Saturday, March 31, 2012

Backstage...

Here's some insight to some things you might find backstage in between shows.


Our prop shelves. Those black things hanging from the shelves are the tape mustaches we each use for a scene in one of our shows called Managers. We make the mustaches out of black electrical tape. We reuse them as long as they stay sticky. Each one of us has our own mustache style. Sam's is the funniest, it's the thick triangle one.

Here's Andel telling us that she got hired as a new castmember for the upcoming Second City ETC. show.


Look how excited Jeannie is for Andel!


We were all really happy and excited for her, but Jeannie went berserk. She was so excited for her. The bad news is Andel has to leave early and go back to Chicago three weeks before our contract is up. We'll miss her a lot.

Here's one of the surprising things you'll see in between shows.


A gigantic Dora The Explorer wandering through the halls. It's a little creepy to turn the corner and see that thing floating toward you.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hunger Games...

On Saturday, we took a train Southwest to a really cool AMC theater at the Sunplace Plaza in Miami. Our purpose was to see the Hunger Games.


I read the books a year or so ago after I heard about them on Arnie Niekamp's Stupid Nerd podcast. I passed them on to Jeannie and she became obsessed with the books.

Sam and Stuart came with us. It was a lot of fun. The best part was getting the popcorn and soda.


Felt like I was back home in Chicago.

When we got back to the ship we had a package from my mom.


It was full of Easter candy. She even put Easter basket grass in it!
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nassau...

Went for a run yesterday in Nassau.



Made a wrong turn somewhere. Without a GPS on my phone, ended up lost, in the middle of nowhere.

After 12 miles, and 2 miles of running aimlessly, I stumbled across the Brigadoon resort.


A lady standing there, waiting for the bus, helped me figure out how to get back. I got on the bus with her and took the hour long bus back to the port.


It was me and 60 Bahamanians crammed into the bus. It was really more of a van than a bus. Each time we stopped, if there was someone in the back that needed to get off, we had to unload the whole bus so they could get off.

Today, I'm sunburned and a little sore. But, I got to see a lot of very cool and beautiful things.
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Saturday, March 17, 2012

South Beach...

We had a busy week of shows. Since the ship was so full, the shows were packed!

We were sold out for pretty much all 15 of our shows. The audiences were great too. They were rowdy, lively, fun and energetic.

Well...,

Pretty much everyone was lively and energetic. During our Wednesday night show, the audience was really loud and hyper and energetic, but this guy was zonked out.


I noticed him in the second to last scene of the show when my character is supposed to go out and high-five members of the audience. I tried to high-five him and he snored back at me. I pointed out to the rest of the audience he was sleeping and they went into hysterics.

For the rest of the show we referenced him a few times and he just snored away. We end the show with a series of songs about the ship and at the end of each song the audience would clap and he would drearily open his eyes, clap and fall right back to sleep. I took that photo at the end of our big closing number. It was Jeannie's idea and it got a big roar from the audience when I took it.

This morning we got up early to get off the ship so we could go to South Beach. I've only been to South Beach one other time, but we went to the Apple Store there and didn't really go to see anything else.

Getting off the ship has been a bit of a pain the past couple of weeks. Normally, we just get off when the ship is cleared, but they have instituted shifts of time when we can disembark to try to dissuade crew members from jumping ship and not coming back. I'm not sure how that keeps people from jumping ship, but oh well.

We got there pretty early. Here's the line behind us.


You can see Sam mixed in with the people behind us. He had forgotten something in his room and went back to get it. He didn't want to cut in line so he stayed back there.

Here's the line in front of us.


It's a mess. The line on the right is the actual line. The people on the left are people who just hover around the front of the line. When security opens the door to let us sign off, those guys on the left rush to the front and get off before anyone else can.

When that happens, the people behind them start yelling and screaming. Security walks over to the people who are yelling and screaming, but it's useless. By the time security turns around all those guys are off the ship and on the van to downtown Miami.

It's a cultural thing. Our tech guy always tells us, "We do not stand in lines in our country so it is weird we have to do it here. Where we live, whoever is fastest to the front, gets on the bus first. There's always pushing and shoving to get on the bus or train and there's no lines. That's just the way it is.". Sadly, that's the way it is when you have to do a lot of things with the crew.

We get off pretty quickly though today and got a cab to go to South Beach.


The weather is beautiful and South Beach is really nice. I love the art deco buildings and breezy oceanfront cafe's and restaurants.





We stopped and had a delicious brunch on Ocean Boulevard.





I had strawberry pancakes and bacon for the brunch deal of $5.75.


Love South Beach. Love the nice relaxing day walking of around.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Thomas...

Went for a run in St. Thomas. It was still incredibly windy, but the sun was out.



There's a great scene on Seinfeld where George talks about how he can't stop sweating. Jerry says, "Didn't you shower after you were done with the gym?" and George responds, "It didn't take!". That's what happened to me today after my run. I didn't stop sweating until 3 hours after my shower. I was a mess walking around town today.

Here's a few interesting things I found today:

I've mentioned in previous blog posts how Pringles are the number one chip in the world. No matter where you are, you can always find Pringles. We've been in remote little stores in Costa Rica, Dominica, Guatemala and even Japan, where there's no recognizable American food anywhere to be found, but there's always a shelf with the familiar Pringles canisters. St. Thomas goes one step further.


They have four sizes of Pringles. I've only seen the large and the small. I've never seen those two medium sizes.

Every cruise, there's always a few old guys who walk around in captain's hats. This is the first time I've seen a guy where the tri-corner pirate hat.


He wears that hat everywhere. He even wore it to our show a few nights ago. I was going to point it out during the show, but thought, he's already getting more than enough attention.

These are the busses in St. Thomas.


I think Chicago should go with something like this. It might make for some cold winter commutes, but then again, it's 76 degrees in Chicago today anyway. Our friends riding home from work today would love to drive home like that.
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nassau...

Back to Nassau. We used to go here from time to time on the Dawn and stopped here once or twice while we were on the Star.

We're very familiar with this place. The best place to go when you are here is the Atlantis Resort. You're going to spend a little money if you go there though.

We're trying not to spend too much so we just wanted to grab something to eat and do a little Internet.

The town was swamped!


There were people everywhere. There were 6 ships in the port and it was shoulder to shoulder everywhere.

We stopped into this Greek restaurant,


But left after looking at the menu. It was a normal, casual Greek restaurant, but the cheapest thing on the menu was $25. It was not a fine dining restaurant. It was just a Gyro and Greek Salad place, but they'd jacked up their prices. What a joke.

We went to a Greek place that we'd eaten at before. The name of the restaurant is (are you ready for this?) Skankz! Yep, we love eating at a place called Skanks. It's a diner that specializes in breakfast. I have no idea why they have such a wild name.

The food there is really good and much more affordable than the dumb place where we had initially gone. My chicken gyro was a reasonable $8. Of course, we had to walk a little bit into town to get to it. A tip for any potential cruisers, never eat at anyplace close to the dock. They're prices are always way jacked up.

I do like the downtown. It's very quaint.








Just way too busy and full of too many sweaty tourists.

Jeannie found a drink that was in a clear can.


On Saturday, we start a new week and a new cruise. We were told that it's the first week of spring break cruises. Instead of the normal 4,100 passengers, we'll have over 5,000 onboard. 2,000 of them will be between the ages of 18-20.

God help us!

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Friday, March 9, 2012

St. Maarten...

I posted this blog yesterday, but it didn't load, for some reason.

We were in beautiful St. Maarten. It's one of the few Caribbean Islands that we hadn't visited yet.


We really liked St. Maarten. It's a clean, sleek island.


We were on the Dutch side of the island and they had all kinds of cool shops and restaurants. Jeannie especially liked the Escargot Restaurant.


This restaurant was a little crazy.





You'll have to click on the above photos to clearly see the name.

We're really pleased to go back to St. Maarten five more times. It's one of the nicest, coolest islands we've visited.


It has a Dutch side and a French side. Next week, we're definitely going to go to the French side. It should be very cool and fun.


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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

St. Thomas...

We're in St. Thomas today.

Went for a run early. Running here is much different than it was in Hawaii. It's very, very humid. Feels like your running with a blanket on you. Also, it's super windy here today. I did 6 miles, but it felt like I ran 10.

Afterward, I went over to one of my favorite places from when we used to stop here when we were on the Dawn, Pizza Amore.


The same people were still working there. I got a slice of the Works.


It's one of the best slices of pizza you'll ever eat. Unfortunately, my breath is terrible from all the onions on that thing. I'll have to order it without onions next week. And yes, I will be getting another slice next week. It's too good.

A couple of things from yesterday's stop in St. Maarten,


This is a museum/shop from a guy who helped create today for the Star Wars movies. It's pretty funny.

This was in the middle of town. We've been to a substantial number of the places on here.


We have a 3 show night tonight. I hope I can get my breath under control so my castmates aren't too tortured doing scenes with me.
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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Miami...

It's been a long week. It seemed like every day for the past 7 days was filled with rehearsing, performing or sleeping. There were some breaks in there for food and I caught the tail end of the Bulls-Spurs game.
We were do busy that we didn't even have a chance to get off the ship when we stopped at the three islands. I've never gone 7 straight days without getting off the ship.
It was a very fun week though. As an actor and an improvisor, I can't complain that I got to do what I love for every waking minute of my life last week. I'm very fortunate.
On this ship, we have our own theater.




It's very cool and it looks like a normal comedy club that you would see in the city.




They even have video screens all around the theater, in case some in the back can't see the action when the theater is full.




I thought the screens would be distracting, but they're actually super helpful. I can see when I'm hitting my mark and am in my light, just by looking at the screen.
Here we are rehearsing in our cool theater.




We finished rehearsing early one night and managed to squeak in to see the Legends show. It's a show from Vegas that features full productions of celebrity impersonators. We saw Steven Tyler, Madonna and Elvis. They were all excellent.




Their theater is huge.
On Thursday night after our shows we had a cast dinner at the Brazilian Steakhouse. It's the type of steakhouse where the waiters walk around with the skewers of meat and cut off slices for you to eat. It was excellent.




















We then went to Fat Cat's to listen to the jazz group play.




It's a real jazz group from New Orleans who play in their every night.




They were phenomenal.
Here are a few other cool things on the ship:
The Gym is amazing.




They have almost 100 treadmills in there.




And legitimate weights and machines.
Notice, the gym is (as usual) completely empty.
The arcade is pretty awesome.




More games than I expected. I'm sure a lot of parents will be surprised at the end of the contract when they see how many games are on their bills.
Today we shove off for our first week without our producer and director. It'll be nice to get into a normal routine.
It'll also be nice to step off and touch an island or two...or three.




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