BWW Guest Blog: Life on the Road in OZ by Adam Sergison
After spending plenty of time entertaining audiences in Toronto, the Wizard of OZ is now on tour bringing fabulous Canadian talent across America! BroadwayWorld Toronto decided to check in on the Canadians bringing the magic of OZ to new audiences by asking cast member Adam Sergison to keep us updated on life on the Road. Read his all new, exclusive guest blog:
After 10 months of playing in the frigid cold of Toronto, Canada, our cast of The Wizard of Oz began a touring experience that currently has us situated in Costa Mesa, California. I had no idea it was so warm here, even in winter. The joy of packing all of my winter clothes into a box in middle of January is comparable to a second Christmas morning. It's my first national tour, and I've picked up a few tips and experiences I'd love to share with you over the coming weeks. For starters, let me tell you a bit about what I do in the show!
I play the tallest munchkin in Munchkinland and at an "astounding" height of 5'8"... I bend my knees a lot. We've got these fantastic little costume creations that give us an extra large buttocks and seem to shrink us down a few inches on stage, but the rest is all physical acting. Our choreographer, Arlene Phillips, decided to go a different route with the munchkins. Round and peculiar little things, we waddle about the stage as simple folk. We've all got self-given names and have perhaps over-indulged ourselves in giving our characters overly detailed backstories. You can call me Pachello Ziffles, by the way. Dorothy loves me, she just doesn't know it yet.
Next I don the green, as we prepare for Emerald City. Dressed in suits and gowns made of fashionable and luxurious green textiles, we become a conglomerate of fabulous glory. When we learned the piece, we didn't quite pull it off, so they had us strut across the room until we did. I believe the descriptive words used for inspiration were "French Drag Queens".
In a way, it's such a contrast to our final character, the winkie guards. Thankfully, we get intermission to shed the persona and put on what is a very intense and serious character. Covered in red and black, we bind our waists and arms with leather and sing the ever popular "Oh-ee-ah" as we hunt Dorothy down through the haunted forest. I'd tell you more, but I wouldn't want to give away the plot.
Check out the backstage shots below, and be sure to come check us out in your city! Here is a listing of where we are playing, and I'll write again soon with some tips for the road!
What You Need On The Yellow Brick Road
The fresh smell of laundered sheets and the sight of pre-packaged toiletries is always enjoyable on the first night in a new city. But by the second night, if you're anything like me, you start to realize that what you need to be comfortable isn't always provided by the hotel. A large majority of my cast has opted to leave the "Do Not Disturb" placard on the handle and try to make each hotel room like home, messy sheets and all. Here's some things to bring that make life on the road easier:
1. CUTLERY, DISHES AND A CUTTING BOARD
You'll definitely want to call ahead for a mini fridge. Most hotels offer them for free, or a small one-time fee. You'll likely end up saving more with one trip to the grocery store. Of course you are going to need dishes and cutlery. A friend suggested I ask at the start of each stay to borrow from room service, but after waiting an hour for a single set, I opted to purchase my own. A plastic cutting board will help you keep your food and the room clean, and shouldn't take up much room in the suitcase. A sharp knife helps too but don't pack that in your carry-on!
2. POWERBAR AND AN HDMI CABLE
Often you're stuck with fewer outlets than chargers, or forced to use little outlets that attach to the table lamp. Plug in anything too intense, and you're bound to blow the fuse. This is why I suggest you travel with a powerbar so that you can run your laptop, phone charger, alarm clock and iron at the same time. Managed to score a nice flatscreen TV? Chances are it's got an HDMI input. If your computer has an output, the cable can be purchased for under ten dollars. Sit back and enjoy your Netflix from the bed!
3. WATER BOTTLE WITH A FILTER
Hotel rooms are dry but fear not. You can purchase a bottle for the low premium rate of five dollars a bottle. If you bring your own bottle with a filter, you've got water for the price of free, which is way better. Some hotels even provide a flavoured water dispenser in the lobby, which you can refill from freely!
4. PILLOW, SCARVES AND CANDLES
I tried the first leg of tour without a pillow from home, and after a couple of restless nights, I brought one with me the next time. It's well worth the space in your suitcase! Although most hotel rooms don't allow or advise the use of candles, they can help eliminate "hotel smell" that has accumulated over the many years and patrons. An air freshener or spray may be a better option for some hotels. A friend of mine brings her own scarves along to decorate couches and lamps to make sure her place always feels like home. Little things can make a big difference!
5. MAGIC CART
I didn't know what else to call this thing, but it has been my personal lifesaver on tour. It folds up into a little suitcase when not being used and is just the perfect size to fit into my trunk (we all have a trunk that travels with the sets and we can access it at the beginning and end of each city). When set up in all its glory, it is a plastic cube on wheels with an extendable handle. Suddenly those trips to and from the grocery store are a piece of cake. Laundry? No more dropping socks or refolding clothes. Really, you should get one. My cast mates are jealous.