On May 23rd we performed a wonderful, bittersweet show for the first time in Hackensack.
The show was great, the actors were amazing, but the whole ordeal was bittersweet because we’ll be saying goodbye to one actor, “see ya later” to another, and welcoming an old friend.
This year we were lucky enough to add two new Elephants to our tour: Noah and Emily. When Emily came to the tour I knew she wouldn’t be able to perform during the summer months since she was working at a kids’ camp (a position I respect, and one Lindsay holds as well!). But a few months ago Noah landed a great opportunity on a nation kids’ tour, and so we bid him a fond adieu.
Our actors are the ones who bring the show to life, and so I firmly believe that they should take opportunities, and come back and see us if and when they are ready.
Case in point: Cheri. Cheri was with us on our Thumbelina tour as well as our Pirate & the Squid tour, but work conflicts didn’t allow for her to join us for this tour. However..her schedule shifted perfectly…and now she’s back! Replacing Noah in the ensemble.
My best guess is we used up all our good driving-through-NYC-in-rush-hour karma at the tour’s launch, because we got caught in dreadful traffic in our attempt to get to Hackensack. By the time we made it in Hackensack at 2:30 (for our 3:00 show) we got a cheerful call from Daniela informing us that there were 30-40 kids, plus their families, awaiting the show.
We swept right in, set up in 5 minutes or less (this is why a fantastic stage manager like Brendan is an absolute necessity!!!) and were ready to go for our 3:00 curtain. This is what I love about working with such professionals!
What’s more…Cheri was joining us on this day to fill in for Lindsay (who couldn’t get out of a work commitment) and was a brave star facing what was now an audience of 60 or so to tell jokes alongside Noah, and perform the show for the first time.
Brendan and I sat at the back of the 200 seat auditorium, which was a phenomenal perspective for watching the kids.
Noah made excellent use of the aisle space, entering from the back of the house.
There was one little girl who could not stay away from the stage, and according to Cheri looked towards her with inquisitive eyes as if to say, “Can I come up there and join you guys?”
This crowd was much more vocal than most, jumping to their feet at every chance, and screaming out answers to the actor’s bee-related inquiries.
Cheri did quite a bit of review with the children, and gave them plenty of time to go over the languages. That doesn’t mean they were all fluent, mind you. When asked to recall “the French word” they learned, one eager little boy remarked correctly “bonjour!”. When asked what it means he yelled, with enthusiasm, “good bye!!!”
Perhaps my favorite moment was when Noah encouraged the kids to get to their feet and dance. The entire cast broke into song and it was an instant dance party. It was a beautiful moment.
Afterwards the cast was swarmed by children. At one point Noah asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. One little girl said, “Oprah!” (I quite agree!!!)
We’re set to perform at Bellevue next, and until then…bonjour!