Up early today. Well, earlier than in past days. Our van to the airport arrived and we bid farewell to our home for the past two weeks. Upon arrival at the airport we all dealt with the pleasures of air travel: Checking in, paying excess baggage fees, customs, security check. Once through everyone was a lot less stressed out. Brian and I had a nice breakfast/lunch. I had been starving because i hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before.
Soon we were boarded and winging our way back to Southern California. Did a lot of writing on the flight and checked out the rest of World War Z and watched most of Pacific Rim on the flight. After landing we hopped a shuttle back to where it all began, The Jim Henson lot. Goodbyes were said and I believe the general feeling was this was a really successful string of shows. Some tech bumps in the beginning, but soon it was smooth sailing. It was ALL fun.
Big thanks to our crew who do amazing things to make us look so good on stage. Juliana keeps us all on schedule, Greg gets us up and running, Brandon who got our video up and running and the local Toronto crew who kept us looking and sounding good the whole run.
Thanks to Dan Ring, our music man. Missed dancing with you as much on this tour Dan but always fun to hang out with you. Let’s compare laptops when we get them!
Big shout out to Amanda for being the besets puppet wrangler and here’s to finding a new friend! As I said before, always incredibly nice to meet someone who has that level of passion for puppetry. Thanks for all the kind words you said. Hope we meet up again soon, and I’m looking forward to seeing YOU perform sometime.
Thanks to Arnold of Westbeth Entertainment for believing in the show and always seeing to that we’re taken care of. Big thanks to Brian Henson, without whom, the show would not exist.
To my fellow puppeteer freaks, I love each and every one of you and am grateful for those laugh moments we shared…
Colleen – Our Squirrel scene will live on in the Puppet Up Hall of Fame
Ted – our pilot scene early in the run was great but you managed to pull off the most amazing puppet effect I’ve ever seen during that last Bond improv.
Peggy – Always a pleasure to be ‘out there with you.’ Loved our Flashback fun, each and every time. Never before have Kidney Stones made me laugh as hard.
Michael – Two words….List Them. Your non-sequitors during the Bedtime/Spooky story were always hilarious.
Brian – “We’ll deal with you later French Canadians” – You are an inspiring improviser to watch, so loose and free. You always kept me on my toes during the Bedtime/Spooky stories. You are a good friend. Appreciate all our talks. And thanks for introducing me to Indian Food.
Thanks to all the amazing Toronto audiences. Your suggestions, laughter and kindness will long be remembered by this Puppet Upper. I truly do hope we are back very soon.
Finally, to Patrick. Amazing director. Amazing teacher. Amazing friend. Thank you for letting Leslie Carrara-Rudolph talk you into taking a chance on me, a non-improviser, limited puppeteer, way back in 2007. These past 6 years (6 YEARS!!!) have been an incredibly journey and the most fun I’ve had….ever. Grateful for all I’ve done and hopeful there will be more/ Will gladly follow you into improv battle any day of the week.
It was an absolutely perfect trip.
Well, that’ll wrap it up for this tour. Thanks, so much, for following along with this tour diary. Feel free to stick around to see my mostly-irregular ramblings or we’ll see you back here next time there’s a tour I’m on. If you want to keep in touch with what I’m up to you can…
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Thank you, thank you, thank you and…
Woke up Saturday morning with the realization that there was only 4 shows left. End of tour blues set in hard.
I got up and did a little writing. Attempting NaNoWriMo this year. For the past couple of years I start writing and usually wind up being too busy to finish, but it always gives me a good start on something that I can work on throughout the year.
I then met up with Dan, Amanda and Brian as we were going to go get that indian food lunch special we had the other day. We walked over to the place that was supposed to be open by 1. At 1:15 they were still not open and the guy inside was ignoring our walking. We decided to take our party to the place up the street called Spring Roll. We had a delicious lunch and went back to the theatre for the first of two shows.
The Saturday Matinee crowd was just fantastic. They threw out great suggestions and the show was a total blast. We had a fun game show called Wheel of Death that was a ton of fun. One of the ‘punishments’ was death by Miley Cyrus. Ted’s interpretation of that was just way too funny.
(BREAKING BAD SPOILER BELOW)
The Alien Barbershop suggestion was Breaking Bad. My rhyme was:
Oh Walter White
Jessie was his friend
He got cancer and cooked meth
And he died in the end
Then my alien just started saying, “Spoiler Alert, Spoiler Alert!” That got a big laugh.
A really fun matinee show and a great time meeting folks in the lobby especially, superfan, Randall who is already leading the charge to get us back in Toronto! Go, Randall, Go!
Between shows, Michael, Dan and I wound up at the Indian food place which was now open for a quick meal then it was back over to the theatre for our second show.
I want to take a moment to talk about the two women on this tour, Colleen and Peggy. Colleen is just an amazing improviser. She’s so relaxed and incredibly smart. She has an ease in her improvs where she’ll just drop a hilarious little line that will just KILL. Tonight in the audience participation bit, the audience puppeteer was sort of standing crooked, with the puppets head to one side and the audience was just rolling and Colleen just bides her time and says, “Tony, is your neck broke.” Probably not that hilarious in print, but it just tore the house down and I was laughing uncontrollably in the chair. So lucky I get to perform with her. Our ‘New Choice’ scenes have been a lot of fun.
Peggy is just so much fun to be on the road with and perform with. Out of the whole class I’ve known her and Brian for the longest (excepting Patrick) and Peggy and I started in Puppet Up, roughly, about the same time. She is always so funny and there are so many memorable moments with Peggy on stage. Tonight during our ‘Flashback’ scene I just found myself smiling from ear to ear at her ‘passing her kidney stones’ screaming. I was in the scene but just laughing right along with the audience. At that moment I thought to myself, “This is the most fun job in the world.” It really is.
The crowd for the evening show was just as crazy and into it as the matinee crowd. The Alien Barbershop suggestion was YouTube.
I love YouTube
Best entertainment around
Nothing but hours of videos
Of people falling down.
Got an okay laugh. Not the strongest rhyme. But it did okay. The rest of the show was fun with, of course, a lot more Mayor Ford references that the audiences just love. Well most of them anyway.
After the show we hung out at one of the nearby pubs and just chilled. I’m really going to miss this once it’s over.
Now, to bed! Two more shows tomorrow! Gonna make them count!
Ah the life of a big time puppeteer on the road. Today I got to do what, I’m sure, you’re all imagining we do on our downtime…laundry. Yes, today was laundry day. The excitement never ends.
It continued my love affair with Canadian Money. It is funny to me that Canadian Money is so different from american money. Our money seems dull and boring while Canadian money reminds of money you’d see in a sci-fi film as currency from an alien world. “I’ll pay you 15 Klurbuts for that.” and then you hand over a few slips of plastic covered paper. When we’ve gone out to eat, I often feel bad leaving Canadian money just because I feel like it’s not really paying. Of course it is, but I get the feeling I’m dining and dashing and just leaving colored slips of paper behind.
Anyway, this morning I’m at the front desk with two golden coins asking for dollar coins because, obviously they are gold so they much be two dollar coins and the desk clerk is looking at me like I’m an idiot. Of course, the golden coins are dollar coins. Duh.
At any rate, laundry was done.
The cast has discovered Kinder Eggs. We don’t have them in the states, presumably because our kids are stupid and would try to eat the toys. We’ve been enjoying the eggs and the toys inside backstage.
Today was our final show before a day off and it was a Sunday matinee. The audience was fantastic and the suggestions were great. Patrick also mixed up the casting a bit so we were all thrown into scenes we aren’t normally in and I think that helped make for a great show.
Michael and I got to start the show with a scene about a colonoscopy. Can’t get much better than that. Some great scenes in today’s show and it was cool knowing there were some friends in the crowd too! Brian K. and Ceris, both huge muppet fans, were there and it was great talking to them after the show.
Alien Barbershop was an odd one. Just a completely different type of suggestion than we normally have. The suggestion was: Training Fleas. So my rhyme was:
Oh, training fleas,
Is a tough road to hoe.
If a dog comes by,
He’ll steal the show.
It got an okay laugh for such a corny old joke. Other fun bits today featured a fantastic date scene, an amazing audience participation bit and a great round of play and understudies.
After the show, I cleared out my stuff from our dressing room so I could do more laundry (huzzah) and because we wouldn’t have access to the backstage until Tuesday night before our next show.
After getting back to the hotel, Dan and I went to a all you can eat Indian food buffet. Yeah, I may have been bitten by that bug. Don’t mind so much. It’s good. Should have tried it sooner.
After that it was home to retire to bed early because tomorrow we’re off to Niagara Falls. Look for fun pictures from that.
For not I’ll leave you with this picture of the Walk symbol from the Canadian crossing lights. To me he just looks like a really happy guy who’s excited to be going wherever he’s off to.
Friday morning, April 19, began relatively early as we were headed to the airport to head back to Los Angeles. It’s always a little bittersweet on the mornings after a tour because after so many days of traveling together, we start splitting up one by one. Brian got himself a rental car to head back to Orlando and go to Animal Kingdom (yeah, he’s a jerk like that), Tyler was staying in Florida to visit family, Greg, our production head, was headed back to New York, Sean Johnson was headed to San Francisco to meet his family and our awesome tour manager Julianna was staying an extra day to make sure the puppets got to where they needed to go. So, early in the morning we had to began to say goodbye. Luckily Patrick, Cameron (our lighting guy), Peggy and Dan were all still traveling together so there was still some remnants of the tour.
I will tell you this, this tour was filled with nothing but laughs. Nothing. There were no arguments, no fights, just laughs. Even during the tough times (the cataract bus, the Austin hotel, tech issues) we were all still always laughing. The perfect example was the emergence of Ed Wynn impersonations during the seven and a half hour bus ride to Hamilton, Montana. There were so many memorable funny moments on the tour. Even on the way home yesterday we had a layover in the Atlanta airport and just sitting waiting for the next plane there were several, laugh out loud, wipe away a tear moments.
Take this for example, on the plane flight back to Los Angeles, Cameron and Patrick sat next to each other and I sat across the aisle from them. Patrick gets a sandwich on the plane and, for no reason, using the paper from the sandwich and the labels that held it together created a partition to keep Cameron off his side of the row. Hilarious. Well, it was to us. Perhaps we’re just punch drunk from all the travel.
Once we landed in Los Angeles, it was a short shuttle ride to the Henson Company Lot. Even THAT ride was filled with laugher. It’s just a great group of people.Soon after we were all off on our separate ways.
This was a really fun tour. I had a simply amazing time. I got to swap into HDPS and I’Ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face, two things I love and always want to do more of. I got to lead the Alien Barbershop all eleven shows. I had so many funny scenes with ALL the members of the cast. Allan and I did a great slide show. Ted and I did a great Narrated Story. Peggy and I had a memorable New Choice scene. Sean and I graduated to recreations together with Face. Tyler and I did uproarious Bunny Talent show bits together and I loved playing his body when he did HDPS. Brian and I did a hilarious spot scene where the suggestion was ‘Deliverance.’ As in the film. I love working with every single one of these performers and would jump at the chance to do it again.
Let’s not forget Patrick, our fearless leader and my improv mentor. He’s incredibly important to me and, still to this day, I learn new things from him. I will forever be grateful to his time and teachings. He’s the best.
Julianna, our tireless tour manager. Den mother. She’s incredible. She gets us to where we need to be and tackles any problem head on. So grateful for all her work. The success of this tour is as much a result of her work as it is our. Perhaps even more.
Greg, our Production Manager, and Cameron our lighting guy. These guys are the best. They’ve seen every show and if they come up to you and say something worked, you can take it to the bank that it did. We’d be nowhere without them. And to ‘Bobo,’ our newbie tech guy. He fit right in with our insanity and we were so glad to have him along.
I love the facts for this tour that Cameron put together…
We travelled through all four time zones.
We played in seven different states.
We played in places where it was snowing, raining and pushing 90 degrees.
We logged over 8,200 miles.
We did eleven shows.
All of this in 16 days.
It could have gone ten more.
Thanks for following a long on this journey. It was fun to bring it all to you. Here’s hoping there’s more in the future and I can continue. For now I’ll just be dropping back to my regular Wednesday Words posts for the time being. Thanks again!