We're back from our first ever Second City boat adventure, back on land, back in Chicago...but just for a few weeks. Our time on the NCL Star ended on Sept. 18 and we'll be boarding the NCL Pearl on Oct. 17. It's not a ton of time in between runs, but we're looking forward to this next contract for several reasons:
- Finally a summer! - The Star went to Alaska from May to September. We missed out on Chicago's best season. We'll be on the Pearl sailing the Caribbean from October to February.
- Friends in the cast - Our friends Kevin and Carissa will be in the cast with us! We'll miss our Star cast mates, but it's nice knowing we have good friends there going in.
- Visitors - The Caribbean during the winter is obviously an attractive enticement. We already know we'll have visitors coming on the ship with us. Friends Jay and Kim, Mo's sister Briette and boyfriend Joe have all already booked, and several other friends are seriously looking into it.
But this is all in the future. Let me catch you up on the interim. As I mentioned, the Star contract ended on September 18. We were up early, like 6am, docked in Seattle, went through the various paperwork and processes to debark a ship. Made our way to the airport and flew to....Omaha. Why? Well, that wasn't the plan. We were flying to Kansas City to surprise friends and family and drop in on the KC Improv Festival. Well, a crazy thunderstorm in KC caused our plane to re-route to Omaha and me to nearly have a meltdown. Thankfully, the storm passed, we simply had a quick refueling session and were back on our way to KC with minimal delay.
So obviously we landed in KC later than we had hoped, but still had time to make it to the festival before my group, Der Monkenpickle, was scheduled to perform, thankfully we were going up last. We rushed to Crown Center, dropped our stuff off in the hotel room, quickly cleaned up and raced over to the theater. The show started at 8pm, and we walked in around 8:40. The second of four groups was on stage, and I was able to sneak backstage and surprise Ed, Jason and Jeremy who were under the impression I was missing this year's festival. It was so much fun to see their shocked faces, and we rode the momentum of the energy to a super fun and playful show. I love improvising with those guys, even if it's just once a year. We've known each other so long that it's just easy, you know? Plus, they're three of the most talented performers I've ever met.
The after-party was super fun, but kind of a blur. I was rolling entirely on adrenaline and caffeine. I was still getting my land legs, and would feel myself slowing listing to the left as I was standing around talking to people, it was very strange. It was really great to see so many old KC improv friends, though, plus some Chicago pals were there performing at the festival, not to mention getting to meet Jason's new girlfriend. Overall, just a wonderful night. Huge thanks go to Jen Roser (and her husband - patiently waiting for us at the airport) for organizing and keeping secret our surprise visit.
We spent the next four days hanging with friends and family, eating at all the old favorites (Minsky's, Yello Sub, Jack's Stack BBQ, etc.) and enjoying the first week off of a ship, getting to be outside at night, driving a car and showering in a space bigger than a broom closet. Now we're back in Chicago, spending this next three weeks seeing friends and enjoying home-cooked meals, swapping out wardrobe from the storage unit, starting rehearsals for the new ship show and gearing up to head out again for another four months. We got to perform with our friend Susan in her show "Messing With A Friend" at The Annoyance Theater, which is always a blast, and we'll be doing a night of shows up at Laugh Out Loud Theater. Of course we're open to sitting in with other shows as well, if anyone were to ask (hint, hint!).
OK, you're now caught up. So, who in Chicago wants to hang out?