When I first found out I’d been cast on this tour in June 2011, I was pretty thrilled for many obvious reasons. One big reason? An incredible way to see some of the coolest cities in the US (and actually get paid to do it). Being from Toronto, Canada, I had visited New York, LA and Miami. That’s it! When I saw Chicago on the list I was super excited. My parents fell in love with this city after going to a big family event here seven years ago. I had to miss it (I was doing Mamma Mia in Toronto at the time), but they wouldn’t stop talking about how great it was here. And they were nuts about this crazy restaurant called Ed Debevic’s where apparently the waitresses are super blunt and hilarious. They liked it so much that they’re actually coming to visit me here on tour next week. Not JUST for the restaurant though 😉 They told me how gorgeous and cool Chicago is and I have to say, they were absolutely right.
One of the best parts of tour, for me, is checking out a new theatre every week. Visiting the Oriental for the first time was the most thrilling peek I’ve had yet. First of all, the walk TO the theatre from our hotel took my breath away. Strolling over the river? I don’t think that could ever get old. It feels kind of like being in a gorgeous romantic movie. And the theatre itself is so very stunning. I spent our entire sound check on Tuesday afternoon staring at the ceiling. I usually get a sore neck from DOING the show, but in this case I started early.
This week has been a pretty busy one so far – on top of shows, we’ve had a full day of rehearsal (with our associate director and choreographer, who came to brush things up) and quite a lot of media stuff. The cast did a press performance for WGN and Van summed up what it means to do “American Idiot” best – we’re like “rock star athletes”. To do our jobs well every night means having to make choices before and after the show that protect our bodies and voices. But then again, we’ve got so much crazy energy going on during the show that when it’s done, the last thing you want to do is just go home and rest. It’s all about finding that balance – knowing when to live it up and when to enjoy down time. And in a city where there’s so much to see and do, like Chicago, that balance is extra hard! I literally had to force myself to not talk to anyone after the show and go straight to my hotel room the first few nights we were here. Last week there was a virus going around causing people to have sore throats and yucky congestion — I caught it and lost my voice completely and had to miss the second half of the week of shows in Raleigh. So I’ve been extra disciplined here about letting my body recover fully before I test its fun-having limits again. That being said, I’ve had a great time walking the streets, doing some great shopping and eating some awesome food. I am completely obsessed with the Protein Bar at Clarke and Kinzie. I’m super into health food and sometimes that’s hard to access on the road. They make the most amazing raw juices and a vegan superfood salad that I’ve already had three times since we’ve been here! I’m really looking forward to the weekend, too – hoping to have a chance to check out Second City and maybe House of Blues or Oak Park, or Wicker Park. Oh my! I know that two weeks are going to FLY by and that we’ll be leaving wishing we had more time to see and do here in Chicago. Oh well – we’re gonna make the most of enjoying this awesome city with its beautiful theatre and super-fun audiences. See you at the Oriental.
xx Talia Aaron