Wow. What just happened? One moment it's August and everything is lovely, fine, and humid, then this massive army of people shows up from Chicago and takes over our rehearsal hall and stage and then all of the sudden it's autumn and we have a 35 Below party where we launch The Hunt and a Community Membership reception and a South Asian Community Night and a Wicked Local Media Night and next thing you know we're performing the National Anthem at Fenway Park on a two-show day (and totally demolishing the Yankees) and then Richard Sherman is here to give an incredible Q+A/performance while we're also in rehearsal for The Power of Duff and here we are, on the official opening night of The Jungle Book, and we've already announced another extension for the production, bringing our really real final performance to October 20.
And that was just the last 10 days. (seriously? 10 days? that's it? Why did I just look at a calendar? 10 days?)
But mostly I'm here to talk about our incredible experience this past weekend at Fenway Park, where the cast of The Jungle Book was invited to perform the National Anthem at the 1:05pm game against the Vile Hordes of Neverending Evil New York Yankees.
Oddly enough, the last time a Huntington cast performed the National Anthem at Fenway was Candide on September 14, 2011 — two years to the date! Absolute coincidence; we chalk that up to some kind of mystical Mary Zimmerman magic here. We arrived at the park at 9:45am on Saturday morning for soundcheck. I've never been on one of those official tours of Fenway Park, but just experience of walking around the empty stadium and onto the fresh dew-covered field was incredible enough. After soundcheck, the cast indulged in a magnificent brunch at Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square (and yes, I am still kicking myself for not going with them). We reconvened on Landsdowne Street at noon, at which point we were taken deep into the bowels of the park, past the cage of the legendary Green Monster, and into the holding room, where we talked about the lineup on the chalk board and tried to figure out what this meant:
We waited there for a while, and then were taken out onto the field, where everyone danced around and took lots of photos and basically showed off to all the people in the stands (and maybe got yelled at once or twice for stepping on the grass. whoops).
And then the cast sang and it was beautiful!
Of course, by that point, it was already 1pm, and the cast had to do a show at 2pm (plus we're required to give them a full half-hour for prep), so we hightailed it out of there and ran around the park trying to find a ride (read: we went out the wrong Gate). Luckily, a friendly/possibly insane Old Town Trolley driver by the name of Crackerjack (seriously) gave us a lift over to the BU Theatre.
I'm not sure if I'm mentally prepared to talk about the journey, but needless to say, Crackerjack did deliver us safely (physically, anyway; still not sure about emotionally) to the BU Theatre, and the curtain went up at 2:17pm (we informed ticketholders ahead of time that we'd be holding til 2:15) for a fantastic performance! Plus the Sox beat the crap out of the Yanks, so that was nice.
Here's a little video montage of our entire Fenway Park experience, set to a totally original song that I wrote and recorded all by myself: