Sunday, October 23, 2011

What's Been Keeping Us Busy?

As part of a "behind the scenes" look at our everyday lives at the theatre, we have created a video blog (or a vlog, if you will) that chronicles getting ready for our production of Wizard of Oz and some of the various concerts and events. Check it out- warning: sometimes fatigue produces silliness.







Saturday, October 01, 2011

40 Never Looked So Good

40 years ago today Walt Disney World opened. Even though I was not born, it was a day that would change my life forever. Nikki's too- her's was change by association. Happy birthday, friend!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Congrats to Robert & Amanda (and some kudos)

I should be in bed right now, but as usual... I can't get sleepy. I have been running like crazy since two weeks before Guys and Dolls which opened on June 23 and closed two weeks ago today. Sometimes it happens like that- you get a buzz and it doesn't leave for quite some time. Yes, I am tired, but not so tired that I have to be a baby.

This weekend (the whole week for that matter) was very full. Fourth day of a four day concert on the Fourth of July, after a four day show run the week before as well. Building a little show called Narnia in the next three weeks. Three trips to the airport in Atlanta in three days and one to the airport in Asheville as well- not all me, but making sure the transportation and people are all arranged properly. A wedding (more about that in a bit) rehearsal on Friday night, wedding on Saturday afternoon, concert on Saturday night and a bus load of folks back to the airport in Atlanta Sunday morning. Why do I write all this? Someday my future physicians will need to look back and this and read why I am in the state that I am.

The wedding (because all the other is much less interesting) was a wonderful experience. Robert Jessup and Amanda Munger became Robert and Amanda Jessup on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Nikki and I "coordinated" the ceremony, however, Amanda had already done all the work and so we just had to show and carry on. It was a reversal of roles, if you will. Usually it is my vision and Amanda carries out the production. This time, I was her stage manager- as a visionary, I will give her an A plus.

No, beyond A plus. For those of you who might not know, Amanda did everything for this event. I mean everything, down to the creation of the dress, the reception center pieces, the invitations, completely all from top to bottom. At the same time she was working forty plus hours a week at the theatre and stage managed a major production less than two weeks earlier. To build a wedding from the ground up while working more than full time is as crazy as mounting a dozen shows a year. (We all seem to be surrounded by mutual crazy people.) Not only did Amanda more than excel at her job, but she pulled off a wonderful event with out even a hint of being a Bridezilla. To those of you that think you work hard, suck it. No comparison.

Nikki and I were honored to be a small part of that wonderful day. Very few people know what Amanda actually does when it comes to a stage production, not to mention the everyday running of a public theatrical venue and weekly concerts. After all, she spends most productions standing in the dark out of sight of the audience. This is the best way I can describe it: imagine doing a show is like baking a cake. I gather the ingredients, pick the flavors, the style of cake and frosting. You mix all those pieces together and toss it in the oven to bake, but if you just toss it the cake mix will drip and ooze into an uncollected mess. What you need is a sturdy, reliable cake pan. The best way to describe my working relationship with Amanda is she is the production's bundt pan- she holds it all together.

I have been to many weddings in my life. I love going to weddings, especially those with a good reception. The thing I always notice is the spirit. At Robert and Amanda's wedding, there was a wonderful peace and an overwhelming joy through the entire experience. They, without a doubt, were created for one another, because such joy cannot be faked or created out of nothing. Yes, I teared up.

The best part about going to all these weddings (the joyful ones) is it takes me back to my own wedding day. I have said so many times and will say many more that I have never experienced a day of such wonderful happiness. Just thinking about it I get the "good" butterflies in my stomach and more often than not, I catch myself thinking about that day and I realize I have a giant smile (like right now.) Very rarely is there a day that goes by that I don't regret something- I could have painted that better, made that direction cleaner, stood in the sunshine a little longer, only drank one dr. pepper, but when I think of the day I married my sweetheart, I regret nothing.

One time Nikki gave me a list of quotes all about love. My favorite one that best describes her and me is "love is like a butterfly, it settles upon you when you least expect it."

Many happy days Robert and Amanda!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Happy Number Two!

Two years ago tonight was the grand opening of The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. Congrats to the past and here's to the future!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Backstage With the Cast

Backstage with the cast of Guys and Dolls at our first full dress rehearsal. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lucky Be A Lady Tonight!

Guys and Dolls June 23, 24, 25 at 7:30pm & June 26 at 2:30pm! Great singing, dancing and lots of laughs- a Broadway classic!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Life is So Strange (but in a good way)

This was one of those weekends where I love my job. I always enjoy my job, but some times it is way too good.

For this whole experience to make sense, I need to go back over twenty years ago. It was the summer before I went into seventh grade and the Disney Channel was only a few years old. One particular day the channel was showing old retro editions of the Wonderful World of Disney. The episode airing that day was the Osmond Brothers and Kurt Russel opening the new Haunted Mansion attraction. I taped it (on VHS of course) and watched it over and over. The show was so cheesy, it was wonderful: the bell bottom costumes with fringe, the hair cuts and the whole "gee-whiz" attitude. To this day... amazing in every sense of the word.

Advance to May 20, 2011. The Osmond Brothers were going to be performing at the theatre. Wow, they must be really old. That's what I thought and I was right, but from the show they put on, you would never know. By far one of the best I have seen in the past two years. Nothing but pure bubblegum joyfulness. Not only that, they were some of the nicest performers we have met- they even tried to buy our dinner in Atlanta.

Coming from Branson, where the brothers are currently performing, they were flying into Atlanta airport with their band. Someone would need to pick them up, so Samuel and I headed down Friday afternoon with the shuttle bus for an 8:25pm pick up of the American music legends. I knew things were going to go well when the first thing they said when they got on the bus was, "Where is the nearest Chic-fil-a?" I kid you not...

Show was great (see above section of this post) and Sunday morning back to the airport. Since it wasn't late at night this time, they were very talky. I answered lots of questions about the area, the theatre and giggled under my breath when they got excited everytime they saw a veggie stand on the side of the road. To quote, "Wow, we don't have farmers markets in Branson." It was lots of fun to talk to them. After I felt like I wouldn't be annoying, I brought up the story of watching them on a re-run episode of the Wonderful World of Disney episode that summer before seventh grade. Not only were they excited to talk about it, but they told me all about the experience of how they filmed it and several other projects with Disney.

How crazy is life. Today I drank Dr. Pepper with those same guys with the silly haircuts and deep down, secretly in my heart if only for a brief moment, I wish I had fringe on my cuffs.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


If you don't already know I am a nerd, then where have you been?

I found this great picture of the construction of Spaceship Earth at Epcot, or as Nikki calls it, "the big, silver golf ball." This is taken from the rear of the attraction and you can see the monorail beams circling the someday to be park. The greatest thing about this photo is you can see the corkscrew design of the ride inside the sphere and realize how high you actually go.

Fun facts bout Nikki's second favorite Disney ride:

The geosphere is 165 feet in diameter, 180 feet high (it stands 15 feet off the ground), encompasses 2,200,000 cubic feet of space, weighs 15.5 million pounds, has an outside surface of 150,000 square feet, and is covered by 11,324-silvered facets on 954 triangular panels. The exterior tiles are made of Alucobond¨ material, a composite of ethylene plastic which has been chemically bonded between two aluminum panels. The name comes from ALUminum Composite BOND. This material can withstand the Florida climate and is self - cleaning. A specially designed gutter system prevents water from cascading off the sphere; rainwater is channeled through the structure and sent to underground drains, where it replenishes the World Showcase Lagoon. The pilings for Spaceship Earth extend far into the ground with a range of 110 to 185 feet.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Couldn't go all week without at least one post about this wonderful place.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three Years Ago Today Life Changed... So Good

Three years ago today I married my sweetie. By far the greatest decision of my life and the greatest day of my life. Each year we watch the picture show that we showed at our rehearsal dinner. Just in case you missed it two years ago, check it out here. The one thing you will notice is we are always doing a show or we are always at Disney World. the best things in life, I tell you... the best things.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Like Mother Like Son

Don't you hate it when you show up somewhere and realize you are dressed like someone else? I guess they're both afraid of being pinched today. Happy St. Patty's Day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just When You Think It's Safe

You realize the world is full of bigger morons than you first imagined. Note to self, create a pesticide for idiots.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lost Footage

I just discovered this lost footage of Nikki when she was younger. I am here to say rehab does work.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Babies

Now we know how puppets are born.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

"A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others."- The Tin Man

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Show Time

An absolutely de-lovely evening.

Complete with grumpy patrons. Maybe her panty hose are too tight.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

When Actors Aren't Around...

It's delightful, it's delicious, it's delectable, it's delerious, it's delima, it's delimit, it's DE-DIVA!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gettin' Funky

Nikki and I celebrated our birthday with a 1970's roller disco party (she didn't know till we drove up to the skating rink- tee hee) complete with a cake fitted for a funky-get-down-night.
Fun for all involved. I'm not sure who these kids are. I think they just snuck in and ate free food.

Andy's first time on wheels. Looks like he's getting the hang of it. Ok- maybe he's just hanging onto Nellie... or hanging on for dear life.
Rachel was a skating maniac. The wind could not even keep up with her.

Some folks came dressed. Kind of creeps me out.

Some folks just pulled out clothes from the back of their closet. Effie wore this exact outfit to the original Woodstock... and Abraham Lincoln's inauguration.

You bet your sweet bippy!

Freaks on parade. This is the reason certain folks should be made to report their history when moving into a new neighborhood.

Hoping it's ladies night...

Rachel and Amanda had a race to see who could break the sound barrier first.

Some of our little ones needed extra attention...

Like Camila with Rosie...

Like Alex (sans skates) with Rachel.

Some of our older ones couldn't make it all night. It could be the left over smells attached to the vest that are making her sleepy... if you know what I mean.

Birthday girl and fabulously fun foreign lady. She gets a bit of an excuse. Growing up in England, she didn't know that leg warmers arrived until the '80s. Everyone went home having lots of fun and happy...

Some folks just tried to get home and leave the freaks behind. Is she pointing to the door, police or a needle and thread so he can sew the button back on his shirt.
Thanks y'all! It was a great fun time. We need to do it again before we all are too old and get more sore than we were the following day or worse we collapse in the concession area like Effie.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

70's Chic

Peace out.

Happy Birthday Nikki (& Scotty)

Happy Birthday to the most wonderfulist girl in the world!!! Sadly, I'm not in this special photo with Mickey because someone had to do the picture taking. That's ok- just being there was pleasure enough. Here's to many more magical days!

Monday, January 24, 2011

35 and 38

So, tomorrow Nikki and I have a very special day. She will turn 35 and will turn 38. Who knew we were so old? Yes, we both look much younger than we actually are. I have been thinking alot about the past year- yes, it is true, the older you get the quicker the birthdays come. So many people used to tell me that and I would be sure, whatever. It is so true. Just yesterday I was a fourth grader picking out stuff for my Halloween costume and today I am only a few hours away from being two years away from the age of 40. 40?!?!??!?!?!? As the years go by, I am getting older. Notice I did not say older and wiser- if I were anymore wise, the world could not handle me.

Not long ago I was looking at pictures and found one of my seventh birthday party, held at the local Dairy Queen. I know I was seven and in the first grade because that year I had found a shirt with a brown seven on the chest and brown stripes circling down the arms. I had to have that shirt because it had a seven on it and I was going to be seven! Can you believe it? I was even wise back then. So anyway, I am looking at this picture (photographed in 1980) at my mom wearing her classic '70's polyester pants of checked fabric (everyone's mother at that party had them on- ask to see the picture sometime, it's great!) and I realized that in that photograph the age she is there, at my seventh birthday party, I am now (or will be in a moment) seven years OLDER than she was at that time! Hello mortality. When I look at my mom in that picture, I am her elder! What's even crazier, I have checkered pants too- not the polyester kind though.

To celebrate our birthdays, Nikki and I took a quick overnight trip to the ATL this weekend. A little shopping and a lot of eating. I bought a great pair of red tennis shoes to celebrate the fact I am now my mothers elder. I may look older, but my feet are going to scream youth. After working most of the day Friday, we headed out and went straight to one of our favorites, Bahama Breeze. Yum to the tenth. We went back to the mall, shopped a bit, though about seeing a movie but decided to go to Starbucks instead and get a nice frothy drink. While in line, I said I would like some dessert- Nikki had the same thought. We work together well like that. Tis also the reason I can see my cheeks when I smile. But where to go get dessert at 10pm? I'm not sure if you have ever had one, but I love the sizzling apple crisp at On the Border- wonderful. We head on over, not thinking that they will also be bringing an endless supply of tortilla chips and salsa. You may be telling yourself about now, but did they not just eat Bahama Breeze about four hours ago. Yes, we did. Do not judge me.

Of course, they bring the chips. Of course, I eat them and get a bowl of white cheese for dipping... and two more Dr. Peppers. Even though I was not hungry, I had gone after dessert and I was not going to upset my lovely wife by not ordering one to share. By the time I left that second restaurant with my second dinner complete, no amount of Nexium would keep my sensitive stomach in line. I had committed a terrible sin. I am ashamed. If Samuel drove the Lard A** bus instead of the Buzz Bus, I would have called that number and paid my four dollars.

On to the birthday, so I am turning 38. 38? Yes, 38. So in celebration, I decided I would create a list of 38 of my favorite things, in no particular order (except the last one- I saved the best one for last.)

1. No surprise: Dr. Pepper, however, let me be more specific. Dr. Pepper in a glass (not plastic, not a can) with crushed ice. I once had a little boy tell me in vacation bible school tell me that in heaven God will give us punch and cookies. I think Dr. Pepper and pizza.

2. No surprise: Disney. All things Disney.

3. Jazzy. He's grown on me and I actually think I will miss him when he runs away... I mean if he runs away.

4. Road trips: I love the destination, but I also love seeing the things on the way there... especially every chic-fil-a along the way. Which brings me to...

5. No surprise: Chic-fil-a. Need I say more. By the way, the best Dr. Pepper of any fast food restaurant. Perfect combination of syrup and seltzer.

6. My family: they are my cheerleaders. Even when I am stupid, which is very seldom, because remember I'm wise.

7. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Relaxes me.

8. Cds: I have a ridiculous collection of cds, mostly shows. I love to look at my cd shelf and see which ones have scratched covers. That's my way of seeing the "most played" cd. I also like thinking back about what was happening in my life when I first heard that cd. The first time I direct Annie, I listened to Ragtime a lot. The first time I did Beauty and the Beast, the summer of Tarzan. The Christmas I was having a strong disagreement with Nikki, Chicken Little. Read into that what you must.

9. The color red. I've always liked red, bright hurt your eyes red. I have, however, only owned one red car in my life. Perhaps the next one?

10. Wind in the summer: Not hurricane wind, but a brisk breeze, especially around dusk.

11. The smell of fresh asphalt. It reminds me of my childhood. Yes, we used to play around the tar plant. Just kidding, it reminds me of a campground we would go to. Yes, I used to camp. Used to is the key phrase. When your little and your parents tell you something is fun, you usually believe them. When you get older, you can form your own opinion and about camping, I have.

12. Oprah: I've never thought of you as inspirational, if anything I blew you off, but your new network is my newest favorite guilty pleasure. I also have new respect you, Oprah, except for that whole Obama fiasco.

13. Shorts: I hate pants but since it is inappropriate to walk down the street in your underwear, I enjoy a good pair of shorts. From looking in my closet, plaid seems to be the color (?) of choice. Must harken back to my seventh birthday party.

14. Laughing till I cry. I put a lot of pressure on myself. Sometimes, especially when I'm tired and Nikki is under the influence of Tylenol PM, I get so giddy I can't breath. Nikki is really funny (or mean) when she is sleepy.

15. People who are confident in their abilities. If you are good at something, show me, don't tell me. Confidence is not intimidating as most people think, but comforting. Especially if you are a dentist.

16. Cool Ranch Doritos. I remember being in the first grade listening to a record storybook of Star Wars (you know the kind where you turn the page when you hear the chimes, but since this was Stars Wars, it was an R2D2 beep) while eating Nacho Cheese Doritos. I thought life could not get better, then came Cool Ranch Dortios. I haven't looked back since.

17. A show or movie that I can't shake for days after viewing it. Be it funny, emotional or just so well done that I can't stand it. Which leads to...

18. Movie soundtracks: I sort of covered it with my cd likes. I love a good movie that makes me go out and buy the score right after or the very next day. I get a lot of my stage ideas from listening to music from movie soundtracks- those without words. One of the most vision inducing: the movie Dinosaur. Yea, go figure.

19. Cream Cheese goes good with everything. Even Cool Ranch Doritos. Yes, I have tired it.

20. Spanish moss hanging from trees.

21. Palm trees. I love Florida, and not just because of Disney. You may say other states have palm trees, but not like Florida.

22. Here I go again, another reference to Disney. Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. Para to the dise and then some.

23. Adidas tennis shoes. Nike hurt my feet. Puma a great but for some reason I have to get at least a size larger. When you wear pumas, it is almost a mental thought of thinking you've eaten too much salt and now you have water retention.

24. Pineapple: it hurst my mouth, but wow, it is good.

25. Vinylmations: I did not know you a year ago, but you have opened my creativity. People may laugh and stare, but ours is a special friendship. My wife loves you too, although she doesn't want to admit it. Kinda like me and Jazzy.

26. Jesus loves me. He gives me so much more attention than I deserve.

27. The smell of laundry washed in Tide. Bounce fabric sheets too (fresh scent.)

28. Water color paints.

29. The Wizard of Oz is the greatest movie ever made. I love the lyrics to the beginning of Somewhere Over the Rainbow- not the ones you hear in the movie, but the lyrics that you can only see on some pieces of the sheet music.

30. Picture books. I don't read much, but I love to look at beautiful photos and illustrations. That's the way I read most newspapers. If the picture looks interesting, I'll give the article a chance.

31. I love it when I can make people excited. You can tell when it is genuine and when it is out of courtesy. I only like the genuine. Notice I said excited instead of happy. Excited is about forty-three steps beyond happy. Happy is one ingredient in the cake of excitement.

32. Nerds. Because they make me feel better about myself and give me confidence. Some may say that I am a nerd, but I scoff at you and ask my vinylmations for their opinion.

33.City buildings at night.

34. Having my calves squeezed. Most people have tension in their shoulders. All of my stress goes to my calves. To squeeze them is to make me buy you a car.

35. Wedding photos of Nikki and me. By far the happiest, most fun day I have ever experienced. There is nothing about that day I would change or do over.

36. My parents house when you first walk in. I love the smell, the thoughts, the memories. I love how being there makes you feel like everything will always be perfect.

37. Showbusiness. Everything about it.

And finally...

38. My Nikki. There is no one else I would rather share a birthday with, or a life for that matter. I know there are three reasons I was created. Two of which are a whole other blog. One was to love Nikki. Before I was born and I was nothing more than a spark in the hand of God, He knew He was creating me for the purpose of loving Nikki. For years I knew the other two reasons, but until number 35 above, I didn't realize the third. How appropriate that the day I was born is also the day she was born. How funny to think that in the many years ago on my third birthday, my future was being set into motion. She is my best friend, my secret keeper and my reason to breath. Every night when it is time to go to bed and cozy up in the covers, I get an excited jump in the pit of my stomach- it feels like Christmas Eve every night. She's the greatest! It also helps that she likes, chic-fil-a and doritos too.

So, 38. 38? Oh, who cares. Where's the cake?!?!?

PS- I'll pull out that picture of me in the "7" shirt at Dairy Queen. You'll agree, it was quite magical.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

From Kathie Eldredge

See, I'm not the only crazy...

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's De Lovely!

New promotioanl video for the upcoming performance of De Lovely, a delightful dinner show featuring the music of Cole Porter. February 3, 4, 5 at 6:30pm.

Tickets are available now at the theatre box office or by going to

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blow Your Socks Off!

This is a video of the new night time show at the Magic Kingdom. It began last night and looks spectacular. The photos are of guests from the park during the day. The amazing thing is the show looks animated, but it is all done with projections and lighting onto Cinderella's Castle. People wonder why I am so obsessed with that place, but one look at this video and the creativity and technology involved is enough to make your mouth drop open. Absolutely amazing- I can't wait to go see it live.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Year, New Design

Decided to change things up a bit.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Great food, great company, great laughs, great time, great New Years Eve!