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The Great Ivy + Bean Tour, Week Two: Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina

Welcome Back! I've missed you.

Much like our first week on tour, weather was acting like a big ol’ jerk. We ended up getting on the road a whole day early from New York to avoid what the whole United States was calling The Scariest Storm of the Century.

Two feet of snow! Gusts up to 50 mph! We’re never gonna make it! Save yourself!!

I had maybe thirteen or fourteen hours to do laundry and re-pack my suitcases and say goodbye to my boyfriend before we were back on the road again.

Clockwise: Jake, McLean and Sydney

As it turns out, New York was very lucky, and wasn’t hit anywhere near as hard as New England. This did not make us feel any better about leaving early, especially because we spent the impromptu night out of the city at fairly gross Days Inn in Delaware. However, we got to Charlottesville, Virginia a few hours earlier than we originally would have on Tuesday, which gave us some extra time to enjoy each other’s company in a new fancy hotel. This was the perfect time to throw McLean a surprise party.

Ok, backstory: back in November, the whole crew traveled to Connecticut and re-teched our show so it was ready for the different theaters in which we were going to perform. At the time, the theater in Connecticut was the biggest we had performed in, so we all took bets as to the size of the house (how many seats were in the theater). The winner, whoever got closest to the actual capacity, was going to get a surprise party somewhere in our travels. McLean's guess was the closest, so she was getting an awesome surprise party.

Snacks, wine, the bourbon and scotch from New Hampshire, signs made from printer paper and crayons, and a little silent Marco Polo in the hotel’s indoor swimming pool- awesome. surprise. party.

So. We escaped the storm. We surprised McLean. We played in a swimming pool. Charlottesville was turning out to be quite lovely.

We had some time to explore outside the hotel before we loaded in to the theater the next day, so Jake and I found some lunch as well as a tasty looking barbecue restaurant we wanted to try for dinner—which turned out to be the best decision we had made in Virginia so far. The hotel was a two-minute walk from this outdoor mall-type area. Besides the deli we went to for lunch and the barbecue restaurant, there was a seafood restaurant, movie theater, art gallery, upscale clothing stores and fancy shops like Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn. It didn’t hit me that we were in a fairly affluent area in Virginia until a woman walked out of a yoga studio using a Louis Vuitton bag for her gym clothes. Whoa, Virginia, whoa.

And then, once again, we walked into a beautiful theater.

The Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia

It was originally built over eighty years ago. The theater sat vacant for a few decades and began deteriorating until the city renovated it back to it’s former glory.

The experience was also damned fantastic. Two great shows, a couple thousand happy kids, a delicious barbecue lunch brought in by the theater (because there’s no such thing as too much barbecue), and we got to sign the wall outside the dressing room.

Thanks for treating us like kings, Charlottesville.

The next two days were pretty brutal because they were damned long. After our two-show day in Virginia, we drove to Bel Air, Maryland. We were performing in an auditorium of a technical high school/community college at 7pm the next day; it was our first night show and our first time loading in and out the same day.

The show went very well, but it felt weird! Singing “Cause it’s a Saturday morning on Pancake Court” at 7pm on a Friday was definitely messing with my brain. I also felt like I was performing at a lower energy than I usually do, which made no sense to me. I got to sleep in that morning, had plenty of caffeine and rest, but I still felt pretty sluggish during the show.

So, we load in the afternoon of the show, perform, load out, and drive to our next spot, Frederick, Maryland. Our show in Frederick was at 3pm, so we were going to do the same thing we had done in Bel Air— load in, perform, load out, and drive.

The Weinberg Center in Frederick, Maryland

Another gorgeous theater! The process of unloading wasn’t the greatest for me, however. I’m head of the wardrobe road box, so all of the costumes are my responsibility. This beautiful theater didn’t have an elevator or wide enough hallways to bring the wardrobe road box to the dressing rooms (which were located downstairs), so I spent a good twenty or thirty minutes walking up and down steps with costumes and the steamer, grabbing only the necessaries so my load-out wouldn’t be a nightmare. At least I got my exercise for the day.

So, we load in, we perform, we load out, and we start driving to Wilkesboro, North Carolina-- a five to six-hour drive. We are tired, we are still sweaty, and we are once again confined to the van. Despite the long day, all of us were still respectful and kind to one another, and we arrived at our hotel in one piece. It was a miracle.

Unfortunately, other things started happening. Melissa began feeling under the weather during this five to six-hour trip. By the next day, she was full-blown sick. Fever, chills, aches, congestion— my poor Bean was not well. Luckily, our only responsibility that day was to load in to the theater, so Melissa stayed at the hotel and slept.

The rest of us began to prepare for the worst. We had a two-show day the next day, which is always hard, always tiring; even if Melissa was feeling a little better, there was a chance that she wouldn’t make it through both performances. Our understudy, Sydney, started going through all of Melissa’s blocking while she and Emily disinfected all the props and set pieces. I grabbed the costume Sydney would wear if she was covering for Melissa as I was setting up the dressing rooms. We were ready! Well, as ready as we’d ever be.

Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina

While the majority of us were enjoying the Super Bowl that night (by the way WHAT A GAME WHAT A HALFTIME SHOW WHAT AN ENDING SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS!), Melissa slept and Sydney was going over Bean’s lines. We would find out the next day whether I’d be performing with a new Bean in a space we had never performed in before.

Will Melissa be well enough to perform? Will Sydney have to go on? Will we kill each other in the van Lord of the Flies-style?

Tune in for next week’s blog post.

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