On the road again
I’m writing this at a friend’s apartment—in a darkened room, while my daughter Nicole sleeps by my side. We’re in Miami enjoying some quiet time before work begins anew.
The weather has been nothing short of perfect, and from the apartment’s balcony we are able to see much of the ocean.
This trip started with a show, and what a show it was.
Stop one was Dallas, Texas, for “Do You Hear the People Sing,” a concert that celebrates the music and lyrics of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, creators of “Les Misérables” and “Miss Saigon.” We performed this show with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (under the baton of Maestro Jack Everly) only a few months ago, so getting back into the swing of things was not at all difficult.
We performed at the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks (basketball) and the Dallas Stars (ice hockey). The venue seats around 17,000 people at capacity, but because of the stage orientation and the type of concert show we were doing, a lot of the seats were “killed.” That said the audience seemed to fill the place right up to the nosebleed section.
Rehearsals had taken place at Woodrow Wilson High School just outside the city center. Our conductor, Kevin Stites, (with whom I had worked on “Les Miz” on Broadway in 2007) spent two days with all of us—Terrence Mann, Stephanie J. Block, Peter Lockyer, Marie Zamora, myself, and a new addition to the performers’ lineup, Brian Stokes Mitchell.
We tightened group numbers (especially those that Stokes would be in), reviewed a few old songs, and ran through spiels. Nicole, who was with me, was given permission to “participate” by performing an interpretative dance while some numbers were sung.
Show day was very exciting. When we arrived, the seats on the arena floor hadn’t been placed yet. Neither was the orchestra fully set up.
Our microphones worked though, so we used the time to run through our cues, one right after another without singing (it was early, and we weren’t caffeinated yet). A few caramel and black tea lattes, as well as some coffee later, it was time for an actual run-through with the Dallas Pops Orchestra. That went very smoothly. (The show was wonderful, as a few clips on YouTube will prove.)
Afterwards, it was time to see my family—first cousins Vernon Dye and Maria Ruwaldt, along with Maria’s husband Gary and their children Samantha and Brian, plus other guests, were at the hotel bar. It was great catching up.
Next morning Nicole and I headed off to Miami.
Tomorrow we’re off to Boca Raton, where rehearsals for concerts with the Palm Beach Pops begin. The shows run today (March 29) until April 3. I will be singing with David Burnham.
I am thankful that before leaving on this trip I was invigorated by having seen some amazing local shows—Repertory Philippines’ “Jekyll & Hyde” and Atlantis Productions’ “In the Heights” with the show’s creator, Tony Award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I was also in the special concert, “The Legends and The Classics.” My reserves are now full, as is my heart.
Right now as I lie in bed with my daughter by my side, I feel incredibly blessed.
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