[Editor's Note: Once a month we have a producer or artistic director take you behind the curtain, into the rehearsal process, backstage, or on the road to illuminate more the of Broadway's Next Hit Musical process. This month it's co-producer, co-ad and performer Rob Schiffmann]
We recently returned from a week's long residency at Theatre L'Homme Dieu (pronounced 'LeHAHMadoo') in Alexandria, MN, where we had 6 great shows. It was a terrific experience that included local folks and friends of the theater taking us tubing, sailing and wake boarding! We were treated like royalty out on the water. It was a tour to remember. It did come with a challenge, however. We were asked to live on campus and the housing was rather rustic.
Realities of the Rustic Road
Losing our creature comforts can be difficult. When you travel as much as we do, it can take a toll. Being far away from home and without access to your stuff is hard enough when you have your own room or bathroom in some nice, or even swanky hotel. When you are all living in a house together and sharing bathrooms (and showers which were in a different building), it becomes that much more challenging.
How Traveling Together Affects Us on Stage
That said, there is a positive to it all as well. When we stay in hotels, we generally will all have a meal together and then see each other at sound check. Most of the days are spent on our own in hotel rooms. It feels nice to have that space but at the same time, it does not do much to foster closeness between cast members. When you are all living/sailing/wake boarding/tubing together, you create a bond. That bond DEFINITELY comes out on stage. We were more playful with each other on days that we had been hanging out and having an experience together.
In the end, our experience at Theatre L'Homme Dieu was EXCELLENT. We had a wonderful week and were well taken care of by the staff. The audiences were big, energetic and positive. The whole week flew by and we were sad to leave.
Spend a little extra time with your fellow cast members on the road. It will pay off on stage!