The New Orleans liver crash


Our time in Tampa whizzed by too quickly. The sun graces us with heat and a squinting smile every day and we returned the favor with exposed limbs and excessive lounging at the pool. I had not a single remarkable meal in that fair city, but left with sweaty memories of an evening spent spiraling down the rabbit-hole that is Ybor City.


Ybor is the old Cuban part of town, if you’re unfamiliar, take a stroll. It’s charming, filled with shops, and a bit touristy. On a day-trip to find a woven straw hat (success!) a castmate and I noted all the clubs lined up along the strip. We vowed to come back after a show, we needed to dance.

Our adventure began at a cat-themed, thumping, industrial club, whose clientele were mostly under 21 and dressed like tramps. We wore wrist bands demarcating our age, flashing them like neon scars to scare off the jittery youth.

We left that silly club within the hour and fled a few blocks north to a partially hidden stone building called Castle. What awaited us within we could never have guessed. Larry and I approached the door, paid our paltry $5 entrance fee (NYC, take heed), then ascended paisley patterned stairs surrounded by chess-board wall paper. When we crested the staircase, we stood at the mouth of a glowing dance floor, lit partially by three overhead screens looping a sepia-toned silent horror film.


The dance floor was filled with grown-up versions of high school archetypes: The greasy haired boys in wide-legged jeans, the pale girls in corsetry, costumes and makeup; alter-egos flaring. Castle is a goth-club, and if you ever pass through Tampa you’d be a fool to skip it. The night was as baffling as it was exhilarating, the DJ spinning Korn, John Maus, Depeche Mode and The Cure.

Tampa, thank you for the dance.




New Orleans, you’re a wicked mistress.

I was nervous about my week in New Orleans. Before I arrived I had amassed a list of restaurant suggestions so lengthy I’d need a month to accomplish such eating. Nevermind, I set my eyes on the map and planned out my 7-day descent into gluttony. Upon landing I was immediately whisked away from my hotel by my dear friend Caroline to a standby in the French Quarter, Felix’s, where I ate 6 raw oysters and a bowl of gumbo. To be honest, the platter of chipped ice presented half a dozen bloated, utterly flavorless oysters and the gumbo was so aggressively salted it could only have been served to a tourist, but it was an authentic New Orleans experience and needed to be checked off the list.

Caroline was determined to give me an insider’s look at New Orleans so she drove me to a club, Mimi’s in the Marigny, which has a bouncing second floor on Monday and Wednesday nights. We ascended stairs to the sounds of classic French guitar jazz, muted nylon strings, an upright bass, a singer in a tight pencil skirt at a microphone tuned through ancient equipment to send sound waves from another generation over the dance floor. Caroline is an excellent swing dancer and she pulled me into the most charming world I’ve visited in ages. Everyone was bouncing, many of the couples were moving with such carefree precision it was impossible to look away. Caroline insisted that we dance together, and, while swing is not my forte, we had a wonderful time.

The next few days found me repeatedly at Lüke’s happy hour (50-cent oysters), a fine bistro in John Besh’s empire. To accompany my oysters, one night I ordered a braised pork shank with choucroute and another night hoarded a jar of rabbit and chicken liver pate to myself while the table watched in awe of my spoon-filled obsession. All of Besh’s places have fantastic mid-afternoon specials, hit the bar between 3-6 if you can.

 I ate pork cheeks and wood fired oysters at Cochon (determined to ingest the delicate sea creature in every form possible) and had my most memorable meals at Maurepas. Maurepas prides itself on locally sourced everything and it shows. My first night there I dipped my toe in the ocean of their delights, some roasted beets, bubbling brussels, an arugula salad with chicken skin and grilled flounder. On my second trip I took three compatriots, less for their company than their stomachs. With extra bodies in tow, I could feel no shame in ordering nearly the entire menu for sampling. 

We began with their cocktails, concoctions so foreign I had to survey their anatomy twice. Rye, caraway, lime and house-made bitters in one. Cachaca, Arrak, curry and lime in another. We sipped and passed, too eager to try each flavor to care about cooties. With the support of the table we ordered the beets, a roasted carrot salad, braised collards, grilled broccoli, and grits whose texture approached the mouthfeel of a marshmallow. We were stunned. 

As our entrees arrived we were delighted to find the bar makes their own ginger beer. A round was ordered for the table and as the sparkling glasses arrived our eyebrows lifted in mutual astonishment. A sip took me straight to the root, to the rhizome, of the drink. It tasted of such fresh ginger we could not stop our eyes from widening with every drink.  

When we had finished the meal I looked around the table to find a sea of clean plates. The white square dish that once held our beets was smeared in their blood and flecked with the bright green oil of a fresh parsley dressing. It was, perhaps, the prettiest massacre I’ve ever seen.

My heartfelt thanks go to the staff of Maurepas who treated us like family every time we walked in the door. Should you find yourself in New Orleans, make a point of eating there (at least once). My wallet is significantly thinned after this week of gluttony, but my tastebuds will repay the debt threefold for what I’ve tasted in New Orleans. Next up: two weeks in Ft. Lauderdale on the beach, a perfectly cucumbersome way to detox.

I’ll let A.J. Liebling finish this post for me, his sentiments ring true decades later:

“If the first requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite, the second is to put in your apprenticeship as a feeder when you have enough money to pay the check but not enough to produce indifference of the total.”


Too true.


The Atlanta-Baltimore Wormhole

The day I’ve dreaded since the beginning of this tour has finally arrived: I forgot my home address. I was filling out some paperwork for the show and when it came time to write down my zip code I looked in every dark corner of my mind only to find cobwebs and cakecrumbs. This life on the road has finally caught up with me and left me neatly unhinged from reality. I had to google my apartment to figure out the final bit of my address, in time I suppose I might forget all of it at once!

From injurious Wilmington we took flight to Atlanta, looking forward to warm(er) weather and a new theatre. We played the Fox and stayed directly across the street at the charming Georgian Terrace. When we checked into our rooms we were all blissed to find full kitchens (with dishwashers natch) and, tucked behind accordion doors in the bathroom, our own washer and dryer! My excitement at these luxuries paints me as a true homebody, and though we were destined to leave Atlanta at week’s end, I intended to make every use of those machines.

I’m beginning to find routine in my travels, the first task that needs attention upon landing is grocery shopping. In Atlanta we walked to the local Publix and fetched goods for the week. With a full stove and oven at my disposal I aimed for the moon and bought chicken thighs, oxtail, black beans, red wine, herbs, broccoli (to be roasted), collards (to be braised), and eggs for my breakfasts. Back at the hotel I strapped my apron to my waist (yes, I am traveling with my favorite apron) and simmered the chicken thighs in garlic, onions, black beans and chili paste. A home-cooked meal was precisely what my lagging spirit needed, I invited a castmate over for dinner and we refueled.

The Fox theatre in Atlanta is gorgeous, the lobby and house are dressed in a North African theme, tents and geometric patterns, hanging lanterns and a domed ceiling painted deep blue with twinkling stars puncturing its breadth over the audience. The house seats nearly 5,000 and we had hearty crowds each night. Unfortunately, as in Wilmington, we had no backstage space and had to run down a flight of stairs to cross underneath the stage, only to climb another flight on the other side to re-emerge on stage right. It was our most challenging space yet, I was running laps, shedding costumes as quickly as possible, and still barely making it onstage for some scenes. I was not sad to bid adieu to the Fox.

From Atlanta we flew Northeast to Baltimore and were warned upon landing, “Please do not walk to or from the theatre alone.” Baltimore has gained certain cultural cache since The Wire was on the air, and indeed, parts of the city resemble that show too closely. We played the Hippodrome in Baltimore, and were once again granted the luxury of backstage space! After two weeks of insanity underneath the stage, we breathed into the show and felt relaxed and comfortable in our performances again.

Lessons from the road thus far:
Chicken Marsala exists only in hotel restaurants. It has been forgotten, by and large, in modern cuisine, but rest assured, it is being prepared with an indelicate hand across the country in generic dining rooms on the ground floor of nearly every hotel. Do not order it. Simply marvel at its farmed life in captivity. It has absolutely died out in the wild, good luck spotting it on any menu in a large metropolitan city, but these hotel dining rooms act as zoos for forgotten foods. They’re raising old dishes in captivity, awaiting the day when they’re strong enough to be re-introduced into the wild, back to the public. Don’t hold your breath.

We live in a wormhole, touring for 6 months. Every week starts over again, we perform the same show, with the same costumes, with the same people, but in front of a different audience, in a different city, and sleep in a different hotel. Every Publix has the exact same layout. Walk into one in Atlanta to find the bakery on your left, and you’ll find the same bakery on your left in Tampa. It makes one feel insignificant, that we’re traveling outside the confines of the universe and for the next 6 months we’ll leave neither fingerprint or foot trail. For all intents and purposes, we do not exist, we are operating outside the laws of reality.

I’m happy to be a traveling artist, this life is connected in some grand way to the vagabond theatre troupes of earlier centuries. We move from city to city, telling our story, awaiting applause, ending the night at a bar or tavern or pub, reveling in each other’s boisterous company. Locals are excited to meet us, hotels are thrilled with our conspicuous consumption, we are happy to be employed as professional story tellers. This week we settle into the sunny coast of Tampa, FL and then onto New Orleans. The cycle starts again tonight, cheers to my 7-day life.

From the road,


What a feelin’

Like most actors, I make a habit of attending open calls. It’s dreadfully unpleasant, but in truth, these packed rooms full of insanity are our version of a batting cage. Rarely does anyone book a job from a cattle call, but to skip them is a mistake. I always like to say that my job is auditioning, booking a show is the bonus. Open calls are the best place to sharpen your skills, they also (coincidentally) can make you lose your mind.

Imagine: a room full of actors, some in the union, some not, waiting for hours to sing a 45-second blip. The women, more often than not, carry with them enough gear to take a small vacation. As you look around the room you’ll see oversized Poppins bags, rolling luggage, backpacks and other purses. These are the suitcases of dreams. Inside? Heels, flats, tap shoes, jazz shoes, dresses, skirts, tops, makeup for a circus and enough curling irons to twist the world once over.

Is the equipment necessary? Do they ever unpack those dreams? Are the cases left packed, waiting patiently by their front doors for the next (inevitable) open call?

I’ll never know, it’s much easier being a boy.

In September I zipped by the Flashdance open call, my agent hadn’t been able to secure me an appointment (that’s the other kind of audition, a much more pleasant experience). I assumed the room would be filled to the brim with women in legwarmers and men in, well, men wear the same thing to every audition. So I expected women in legwarmers and men in jeans and a button down shirt.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the room nearly empty (though I also had a moment of panic that I was in the wrong place). I put my name on the list and was seen not ten minutes later. I joked with the casting director that she had a slow day ahead of her, then sang my requisite 45 seconds, smiled and left. As with most open calls, I assumed the show was already cast (this is too often the unfortunate truth) and went on my merry way.

The next day my agent called with an appointment. The casting director at the open call had indeed spotted me during batting practice and wanted to see me hit in a real game. Over the next 2 months I auditioned a number of times for the creative team, reading for a number of different characters and singing whatever pop ballad they threw my way.

I waited impatiently after the last audition, nagging my agents for information (they with none returned). Weeks later my agent called to tell me they had made an offer, but that she thought it was unwise to accept. Excuse me? Turn down work? Paying theatre work? Yes. The offer was to be an offstage swing (that’s why they had me read so many parts) and she wanted me to be onstage every night. She told the casting office as much and they said they were hoping to find an understudy position for me, but wanted to run the swing position my way first.

(Sidenote: Understudies are generally in the show every night, they are in the ensemble and cover another track. They’re bumped up if someone is sick. Swings are off-stage every night. They aren’t in the ensemble and they are the first to go in if someone is sick or injured. My agent didn’t want me to be a swing, she correctly predicted that I’d go insane traveling with a show, not performing and waiting for someone to get hurt.)

Again, weeks passed as I chipped away at my fingernails and called my agents all-too-frequently. I wanted to know what was happening with this potential offer, I have no patience. I went into panic mode, assuming that rejecitng the first offer was a terrible idea and I had made a rather large mistake. I emailed my agents to tell them I felt as much, they said to hang on.

And not 24 hours later they forwarded an email to me from the casting office requesting my presence at one more audition. The creative team was still trying to find a place for me in the show and wanted to remind themselves of my voice and reading. I went back in, and the following week I had another offer.

The news: I’m playing Andy, a featured steelworker (and a number of other colorful background characters) in the first national tour of Flashdance the Musical. Yes, this is the stage version of the movie that brought you Maniac, Manhunt, Flashdance, Gloria and I Love Rock ‘n Roll. We’re touring America for 6 months and if I’m coming to a city near you, I’d love to have you in the audience. The tour schedule is below, find me on the road!

We’re tumbling.

Here’s the official site.



Jan 1 – 6, 2013

Pittsburgh, PA

Heinz Hall


Jan 8 – 13, 2013

St. Louis, MO

Peabody Opera House


Jan 15 – 20, 2013

Louisville, KY

Kentucky Center


Jan 22 – 27, 2013

Grand Rapids, MI

DeVos Performance Hall


Jan 29 – Feb 3, 2013

Wilmington, DE

DuPont Theatre


Feb 5 – 10, 2013

Atlanta, GA

Fox Theatre


Feb 12 – 17, 2013

Baltimore, MD

Hippodrome Theatre


Feb 19 – 24, 2013

Tampa, FL

Straz Center for the Performing Arts


Feb 26 – Mar 3, 2013

New Orleans, LA

Mahalia Jackson Theater


Mar 5 – 17, 2013

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Broward Center


Mar 19 – 24, 2013

Nashville, TN

Tennessee Performing Arts Center


Apr 2 – 7, 2013

Minneapolis, MN



Apr 11 – 14, 2013

Spokane, WA

INB Performing Arts Center


Apr 16 – 21, 2013

Seattle, WA

The Paramount Theatre


Apr 23 – 28, 2013

Portland, OR

Keller Auditorium


Apr 30 – May 5, 2013

Tempe, AZ

ASU Gammage


May 7 – 19, 2013

Costa Mesa, CA

Segerstrom Center for the Arts


Jun 4 – 15, 2013

Houston, TX

Hobby Center


Jun 18 – 23, 2013

San Antonio, TX

The Majestic Theatre


Jun 25 – Jul 7, 2013

Dallas, TX

Music Hall