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The Great Ivy + Bean Tour, Week One: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania

We arrived in Massachusetts a little tardy to the party.

We began our adventure on a day that the weather was out to get just about everyone. I left my apartment and walked to the subway in freezing rain, which had produced just enough black ice on the sidewalks that I was walking at about half my normal speed to avoid wiping out. My castmate Jake and our technical director Dylan weren't so lucky. Hang in there, loves.

It took us about two hours to actually leave the state of New York. We inched our way out of the Bronx, crossing our fingers that we and the other cars and trucks around us weren't going to fishtail on the ice covering the roads once we could accelerate. Despite the initial bad luck, and fear of sliding off the road to our doom, we got to the theater in Newton, MA (two and a half hours later than expected) and unloaded our trailer before it began rain-snowing again.

The next day we performed two shows on time without hurting anyone or ourselves. Ok, so I managed to completely nail my hip on a set of stairs in the audience, but other than that it was great.

Best moment of the day: after the show, as we were taking photos with the kids, a little boy came up to me and said: "THIS WAS THE BEST SHOW I'VE SEEN AND I SAW IT AFTER A MAGIC SHOW!"

I was tired and sweaty and already thinking of all the work I had to get done before I could take a nap, but that little man made my day.

Thank you, especially-excited tiny human in Massachusetts.

New Hampshire: the land of the affordable.

And then the clouds parted, revealing a choir of angels holding rotisserie chickens and singing the Jay Z classic, "$100 bill".

The poor woman probably thought I was crazy. No, scratch that. She definitely thought I was crazy. I was entirely too excited to pay for my dinner and snacks. From groceries to kitting supplies to alcohol, the whole crew took advantage of the taxless bounty that this particular strip mall in New Hampshire had to offer. I'm pretty sure we all seriously contemplated moving there.

Yes, you read that right. Thirty dollars for almost two liters of scotch.

And then we saw the theater.

As if we needed more of an excuse to give New York a big middle finger and stay in snowy New Hampshire, we were greeted by the kind and damned funny technical crew of the Capitol Center as well as their absolutely gorgeous, 1,400+ seat theater.

View from the stage at the Capitol Center in Concord, NH.

Our show went smoothly and the kids were happy and we got free Einstein bagels. I think we all wanted to stay another week. Alas, we packed up the van and headed back to New York for the next twenty four hours.

A surprise stay in swanky South Orange.

We had originally planned to head back to the city from South Orange, NJ after we loaded in to the theater. In the end, after realizing what a bitch it is to park a giant van in the city, and that the majority of the cast was subletting their apartments and sleeping on friends' couches, we decided to stay in South Orange at a hotel.

The hotel was the Grand Wilshire. We stayed in nice hotels before this, but this place was swanky. The bathtub in my room had its own window-treatment drape curtain as well as a standard shower curtain. Our technical director's room came complete with hardwood floors, a full refrigerator/kitchen area, and a door to a small porch and lawn area complete with gazebo. We celebrated our good fortune with Chinese food and whiskey (thanks New Hampshire).

View from the stage of South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, NJ

Allentown, PA and the most children I've ever seen.

The next day was the first time we performed in the morning, drove to our next venue, and loaded in to the next theater the same day. It's the first of many, and it went very well. Once again, we arrived at a theater I can only describe as and embarassment of riches.

The gorgeous two-tiered Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, PA

The Miller Symphony Hall is probably the most beautiful theater in which I've had the opportunity to perform. And the crew was genuine and kind. And they provided us a lunch complete with a platter of sandwhiches, fruit and cheese cubes.

After our show we did a meet and greet with the audience, just like we used to in the lobby of the Linda Gross in New York. This time was a little different, though. Hundreds of kids and parents poured out of the theater doors. We stood for about forty five minutes to an hour taking photos with kids, signing show programs and Ivy and Bean books-- one young girl in particular asked us to sign the leather case of her Kindle with permanent marker. Once again, despite being sweaty and tired and already anticipating all the work that had to be done to load out and head home, I was overwhelmed and humbled by the response. Children's theater has some pretty incredible perks.

I took all the cheese cubes.

Onward to Week Two!

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