BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - With Every Job That Is Complete
How do you sum up almost seven months of experiences, seven months of friendship and memories?... You can't.
Last week was my final performance of "Mary Poppins" at the Tucahn Amphitheatre and to say it was bittersweet would be an understatement. For one, I was looking forward to getting home to my life in NYC, but on the other hand I knew it would be saying goodbye to newfound friends that have made a huge impact on my life. With "Mary Poppins" on Broadway I did my show and would go home, not to say that it wasn't exciting, but you have your life and when the show is done you know you will see all the people you worked with on the street, or at an audition, or at a get together to commemorate your show closing a month ago. Even on tour most of the people you work with live in NYC so when it's done they are back there pounding the pavement alongside you. But this was different, something most of us hadn't experienced. See with most regional jobs you work a couple months at most, see some sights in the city that you are working in then you go home. No attachment, a very clean break. This wasn't like that. Everyone kept telling me what a great summer gig I had but the truth of the matter was it wasn't just a summer gig, it was three seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall. It was three shows for 12 weeks rehearsing back to back. It was doing a different show every night in rep for 4 and a half months. It was laughing, it was aches and pains, sweating your ass off in 115-degree heat, crying over the loss of family members together, it was engagements, it was trips to Zion and Vegas, but most of all it was the people you were surrounded with that made it special. As much as I wanted it to end, as much as we all wanted it to end saying goodbye was hard. It was more than just doing the shows. We were a family. You went to work with people you genuinely loved and admired.
When I finished "Mary Poppins" on Broadway I already knew that I was going to be playing Bert in Utah so saying goodbye, as sad as it was, was not the end of the world. My time at Cherry Tree Lane was going to continue for another 6 and a half months and I couldn't have been more excited. For one my dear friends Rommy Sandhu (with his lovely family in toe) and Gail Bennett would be joining me with the show just as they had on Broadway and the tour so I already had some familiar faces to get me through the rehearsal process. I also knew that my good friends Todd Dubail, Jennifer Evans, Daniel Gutierrez, and Steven Goldsmith would be there as well starring in their respective shows. But what I didn't know was that there would be a whole group of people that would be going along on this crazy ride too that I would grow to love and respect. Our director for "Millie", Jeffry Denman had said something to a sold out crowd on the opening night of "Millie". He said: "There is something special going down here at Tuacahn". He was right: there is something very special going on down there. If you ever get the chance to see a show or work there, do it. You will find some of the hardest working, nicest people at this very unique theatre company tucked away in Snow Canyon. Scott Anderson and Ryan Norton have their work cut out for them each year and they gather an incredible team and they deliver. And it's not just the actors on stage. It's the run crew, the orchestra, sound, props, hair & make-up, and the wardrobe staff. From the box office to marketing everyone kicks it into high gear to put on the best possible shows they know how. It is them who I would like to thank most, for taking care of us on and off stage. Without them we would just be a bunch of actors fumbling around on stage in the dark. I want to thank Scott and Ryan for the opportunity to play one of my dream roles and make it my own. I want to thank the ushers for taking care of our families that came to visit us in the shows from distances far and wide. Thank you to Troy McGee and Erica Bryce for opening up their beautiful home to all of us. I want to thank the electrics crew for letting me tag along on with them here and there and for making me laugh...a lot: Kyle, Lance, Dow, Lynnette, Christa, Sam, Jake, Matt, and Gabe, you guys were awesome, you made us shine, and I'll miss you all. The incredible Shari Jordan, who not only juggled three shows as Dance Supervisor but also raised two kids while doing it all, she made it look so easy. And finally I want to say thank you to an amazing Stage Management team for putting up with us all; AJ Sullivan, Chad Anderson, Holley Housewright, and Rose Fernandez without you guys we'd be lost.
As I sit in my apartment writing this final blog I am reminded of a eulogy that was given in honor of the late Jim Henson and I feel that it is very fitting to sum up just what these past 6 and a half months meant to me:
"Watch out for each other,
Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth and most especially your heart.
Let us all have mercy on each and every one of us.
And every day, we will open up like a cocoon
and turn into beautiful butterflies
and live this moment,
and the next,
and the next
and the next ....."
Till we meet again. Thanks for reading...xo, Jesse
Final cast shot
We are quite the goofy bunch
Our awesome crew
Couldn't have put it better myself (Heidi Anderson)