Tomorrow evening we will close “Mamma Mia” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. When all is said and done, we will have done 408 performances. I will have done “only” 392 of those performances as I took two weeks off in August. As the show ran for 51 weeks, we are just shy of the one year mark of performances, however, with rehearsals added on, we’ve been working on “the island” for 54 weeks. Amazing!
I have been very vocal about my need for the show to close. I’m injured. I’m tired from this schedule. I have (gratefully) been employed at Chan for 18 months straight, but I need a break. The dressing room is feeling too small to me now. There have been numerous changes, sometimes day to day, and although that’s all a part of the job and we are all trained to handle it (in fact, I think it makes us all better performers and people in general when we have to learn to adjust) it’s too much now, and I want to be done. I volunteered to be the Equity Deputy for the first time ever for this show. It has been a huge learning experience, and I’m glad I did it. And I don’t think I’d every do it again. I have other projects and lessons and growth opportunities calling my name and I’m ready to move ahead.
I’m not sure when or if I’ll be back performing at CDT again.
I’m not sure when I’ll see these friends again.
I’m not sure when I’ll work with Paul again.
I’m not sure when I’ll be back onstage again.
I’m not sure when I’ll have a regular paycheck again.
Will it all be ok? Of course! It always is. In fact, I think it’s going to be better than ok, I feel like I’m about to transform.
But this part, right here and now, is difficult.
I am SO ready.
And it’s difficult.
Some yucky things have happened to my cast members and their families during this past year:
-loss of parent
-loss of grandparents
-loss of friends
-car accidents, some resulting in total car losses
-injuries (myself included) and some have resulted in needing time off of the show. Three cast members have become so injured that they have not returned to the island, and we have missed them terribly
-too many illnesses to count
-a lot of heartache has happened
How lucky we’ve been to help each other through these hard times.
Some wonderful things have happened to my cast members and their families during this past year:
-Three cast members got engaged
-Two sons and one granddaughter were born
-an event planning company came to fruition
-a book was written
-kids succeeded in school and in their non-school activities
-a puppy was adopted
-everyone kicked booty at their other jobs (at least 3/4 of our company has other part-time or full-time work besides performing in the show)
-all of the understudies went on and did well
-wonderful vacations were had
-To the best of my knowledge, two of our cast members performed in EVERY SINGLE SHOW
-every one of us has celebrated a birthday, and one of us has celebrated two
How lucky we’ve been to celebrate one another through this wonderful time!
To this Mamma Mia cast, crew, pit, artistic staff, and hundreds of people who work at CDT: THANK YOU for an extraordinary year.
I love you all
What a journey.
After a few days off, I will embark on another path. I am a little scared, but mostly thrilled. I know it is the right direction to go, even if I don’t know where it leads. The first half of my life has been phenomenal, and I feel like the second half is going to be even better.
So. Back to RENT. How DO you measure a year? This is how I measured my year as Chloris, the flower-seller:
In wig pins/ in fake boobs/ in muumuus/in sweet ‘n spicy
in pop-outs/in space-buns/in dancing with strangers
in put-ins/in don’t take your show bra home/in smelly shoes/in that duck was sitting down/in paper plate shoes/in petal throwing/
in candy/in throwing money at the audience/in opas
in sexy grapevines/in improv with Brian/in getting my steps in with EmRose
in backstage dance parties with Gabby and JBB/in hugs from Rush/in “dancer’s choice” with Lucas/in “please help me get through it texts” with Renee and Therese
in vocal coaching from Tommy B/in countdowns and “dot, dot, dots” with Tommy S/in fish necklaces/in errant “I do’s” from the audience/
in going on as Rosie and all the help and support I got from all, but especially Keri and Michelle
in pats on the back from Gruber/in whatever Jay and I decide to do on any given day/in ball-changes/in chai from Ru/in crab dances with Dylan/in two-second catch-ups with Tony/in token exchanges with Mark/
in costume pre-set and super-riffs with Teri/in wedding comfort with Laura/in lip-gloss with Maura/in calming energy with Alyssa/in face punches with Alan/in wedding laughs with Nicole/
in making faces at the band but especially Paul/in “person of honor” days/in yasou kukla mou
and WAY, WAY more…but it’s time to go do the show now.
Measure in love.