Project Hotel Key – Ponca City, Oklahoma

Holiday Inn Express

Oooook-lahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain!

In case you wonder, Rodgers and Hammerstein did not pull that lyric out of nowhere. It is actually very windy here. After four long years in this state for college, I knew that already, but the same was not true for the rest of our company. I always know we’re in an exciting place when Lena starts squealing. This tour is her biggest venture out of Georgia. Any extreme weather turns her into a toddler, jumping around in circles with the dorkiest smile on her face. For me, I just turn my body against the wind and bundle up in my coat.

We’re staying in a cozy Holiday Inn Express in this windy city. As expected, it’s wonderful. Holiday Inns were not this nice when I was younger. Whoever came in to redesign them did a great job. The rooms ooze with class, but the decoration is so minimalist that it doesn’t overwhelm. I’m a major Holiday Inn fan.

The wind didn’t really get in our way until load in. The main components of our set are eight large walls that we have to carry off the truck and to the stage. This isn’t normally a problem, aside from the weight, but this wind turned our wall flats into kites, which threatened to turn each of us into Mary Poppins, flying away into the Oklahoma sky.

Favorite parts of the show tonight:

  • Slightly inebriated and very enthusiastic audience members in the second row. So supportive. I especially loved their dancing during our finale.
  • I completely blanked on an entire lyric in one of my songs. In the panic of realizing I didn’t have the next words in my head, I did what any good professional does: I improvised. I’m not sure, but I think the revised lyrics that came out went something like “La la la do dee da fi fo fum blah do wah.” I really don’t know how or why it happened, but I’m sure that moment of brilliance will NOT be happening again!
  • A really nice woman came through our post-show handshake line. She was a USO performer overseas when she was younger. She remembered moments when she sang when the audience would be completely silent. She told us that she didn’t understand why they were so silent until she sat in our audience tonight. I love hearing stories from audience members, especially from those who are so touched by our fun little evening.
  • Another interesting audience member has the biggest ball of rubber bands in Ponca City. If you have any spare rubber bands lying around, send them to the Poncan Theater! Just…kidding. Don’t do that. I think he’s a little touched in the head, bless his heart.

QUESTION: Readers – many of us have jobs that require us to speak or perform in front of large groups of people. Inevitably, we’re not perfect all of the time. Do you have a funny live-on-stage blooper story? If so, please share in the comments!

    • Deb
    • March 13th, 2010

    I was facilitating day 3 of a program in Florida several years ago and I was tired. I had a group that was having a hard time understanding what the problem could be with always being “nice” in relationships. To make the point that consideration needs to be balanced by courage, I told a story about a couple who got pizza every Friday night. The man always felt that he was giving in to his partner on what ingredients they got on their pizza. They got into a heated debate and he yelled , “No peperoni for you tonight”. My class cracked up, laughing more the redder my cheeks got.

  1. I wish I could have been there to see you! Hope the tour continues to do well. 🙂 ❤

    • I wish you could have too, but I know you’re having a hell of a time stalking Angela Lansbury in NYC! I expect a New York blog when you get back!

  2. Funny blooper moment on stage:
    My studio was performing at a dance festival in Dallas one year and at the very end of the number I was dancing in, I had to do a tombee pas de bouree into a switch leap at the end of the number. Well, I didn’t even get to the switch leap because I sprained my ankle half way through the pas de bouree. I still laugh about it because it’s ridiculous that I sprained my ankle and fell on stage doing one of the easiest dance steps there is. 🙂

    • Kendra
    • March 15th, 2010

    It wasn’t on stage, but it was a big slip-up in front of a room full of people. I was student teaching at Norman North, and I was running tenor sectionals with Chorale. We were going over their parts in Rotala, because they had to split into 5 parts for a tone cluster. The key signature was ridiculous, and I kept fumbling it. I apologized to them by saying, “I’m sorry guys, this thing is just so big I can’t get my hands around it.” There was a moment of utter, petrified silence while they all tried their hardest not to laugh at me. Their section leader looked around at all of them, looked back at me, and said, “I’m sorry about this Ms. G….. That’s what she said!” Pandemonium ensued, which is exactly what I deserved for saying something like that in front of a group of high school boys (tenors no less)!

    I am thoroughly enjoying these insights into your life! I’m glad to hear you’re doing so fantastically!

    • That is one of the best “that’s what she said” moments I’ve ever heard! I really feel for you!

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