It's interesting to me to see how this show and this tour has grown. We've done what, about seventy-five shows? Not sure exactly, I could count them up on the itinerary but that would take too much time, so lets say seventy-five...ok? In some ways it's difficult to see the growth in the show because I'm usually so focused on what I do that I'm a little oblivious to what's going on around me. Some might say I'm not concentrating enough on my own stuff, I had a couple of minor flubs the other night. But some relatives of the cast who have seen the show at the beginning of the tour have said, after a recent performance, that the show is a lot tighter and everyone appears more comfortable in their roles.
But use of the word comfortable can be a little misleading. Speaking for myself, I never want it to seem as if I'm on auto-pilot out there, or god forbid, appear like I'm "phoning it in" No, I think because we have done the show so many times it gives you the opportunity to explore your character even more, to try new things, new inflections, subtle nuances in the ways you approach your delivery, always bearing in mind the director's original intent. But I do admire a few cast members who always seem to be searching for new ways to express their characters, changing it up a little to see what happens, not afraid to take chances, it's a great way to keep learning. I could probably be accused of finding an approach and hanging onto it tenaciously at all costs! lol! But I've learned a lot watching my fellow cast members, I truly admire their talent and dedication to their craft.
Both cast and crew have seemed to hit their stride. It's easy to take for granted the work the crew puts in to make sure this show goes up on time. I've mentioned before while we spoiled brats in the cast have snitched what's left of the catering and have gone back to the hotel to have cocktails or climb into our comfy hotel beds, our crew has already put in a 12 hour day and has to pack up the show and drive to the next theater and start loading in around 8 or 9 in the morning. And all that after getting maybe 5 or 6 hours of sleep...sometimes even less. Night after night. You guys are truly something special, thanks for everything!
Now...I can't tell you what an amazing experience of being on the stage of the Colonial Theater. I never would have dreamed that would ever happen. This was a date I had waited for all through the tour. I have to back up a few years and say while on a trip through Pittsfield I drove by what I immediately recognized as an old theater, it still had it's worn and faded marquis, jutting out towards the street, but you could tell it was long neglected. Upon closer inspection I could see that a paint store was using at least the front part of it. At the time I wanted to go in and inquire if any of the original theater remained or had it all been turned into storage.
I had forgotten all about the place when I saw an article in the paper how an organization had been formed and was going to purchased the theater from the owners and restore and reopen it once again. It is an amazing example of vision of the man who purchased the place almost fifty years ago when the theater closed, most thought for good, to keep the theater portion intact, otherwise it would have been lost to history like so many before it.
The Colonial Theater was built in 1903 and has to be one of the few remaining examples of late 19th century theater design and decor. There have been many modern updates to be sure but just look at the pictures....it is a beautiful and painstakingly meticulous restoration. Look at the box seats, there are three stories of them! And so ornate and finely detailed. And they kept the balcony benches! What a unique feature, don't you think? This is the same stage that John and Ethel Barrymore once stood and performed, you can't get much more prestigious than that.
I could go on and on but I think I'll let the pictures speak the rest of the story for me. But thank you Pittsfield for taking on the challenge of saving this treasure and thanks to the man who bought it 50 years ago and probably thought..."You know, somebody may want to open this theater again... someday."
Be back soon