Saturday, June 23, 2012

Durham, NC

Monday arrival in Durham...Mexican food please!

Durham was bittersweet. I was excited to go home but sad to say goodbye to the show. Everyone kept reminding me we still had Japan, but I was still sad. I've loved playing this role and being a part of this show. Japan would be like an extra treat, one last hurrah.  Ross and I had an early press day on Wednesday. It was way too early for me but being picked up in a limo was a perk! The press lady asked us to take a mock prom photo. And then we asked to be taken to McDonald's in our limo for breakfast!

Mock prom photo: Tony and Maria finally get to go to prom!

Opening night party!
The opening night party was full of yummy food and lots of pictures. Durham was a great place to end. The audiences were fantastic and very involved in the show.  Another milestone that week was the end of the Insanity Challenge for Gizel and me. On Saturday, our last workout day, I almost cried with relief. And I was proud of us! My Mom came for the weekend to see our last shows. It was so special to do my last show in the USA with her out there watching.  I learned so much on tour about myself, as a person and a performer. This has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I'm so grateful for it coming my way.  And I'm looking forward to Part 2 in July!

You feel what?!

TV interview

Closing night party...Shark Ladies!

Insanity Challenge complete!

Mama taking over my dressing room!

In between shows with some of the girls,
stuffed from the theater BBQ

Chris Rice put together a little video gift for us.  So I leave you with the video below. See you in Japan!

Toronto, CA

At the Falls

We arrived in Toronto on May 7th and stayed there for a month. Gizel and I, as well as most of the cast, had rented apartments at The Toronto Suites. Our apartment, unlike some of the others, was older and very small. We weren't sure of it at first but we made the best of it, bought some flowers and candles and tried to make it our home. We'll laugh one day at our experiences there! LOL We were located 30 minutes from the theatre and had to take the subway every day to work. We were actually really happy about it as that made it feel more like home. We started our second month of the Insanity Challenge and set our routine of doing insanity pre show at 3:30.  Gizel's aunt came for the first week and she was a fun houseguest. And she cooked for us too!  When Chris came the second week, we four road tripped to Niagara Falls on our day off.  Dedication: doing Insanity at 11:30pm after spending the day walking around Niagara Falls!

Gizel at the Falls

Marathon press day
Ross (Tony), Alex (Anybodys) and myself had a crazy opening press day. We had a marathon day with over eight interviews to do each. Although it was a lot of questions to answer, we had fun doing it.

Toronto was a fun month of shopping, exploring and feeling like we had a home since we were there for so long. I had a lovely dresser name Jill who kept me hydrated and comfortable. It was a bittersweet month as I knew we were coming close to the end of our US tour.  Next and last USA stop was Durham, NC!

Gizel and Patrick after singing their original
arrangement of "I'll Cover You". They were wonderful!

Toronto press shot

Newark, NJ

With my Titi Marie after the show.
Newark was the most important week for me on the tour. We were there for one week beginning May 1st. I performed  for almost all of my family, friends, colleagues, the creative team of the show, my agents, voice teacher and casting friends. Some of my family came from Florida to see the show. My co-workers and old boss came from the office job I've had since I was a teenager.  It was nice to do the show while being at home. I felt like "this is almost what its like to work on Broadway and then go home after a show"!

I felt that I gave my best performances this week and I was happy knowing I was singing for the people that matter to me the most.  Since the beginning of tour I had shared my grandparent's story of when they came to New York from Puerto Rico in the 1950's. I had taped their old photos on my mirror in all my dressing rooms. My Grandpa and Grandma  are the real Bernardo and Anita to me and it was like no  other experience to share the show with them.

My friend from The Fantasticks
 Michael Nostrand came!

A photo of the curtain.

Some of my family backstage before the matinee.

The real "Sharks". My grandpa and uncles.
Giving the fam a backstage tour.

    Julia and Elaina giving me white roses post-show.

Appleton, WI

Here we were in Appleton! We were there for one week beginning April 23rd. I ate lots of Jimmy Johns in Appleton! And I was kept on my toes with two new Tonys to play opposite while Ross was on vacation. I tried to give both my Tonys as much as I could onstage and be open to the changes and different interpretations. Matthew Hydzik (who had played the role on Broadway) was brought in to do most of the week as Tony. He was very open and fun to work with! He brought a lot of energy and passion to the role and he seemed very happy to return to the show, as a little treat to himself.

I was super thrilled to get to play opposite my friend Chris Rice who had worked so hard and was so dedicated. He did a wonderful job and I was cheering him on in the wings after "Something's Coming".  I kept thinking about all of us "newbies", the second year cast, and how we now were months later, holding our own. It was lots of fun onstage since we're buddies in life! 

With Chris Rice...he went on for Tony!
With our vacation week Tony, Matthew H. 

Columbus, OH

We arrived in Columbus on April 16th and stayed for one week. Our rooms were huge and Gizel and I took advantage of our large living room to continue on our two month Insanity quest. We were exhausted but building stamina and adjusting to the six day workout routine. We had great audiences here and the theater was lovely.

Post show photo for

This was a very busy week as we had extra rehearsals for the vacation Tony coming in for Ross' vacation and for Chris Rice (one of our Tony understudies) who was going on for the role as well during the vacation. Our company manager had a poker party set up for his birthday which was lots of fun.  I pushed myself hard this week and I was tired from the extra work.  It's a lessen I've learned on tour: take care of your voice and body first, rest when you need to. Think of the whole picture of your career.

West Side Story takes over the airport!

Our travel day to our next destination was one of the longest! But the cast made the best of it and made a little party of it in the airport :) And the guys even hooked up the Xbox in the airport while we waited!

Can you tell we love to shop?

Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee was a cool, quiet city. We were there from April 9th-April 15th.  Gizel and I began the 2 month Insanity Challenge here. It was a good city to begin the videos because our hotel rooms were big. We were also learning how to eat and rest while doing the strict workout regime and the shows. My guy came to visit me for the week and we did lots of exploring and walking! We found a thrift shop in a 3 floor house that we could've spent hours in.

It was a quiet week press wise and I only had to do one video interview that was actually really fun!

                                              My interview with "A Few Minutes With..."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Philadelphia, PA

Next up was Philadelphia for weeks! I was so happy to be driving home every Monday off and seeing the people back home. I had lots visitors to the show that week too. Our director came to see the show and felt the show was in great shape. My friends Dan, Olga and her boyfriend, my good friend Matt...they all came to see the show and it made performing all the more exciting. I got a little sick, probably due to the driving and extra visitors but a little more rest made me feel better.

On the positive, Gizel, Clay, Chris and I ventured out to try the famous Philly Cheesesteaks. We were all proud of Clay for giving it a try! I went on lots of solo walks because the streets of Philadelphia are beautiful. This is also the city where I got the crazy idea that Gizel and I should start the two month Insanity workout challenge!

Hershey, PA

From Ottawa I flew home and spent time with the family and guy. I drove to Hershey and it felt great to have my car again! Independence! Hershey was surprisingly fun. We were there from March 19th- March 25th. I liked my dressing room which was cozy with windows and lots of sunlight. My dresser was very sweet and the smell of chocolate was everywhere lol. Gizel and I made a trip to Hershey's Chocolate World. We had our own personal chocolate bars made. This week was a calm relaxing week before the busy next two weeks that were to come in Philadelphia.

Ottawa, CA

We were in Ottawa, Canada March 12th-18th.  I enjoyed the french canadian culture there. We stayed at the Lord Elgin hotel which was right across the street from a mall. We went there everyday to shop and eat. We also indulged a few times in a local pastry called Beaver Tails. Basically fried dough covered in some form of sugar. My favorite was the Nutella! My energy was low in this city but I was trying to keep the moral up.
We celebrated St. Patrick's there. Because of the demands of my role I don't often go out but that night I allowed myself to have some fun with the cast. It was much needed!  Doing the show the next was definitely an experience lol.  While I enjoyed my time in Canada I was very happy to return to the states, especially because of the expensive cell phone issue. And it was great to have my internet back!  Here are some photos from that week!

Our hotel The Lord Elgin

A Canadian thing :)