After a rather long and incredibly humid day in NYC (really super gross humidity), I came home to troll the internet to find something interesting to read.
After the normal sites of faces and spaces where exhausted, I realize that I’m just looking for a moment of meaningful content. Not headlines or gossip items- longer than a status update, shorter than a novel. Then it hits me- I used to try and create such content on the MEMPHIS blog everyday.
“Go back there.” I hear. “Write something. Even if no one reads it.”
So what’s the buzz? What do you need to know about MEMPHIS land?
The National Tour is in Seattle-finishing up their third week of performances there until heading to Denver. I can’t wait to meet up with them in the mile high city and give you the full update.
There are a few new cast members, some cast members who are just returning from time away, and a few who are getting ready to leave (sad face). Not every new cast member is ready to go on in certain roles or “tracks” as they are called so it has been a little bit crazy in terms of covering all the tracks in the show. Stage Management and the Dance Captains have had to be a bit inventive- like having a “white boy” do the church scene into “Make Me Stronger,” instead of a “white girl” but more on all that when I am in town with them.
Check this out-
Now I am already pretty partial to the Denver area having gone to school at CU Boulder (Go Buffs!) and having worked at Opera Colorado (Go high notes!), but then CBS went and took it to the next level by sending their critic, Greg Moody, to SEATTLE, to pre-review the show before it heads to Denver. Now that is helpful to us in producer-land. Especially when he calls the show a “must see.” Yup, we like that indeed.
Here’s that link in the event you want to check out that review!
After two weeks in Denver, the show heads to San Jose, California (conveniently near my hometown and all my family) so I will be joining the tour again there and then the following week in Sacramento. And yes, James M. Iglehart, our original Broadway “Bobby” has promised to go with me to see the show in San Jose. I am sure, knowing James, it is going to be hard to keep him off that stage when “Big Love” starts in Act 2.
Let’s back up.
September 23rd was the Broadway Cares Flea Market.
It. Was. AWESOME.
The quick backstory if you need it; once a year Broadway Shows, Unions and Theatrical organizations volunteer their time and their goods to sell in a giant Flea Market, Celebrity Signing Table and Grand Auction. For me, it meant leaving the house with Samson at 7:30am.
Shutting down several streets in midtown, this event is not for the faint of heart but for the fans with hearts of lions. It is hard to navigate midtown on a normal day, let alone a day where Broadway stars are roaming around and priceless show-bilia can be snatched up. Memphis had participated the last two years and I was making it happen again this year. After all, September 23rd is the anniversary of our First Preview performance on Broadway in 2009 so it felt a little kismet.
Plus, after we closed on Broadway, we had so much good stuff! A lot of one of a kind items, signed items, pieces of the set, shirts and sweatshirts that had been only available to the cast and company–good stuff. In my humble opinion.
Were any of you there? Did you get good stuff? IF you did, PLEASE send us a picture or two, or four, of your stuff and where you found a home for it- ESPECIALLY if you went home with any of our huge Front of House posters, subway ads, or “At This Performance” Slider boards. Would love to see that.
All in all, there were two flat bed dollies full of boxes, two large suitcases, one used-to-belong-to-Cass-Morgan inherited push cart, and 4 trips carrying stuff by hand to the Flea Market. We were fully loaded.
Broadway Stage Manager, Janet Takami and Bway/Tour Producer, Francine Bizar, were there bright and early helping get the goods ready for the people. Francine also did her share of shopping- stashing goods under the table (which she total paid for don’t worry). BC/EFA also sent me over some great volunteers to help us get through the day.
Vloggers and Broadway Darlings, Patty and Emily, came by for a spell (also stored their goods under our table) and brought me some pad thai. #essential. After a mid-afternoon headache spurned by caffeine withdrawl/hunger pains (see aforementioned pad thai plus a heaven-sent Aleve and a Sprite), I bounced back and made it through the last few hours of the Flea.
A great influx of energy came in the form of Memphis Tour Assistant Lighting Designer, Daniel Mueller. A recent transplant from (actual) Memphis, TN, to NYC, he brought southern hospitality and a warm smile to the wind swept 44th Street. During his shift, tshirts and “hip flasks” (his term) were flying off the table! [If there is an appropriate "Billy Bigelow" from CAROUSEL reference here about "barking," insert it here].
Super lady who is super literate (cause she works at Random House) Maggie Oberrender, helped us close out the day after already having volunteered for an entire day at the Flea for BC/EFA. She was freezing (did I mention it was windy?) and she stayed until the end to help MEMPHIS sell items until the BC/EFA rep and security guard were literally waiting for us to close up shop and hand over the money.
We were one of the last tables standing at the end of the day and it was time well spent—MEMPHIS raised $6,163! (At 1pm, we had made $2400 so you can see what I am saying about Daniel’s afternoon tshirt/sweatshirt/hip flask selling skills!)
At 7pm, I went to the office with one box of tshirts, a few prop records, and some cast name sliders.
That’s it. You cleaned us out MEMPHIS fans.
By the time I finally walked Samson the Show Pup home at 9pm, I was almost floating down 9th Avenue. I truly had such a great time meeting everyone who came to the table (except that one guy…yeah, there were some words exchanged. I kept it classy, naturally- but it is not a good idea to act like you know more about producing MEMPHIS than I do).
THANK YOU to the cast members who donated items and came by to sign things.
THANK YOU to the BC/EFA volunteers who helped get us get through the day (props to you Elizabeth from Colorado!).
THANK YOU to Producer Randy Adams for donating your Playbill collection from the last seven seasons!
THANK YOU to Janet, Francine, Emily McGill, Daniel, Maggie, and Stephanie for being in the fray with me!
THANK YOU to Robert Hartwell (Bway Wailin’ Joe/Rev. Hobson), Ephraim Sykes (Bway Beale Street Ensemble), Evan Autio (National Tour Main Street) and Ryan Moller (Bway Dresser) for stopping by the table!
and THANK YOU to all who helped us make an incredible donation to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on behalf of MEMPHIS the Musical by purchasing our fantastical show-bilia.
Goodnight and Hockadoo!
Carolyn D. Miller is an Associate Producer on MEMPHIS and has plenty of show-bilia around her NYC apartment (and in a storage unit in California).