The Better Than Expected Tour
Volume 4 Book 5 of
Living in the Bonus Round
(Part 3)

A new sign!

[ Book 4-4 ] --  [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ]
[ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] - [ Book 4-6 ]

September 22-27, 2005.
My Second Home: Rochester.
Driving in to Rochester gives me the same feeling as going to my home town. It's as familiar as an old glove. And it's not just the city, but the people here. Chris and Ann Marie, especially. Since I've been knowing them for six or seven years, they've moved from one stage to another, and then have added two more stages. And most impressive to me is that they are bringing light into a depressed downtown area which desperately needs what they bring to it.

It's my favorite landmark: The tower of Mordor!

In front of DCT2 (Downstairs Cabaret Second Stage), we are greeted by two wonderful young faces: Jay and Melanie.

Jay is the Tech Director for DCT and he's going to be lighting our show. Melanie is there to assist. Luckily, we have a couple of days to get it all together. At one point, Melanie was working on something else, and Jay needed to hang a swirling light, so guess who helped?

Aren't we cute?

John King joins us and learns that Jimmy loves to terrorize the staff.

Finally, the lights are focused and the stage is set.

John King learns the stage managing job.

On the day of runthrough, they pose in the booth.

How cute is this girl, anyway? Is that a million dollar smile?

And John, too. Another great smile.

And, of course, Jay, whose last name is Moscowitz.

I just want to say here what a great staff this is. Jay, especially, went out of his way to help design the lighting plot. When we told him about the "Ethel Moment" he went out and found a great stage strobe, swirling lights -- everything but the kitchen sink. And he's only 20 years old! He's got a great future ahead of him. He's resourceful, responsible and he takes great pride in what he does. But then, that's what DCT is all about.

And here we all are! The show is set! Time to invite an audience!

And what an audience! It's fun to play this show to different kinds of people, but it's also a little bit unnerving because the laughs all come in different places. In Manhattan, people laugh at all the "show biz" jokes, but here, those don't get the same kind of reaction. Luckily, the show isn't based on any one kind of humor. Here, they love it when Jimmy does physical shtick. And they laugh in places that people elsewhere don't, so it takes a few performances to get used to settling into a different rhythm.

On Friday, one of my dearest netfriends, Steve Calverly, drove down from Canada with a couple of friends. Steve is a religious conservative, so we've had our moments over the years where we've crossed swords. And he knew that Jimmy and I, being out gay men telling the story of our lives might present him with challenges. But, somehow, I knew he'd "get" what we do.

In fact, he wrote in his blog:

For me, the most striking part of the play is the song “God’s Work / Scarecrow”. It talks about people who imagine themselves to be doing “God’s Work” but instead are scarecrows, scaring the children away. If that song isn't like a knife into your heart, you don't have one.

Steve and Steve!

Jim with Jen and Natasha.

Jen wrote in her blog: What an Adventure!  Last night Steve, Natasha and I went to NY to see a musical that Steve's friend was in, The Big Voice.  Wow.  What an experience.  It was a life changing moment and one of the most spiritual church experiences that I've ever had in a theatre.
We had a great time after the show, hanging out with Bud Minard, one of my best pals from Rochester. And speaking of Bud, he was also at the Saturday performance when the Jasons (Jimmy's and my "adopted" kids) of Youth Guardian Services, drove down from Ithaca. We were joined by Dom, also of YGS who drove over from Buffalo. Here is our family portrait:

Top row: Jason S. Steve, Bud, Dom.
Front row: Jason H., Jim and Jay.

On Sunday, after our matinee we went out to dinner with two other really good friends, Sheldon and Helene. Last time we were here, they were together, but earlier this year they got married. In fact, they were married down at DCT. How fun is that? It was great catching up on news and seeing them again.

So, not a lot of news here or anything earthshattering, but rather a little picturebook of all the bright and happy faces we've been seeing in Rochester.

On Wednesday, Jimmy does his "Zero Hour" play about Zero Mostel. We were very excited this morning to see it featured in The link to the article is

September 28, 2005.
Better Than Expected Nominations.
Yesterday and today, on our days off, Jim and I went to see movies. Yesterday, it rained nearly all day so the movie was a nice respite from the weather. Today, however, it was sunny. But we went anyway. The matinees here are only 4 bucks. They're 8 bucks in L.A.

Anyway, we got home and there in our inbox was an unexpected email. The Ovation nominations were announced today. (The Ovations are L.A.'s largest theatre award).

Now, before I tell you the results, you have to remember that this last L.A. run was in a tiny theatre. We did it with no budget, no advertising, no publicity. In fact, the only reason we did it was so Paul and Murphy could look at the show as new producers so they could make suggestions, invite potential investors, etc. Also, remember, we've already played Los Angeles. Back then, we got two nominations, one for Jimmy and one for the show itself.

So the fact is, though I was hopeful we might  get some kind of recognition, I had forgotten that this is the BETTER THAN EXPECTED TOUR.

The results?





And now the one that signals the end of the universe:


Best lead actor in a musical? Me? Does this mean I get an agent? Is an Oscar around the corner?

"Over my dead body!"

And the better than expected tour continues!

[ Book 4-3 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ]
[ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] - [ Book 4-6 ]
© 1996-2005 by Steve Schalchlin.
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