t until we went to the movies that I actually met him and he welcomed me as if we’d known each other for weeks. Because that’s the kind of person he is. Whether he realized it or not, he helped me get through that awful day, and I’ll never forget that. I’ve never seen Ricky without a smile on his face, I’ve never heard him say a bad thing about anyone, and I’ve never seen anyone work quite as hard and consistently as he does onstage. He’s a good egg and I can’t wait to see what wonderful things await him when he gets home to New York. And I’m so glad I could be there to see his last show.

The ride home tonight was a long one because there were a lot of things going through my mind, remembering some of the wonderful times we had and thinking, strangely, that I kind of miss being on the road and wishing that I was in New York again so I could audition more. Anyone who knew me on the road, including the Kinky Boots gang, would know that this is the complete opposite of what I wanted when I was actually on the road, and I know well enough that even if I did go back out on the road, it wouldn’t be the same. But I wonder, is that chapter of my life completely done? I don’t know… I just don’t know anymore.

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Zoobilee Zoo…And My New Nikon, Too!

22 Jan

Today I headed out with my new Nikon D3200 camera and spent the day at the Denver Zoo – one of my favorite zoos I’ve visited in the country. I figured I should take the opportunity to spend some time in the sunshine before we head off to Minneapolis next week.

I’m so excited to have this new camera – it allows me to do so much more than I could before. Here are a handful of the shots I took today.

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Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy

16 Jan
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A reflective puddle in Portland, Oregon

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I was so excited to see clear skies that I had to take this photo of the sunset at Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado

Greetings from sunny Denver, Colorado! It’s such a relief to finally be here after spending the last two weeks in absolute gloom and rain in Seattle and Portland. I know I listed both of them as two of my top 10 cities that I’ve visited, but I may have changed my mind after experiencing real Portland weather. It rained every single day we were there – every day – and there was more than one day when I couldn’t even see more than 10 feet in front of my face because of the fog and mist. It was gross. Seasonally affected people do not fare well in cities like Portland and Seattle, though it was absolutely beautiful when we were there in the spring. Regardless of the weather, I was very glad to get to see my dear friend Colleen. She let me stay in her apartment and took me to some delicious restaurants and I finally got to hear her sing with one of the Irish bands that she sings with. You should buy her CDs because she’s wonderful. Still, as wonderful as it was to see her, after only two weeks of that kind of weather, I was certainly glad to get to Denver where they claim that the sun actually shines 300 days a year. I absolutely love it here.

I’m very lucky because for the next week and a half I’m staying with more friends – this time my friend Adam and his wife. Adam and I went to graduate school together. We did Sweeney Todd together and I sang with him in his junior recital. After he graduated, he went back to OCU and got a law degree and I’m pleased to say that he’s established his own firm here in Denver and is doing very well for himself. And he and his wife are expecting a baby! That’s something to celebrate. They have been so kind to let me stay in their spare bedroom and Adam has even let me borrow their car to go run errands. And I get to hang out with their dog. I’ve been able to cook and they have laundry in their apartment – not in the building, but actually in the apartment like real people. Maybe only New Yorkers will really appreciate how amazing that is, but it’s a big deal. (For the record, Colleen also has her own washer and dryer).

One of the things I really love about downtown Denver is the easy accessibility to things thanks to the free 16th Street Mall Shuttle. Today I visited a Concentra Urgent Care Center to have my eyes looked at (by a very cute Physician’s Assistant, might I add). Since I was in Memphis with Flashdance in September, my eyelids have been red and itchy with dry, flaky patches. At first I thought it was an allergic reaction to the shampoo I was using in the hotel, so I switched shampoos to something familiar. Then I thought maybe it was the laundry detergent they were using on the pillowcases. Or the weather. Or the pollen. Or it was eczema or psoriasis or herpes (I get cold sores). I took allergy medicine. I used hydrocortisone cream, moisturizer and Neosporin – none of which is good to use on your eyelids because the skin is so thin it will absorb and irritate your eyes). I switched shampoos, soaps, detergents, lotions – everything I could think of. Until now I haven’t had a chance to get them looked at, really, but since there was a Concentra nearby, I went. Apparently I have something called blepharitis, which is essentially an inflammation of the eyelids that they think is the result of the oil glands around the eyelash follicles getting clogged. One of the treatments is to gently wash my eyelids with a solution of warm water and Johnson & Johnson’s “No More Tears” baby shampoo. Weird, right? The P.A. also prescribed a cream to put on my lids to hopefully help with the flakiness and redness and itching. We’ll see how it works out. I’m also supposed to do a warm compress on my eyes for 10-20 minutes a day to get the oils in the glands moving so the follicles won’t get clogged again. I ordered these on Amazon tonight. I look forward to using them to see if they do any good. Other than the itching, my blepharitis isn’t bothersome, but it’s embarrassing more than anything else. I feel very self conscious about it – especially when I’m dealing with the public, which I do every night. I hope this regiment of treatments will help.

In totally unrelated news, today I received an offer from LivingSocial for a 7-day trip, including the round trip flights, to Tokyo for $1699 and, for the first time in my life, I could actually afford to go! I’ve never been in a position to be able to afford a vacation, let alone one on the other side of the globe. I’m torn, though. Should I fulfill my dream of going back to Tokyo or should I save the money for my move to San Diego? I mean, I’ve been wanting to go back from the second I left, and this is a really good deal. The package includes round trip flights from L.A., five nights at the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku, which is just around the corner from the hotel we stayed in in 2011, so I know the neighborhood very well. A guided tour of Tokyo is also included. Should I do it? I have a couple of week-long layoffs coming up in the next few months, so I have the time and, honestly, I don’t know that I’ll ever find a deal that’s any cheaper than this. But I am planning on moving and I’ll need a nest egg… Even if I bought the trip, I’d still have way more money left in the bank than I had last year. I’m so torn! What should I do, readers? I have 12 days to make a decision. What do you think? What do I do?!

Let Us In! Let Us In! (Let Us OUT! Let Us OUT!)

26 Aug

You can never predict what will happen on the road. Today, for example…I went out…I took a nice walk…I visited a museum…I got locked out of my hotel room for nearly two hours.

My original plan for today was to rent a car and drive to the Garden of the Gods, but I slept in a little later than I planned and, honestly, I wanted to save some money. When I arrived in Denver two weeks ago there were free passes to the History Colorado Center on the call board backstage, so I grabbed one, and I decided to use it today. I took a lovely mile-long walk to the museum, stopping a couple of times to take some photos of things that I found to be interesting or beautiful and then spent a good two hours walking around checking out the exhibits. There were some very interesting exhibits there and I very much recommend a visit there if you have the opportunity. There was one exhibit in particular that I found to be very disturbing regarding the Granada War Relocation Center, also known as “Camp Amache” in southeast Colorado. It was one of the many Japanese-American internment camps our government sanctioned after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II. I had heard of such places, but I honestly don’t remember ever being taught about these concentration camps on our country’s soil. Because I don’t know much about the subject, I’m going to refrain from writing further about it until I’ve had an opportunity to do some more research. But I do plan to write more about it.

Anyway. After the museum, I headed back to the 16th Street Mall, where I grabbed some lunch and stopped by RiteAid for some toiletries and then walked back to the hotel. I was hot and tired – it was about 94° out today – and my stomach was full, which was making me sleepy. I just wanted to go back to my room, change clothes and take a nap. After all, that’s what days off are for…right?

I got to the hotel around 2:00 and headed straight to my room on the 14th floor. I swiped my electronic key and…nothing. No beeps, no lights, no clicks…just nothing. So after a long wait for an elevator, I headed back down to the front lobby to have them reactivate my key. The front desk receptionist told me to try it again and if the key didn’t work this time to just call down to the front desk using the courtesy phone near the elevator bank so I wouldn’t have to come back down again. When the newly reactivated key didn’t work, that’s just what I did.

“Thank you for calling the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver. This is ____________. How may I help you?”
“Hi. This is Jason Bratton. I’m staying in room 1420…I was just down there about my key not working. The reactivated key isn’t working, either.”
“Ok. I’ll send an engineer up to room 1422 to take a look at it.”
“No…no, I’m in 1420…not 1422.”
“Ok. 1420. And you are Mr. Braxton?”
“No. Bratton. B-R-A-T-T-O-N.”
“Ok, Mr. Braxton. I’ll have someone come up in a moment.”

An engineer finally came up about 5 minutes after I hung up the phone. He probably had to wait forever for the elevator, too. He swiped his key and nothing happened. He told me the battery in the lock unit was dead and then hemmed and hawed about how he hates when this happens.

“It looks like you’ve got a problem,” he said.
“Actually, I think it’s the hotel that’s got a problem,” I responded.
“Well, all your stuff is in there, so it is your problem.”

He had a point.

He told me he’d need to go get a second engineer to help him get the door open so they could change the battery. He told me he’d be back in 5-10 minutes and that I could come down to the front lobby lounge to wait. I really didn’t feel like going back downstairs, so I declined and chose to wait it out in the hallway. I could wait 10 minutes. No big deal.

Fifteen minutes later I was still waiting for him to return with his buddy. I stopped a housekeeper and asked her if she could give me a roll of toilet paper because I was out and then I explained that I was waiting to get back into my room. She correctly assessed that the battery was dead in the lock and told me that it shouldn’t take very long once the engineers got back to get inside and fix it. She was wrong.

I’m not sure why it took so long for them to return to my room – all they came back with was a battery and a contraption that looked like a cross between a plumber’s snake and one of those nooses they use to capture rogue alligators in Floridian’s backyard pools. I quickly surmised that the idea was to slide the contraption under the door, hook the door knob with the noose and then pull so the handle would come down and the door would open. Easy, right? Apparently not. After about 15, maybe 20, attempts, the guy operating the contraption said, “Maybe we need tape.” The other guy, who had been standing at the door saying things like, “It sounds like you got it! OH! You had it, man! You had it!,” agreed and headed back down to the basement to get some duct tape. In the meantime, the guy with the noose continued over and over and over to get the door open. Didn’t Einstein say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? I think he was proven right today.

Finally the second engineer came back with a roll of tape. They covered the noose with the duct tape, I guess with the idea that the tacky tape would help them grab onto the door handle. After 10 or 15 attempts using nearly a half a roll of tape, they started talking about getting out the drill. All the while, I’m sitting in the hallway floor as hotel guests walk past, and then eventually my housekeeper friend reappeared in the hallway.

“Are you still not in your room? It’s been at least half an hour since I saw you last!”
“Actually, it’s been an hour,” I thought, but I just forced a smile and shrugged my shoulders as the two men to my left wrestled to get my door open.

Ninety minutes after arriving back at the hotel, they finally got my door open. My housekeeper friend, who had disappeared briefly, returned with two $10 vouchers for the restaurant downstairs and a free bottle of water. “I thought you might like this for your trouble,” she said. Had that been the end of it, that might have sufficed, but it took another half an hour for them to replace the battery and then reset the lock, so I awkwardly meandered around my room, cleaning up since I haven’t had my room cleaned since I got here.

“How long are you staying with us?,” the first engineer asked.
“I’m here 20 days in total. I’ve already been here for two weeks. That’s why my room looks like it exploded.”
Twenty days!?! Phew! That’s a long time,” he replied.
“Yeah. Today was my day off.”
“What a way to spend it, huh? Locked out of your room.”
“Yeah. Not exactly what I had planned…”

I know things happen on the road that you can’t plan for, but…shouldn’t hotels have back-up plans for this sort of thing that don’t involve a wire hanger and duct tape? If your hotel is equipped with electronic key systems, shouldn’t someone have come up with a plan to get into a room should there be a battery or power failure? Do they not train for things like that should there be an emergency situation? Thank goodness I didn’t have anywhere to be today, like work or the airport. That would have been a nightmare!

Hilton HHonors (can anyone explain the second H?) tweeted that they would make the hotel management aware of the situation, so I’m hoping they’ll see fit to give me some additional Hilton points or something. I’m not usually one to feel entitled to free stuff when things like this happen, but it was an inconvenience and really, they should have been able to get me into my room much faster than they did. We’ll see what happens. My friend Chris said the same thing happened to him once and the hotel comped his entire week. I’m not expecting that, though I wouldn’t be opposed to it, either. I mean, really…at this point I might be assuaged if they just offered to do my laundry for me so I don’t have to tomorrow!

What are your travel headache stories? Hotels…airlines…busses…taxis…cruise ships…whatever. I’d love to hear them!

As Yer Ship Breaks To Bits, From Yer Deck, For A Sec, You Can See My Lovely…

15 Aug

Greetings from the front lobby of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, Colorado, where the first national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher is playing its first preview. The last two days have been crazy for me. I can’t even begin to imagine how crazy it’s been for everyone on and backstage.

The marquee for the national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher outside the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, CO.

The marquee for the national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher outside the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, CO.

After arriving in Denver on Tuesday, I checked into the hotel, got some lunch and headed to the theatre to start loading in this show. Having worked the show on Broadway, I knew there was a lot of merchandise to count in and fold and I really just wanted to get as much of it done as early on as I could. No need for additional stress when it can be avoided…right? Upon arrival backstage, everything seemed to be going swimmingly – the merchandise had been delivered, the booth was here (one of my biggest fears was that it wouldn’t show up) and my storage hamper was here, too. I was chomping at the bit to get to work, but the cast and crew were in the middle of tech rehearsal, which meant everyone was busy and tired, including the people I needed to help me. I ended up sitting around for three hours waiting to get my booth rolled out to the lobby to get started, only to find out that four of the wheels had broken off of it, making it unmovable. I was told they could fix it, but probably not until today. Now…I had two and half days built in for load in and set up, which is a day longer than we had for Flashdance, but I am here alone this time. I had two people in Pittsburgh helping me load in, fold and display Flashdance.

After sitting around for so long, I decided to take matters into my own hands, which may or may not have violated some union rules, but they were on their dinner break and I couldn’t wait any longer. I emptied out the broken booth, counting inventory as I went, and transferred everything into the empty hamper, which I then rolled out into the lobby myself. I also moved all the boxes of merchandise out front so that I could have as much of my stuff in one place as possible. My plan for Wednesday was to set up the display grid that would be behind the booth, count the merchandise, fold and box up the shirts, dress the mannequins and call it day. Well, luckily the amazing props and carpentry crew for this show took the initiative and put my booth on dollies as a sort of temporary fix so that it would be functional. Hallelujah!! These folks deserve a free hat at very least! They’ve even offered to paint the booth to make it match the set! Amazing. Anyway, when I came in yesterday I was able to get them to roll the booth out front and I set to work. After eight non-stop hours, I had done all I could do, so I packed up and went to dinner.

The booth just before house opened tonight for the first preview of the national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher in Denver, CO.

The booth just before house opened tonight for the first preview of the national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher in Denver, CO.

I don’t know if it’s the thin air or if it was the exhaustion and lack of food, but I felt so weak and tired on my way to dinner last night that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it the four blocks to the restaurant. I’ve not really had any issues with the thin air so far as I can tell, but I do notice that I’m a little more out of breath than usual if I walk at my normal New York pace. I’ve also been sleeping a lot more than usual. In any case, I found a wonderful little cafe that happens to be celebrating their 15th anniversary this month, so they have slashed the prices on their dinner specials. I got half of a roasted chicken with haricots verts and mashed potatoes for $10.99. Seriously?!? It was such a deal that I decided to treat myself in honor of my Mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!) that I also had the crème brûlée, which is one of my very favorite desserts. I will definitely be returning to the Rialto Café to try the other specials. The $8.99 chicken pot pie sounds delicious, and it’s right within my price range.

My delicious crème brûlée from Rialto Café in Denver, CO.

My delicious crème brûlée from Rialto Café in Denver, CO.

I’m also very excited to be in Denver because, as I found with Flashdance, I know several people here! A couple of my friends from grad school live here now and a young woman I used to work with in New York has relocated here, as well. The What A Feeling! 2013 Reunion Tour continues…only with a little Starstuff mixed in for good measure.

It sounds like Act One is about to come to an end. And away we go!!

The amazing Rocky Mountain sunset on my first night in town as seen from my hotel room in Denver, CO.

The amazing Rocky Mountain sunset on my first night in town as seen from my hotel room in Denver, CO.

Rocky Mountain Hi!

12 Aug

So I’m completely failing at the daily posts. The last couple of days have been simply fraught with important things to do. Mostly napping and watching “Shakespeare in Love” (why is Showtime showing it every night? And why can’t I not watch it?). We’ve now caught three – yes, THREE – mice. Two of them in my very own room, which sort of makes my skin crawl, but it’s better than roaches any day. I’ve done a bit of shopping, I’ve done some laundry, I’ve done some cooking and I’ve done some packing and purging. Yes, friends…it’s time to hit the road again.

It’s been a month since I said my farewells to Flashdance in Kansas City and tomorrow I fly to Denver, Colorado, to start the load-in and set up for the national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher, which will start previews on Thursday. I really can’t believe that it’s been four weeks, but I must confess that I’m ready to get back out on the road. I actually miss tour life. I’m excited to go to Denver for the first time and to have two weeks there is just a bonus.

I must admit, however, that I am slightly anxious about loading in this show. My boss won’t arrive in Denver until early next week, so it’s up to me to set up the booth and display it out, or make it look pretty. I’m not terribly nervous about the actual set up – I know there will be a lot of folding of shirts and counting inventory. My main worry is that not everything will be at the theatre waiting for me. I have a tendency to worry and play out scenarios in my head – I suppose I’m preparing for the worst – and the scenarios playing out in my head now are doozies. What if the booth doesn’t show up? Or the display grids? What if I don’t have the supplies I need? At least I have two full days to get everything set up and ready to go, just in case there are problems.

I’m also anxious about joining another company full of people that I don’t know. I may be an oversharer in this blog, but in real life, I am painfully shy when it comes to meeting strangers. When I went to Pittsburgh to load in Flashdance, I had my boss and the Creative Director of our company there with me to make introductions and to guide me in building the display as well as folding all the shirts that had to go into the booth. It took three of us a day and a half to get it all done and it was nice to have the company. I’ll only be with Peter for two weeks, so I know I won’t really have time to make friends with anyone, and as long as I go in knowing that, I should be alright. I’ll simply find things to do on my own.

Arriving in a new city has become old hat for me in the last 7 months, but I have always arrived in new places with a full company of people l know, or I’ve known someone who lives in whatever city we’re playing. Or both. Denver is a complete unknown for me. I don’t think I know anyone who lives there – at least not anymore – and I will know absolutely no one connected with the show when I get there. I don’t know why that makes me nervous – I do very well on my own – but it does. Still, I’m excited to go somewhere new with a new show. It should be fun. I hope.

On a different note, I’m excited to see that my blog is being read all over the world in countries that I never dreamed it’d reach. This week alone, it’s been read in Spain, Italy, Malaysia, Japan, Canada and Australia and since I’ve been writing, it’s also been read in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand, France and Switzerland. Wow!! When I started writing this, I had no idea if anyone would read it, and while I’m still not hitting numbers in the thousands (or, let’s face it, in the 100’s) on a weekly basis, I am still quite humbled by the number of people who do read it. Especially people I don’t know in countries I’ve never visited. So…to all the readers out there around the world who might read this: ¡Hola y muchas gracias! こんにちはとどうもありがとうございました ! Ta very much! Salut et merci beaucoup! Ciao e grazie mille! Hallo und vielen Dank! Hi en baie dankie! Merhaba ve çok teşekkür ederim! مرحبا وشكرا جزيلا لك!

And many thanks to all of you here in the States who are reading along, as well. It means a lot to me. See you in Denver!