Thursday, November 19, 2015

Being Tourists.

Justin came to Chicago last week to see my show. Thankfully, I had several days off to explore and act like a tourist with him. I think the cold was a little shocking to him. The kid lives on a paddleboard in the sunshine so I got some pretty funny texts when he landed at O'Hare. Most of this visit revolved around food (we walked a ton!) and I was thrilled to be able to introduce him to my fav city treats. 

We started with Millennium Park, where an ice skating show was happening.

I'd pick him first ; )

After we took the obligatory Bean pics, I showed him where I work, and then we made our way to Giordano's. I can't really eat dairy so I ordered spaghetti and Justin ordered this yummy deep dish. 

He had never been to Magnolia Bakery (what?!) so I hooked him up with a cupcake and the best banana pudding in existence. 

A few days later, I made him try Sprinkles.

And Shake Shack...

I didn't get the chance to visit Eataly when I lived in NYC so it was fun to finally check it out here. We got some fancy little coffee layered with hot chocolate. 

The food there looks so good. I don't think I'll be trying the octopus any time soon though.  I really hope I have an opportunity to go back for lunch, especially since my roomie works there. 

One of my favorite things we did was have a few drinks on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building in their Signature Lounge. We went early (around 4pm) and all of the window seats were already taken. Luckily, someone left and we moved for a better view. 

The apple pie martini is delish. What a romantic date! I loved being on top of the world with my love. 

Justin's cousin lives here so we were able to have dinner at a good taco place with he and his wife. On our last night together, we went to one of my old favorites, Grand Luxe Cafe. I know it's a total chain, but it is great and they give you enough food for like two days. 

I had the perfect opening night weekend and relaxing vacation with my love bug. 
The countdown begins again...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Opening Night.

Opening night of The Merry Widow at the Lyric Opera of Chicago was magical. We were given nice little gifts and goodies prior to the show and copies of our beautiful program. It is so fun to see my headshot and bio in there. I had been a bit stressed the week leading up to opening, but for some reason I was totally calm. Everything went well and felt like a dream. Our audience was so responsive and seemed to really enjoy it. Standing O! Reviews were pretty good, especially for the dancers. Click here for the one from the Chicago Tribune. I had the love of my life in the audience and I'm happy that he finally got a glimpse of my world. He was so cute getting ready before we left and took longer than me haha. He looked really nice. 

With the legendary Susan Stroman. I am so happy that she picked me for this show. Her choreography and vision are beautiful and she was a joy to work for. 

After the show, Lyric threw a nice party to celebrate.

My handsome date. 

Everyone in the cast is so talented. These two beauties both danced for Radio City. 

Ashley brought her mom to the party and we found out that our moms were sorority sisters at the same university. Small world. 

With our Danilo, Thomas Hampson. 

Click here for the promo video for our show. We have 8 performances left so get your tickets now!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dress Rehearsal

This week has been a whirlwind of tech and dress rehearsals. We ran the entire show without stopping yesterday when friends, family, and press were invited to attend our dress rehearsal. Performing is so much fun, especially with big names like Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson. Everything went pretty smoothly until the very end of the show when I had a little costume malfunction. The heel of my fab LaDuca boots got caught on my skirt and I almost went down. The show must go on though! Probably wasn't as bad as I thought, but still embarrassing. The costumes we get to wear were beautifully designed by William Ivey Long. My favorite is my Act II costume which is what I have on in the first picture. Our official opening is this weekend. I can't wait!

Saturday, November 7, 2015


I am having the most incredible time in rehearsals at Lyric Opera of Chicago for The Merry Widow. We learned pretty much the entire show within 4 days. After we had all of the choreography down we started rehearsing with the singers. I am blown away by the amount of talent involved with this show. Susan Stroman is our amazing director. She came to rehearsals already knowing our names and gave us big hugs. Her choreography is beautiful and I feel so pretty performing it. We are doing our first run of the show in costume tomorrow. This week is also our final dress rehearsal. 

Getting around this city has been a bit of a struggle since they are doing a lot of construction on the train routes. Overall though I think Chicago is beautiful and clean. A lot of my NYC food favorites are here including Pret, Magnolia, Shake Shack, and Bloomingdales (looking forward to getting some peanut butter froyo at Forty Carrots). I can't believe it has been 6 years since I visited. The last time was for the Rockette audition in 2009. I actually auditioned in the same building and room that I auditioned for this show in. 

During my time here, I am staying with my former cruise ship cast mate, Kevin. I had missed him so much and we had fun celebrating our 2nd Halloween together, on land this time. One of the singers in our show also had a party and it was the best party I've been to aside from a wedding. It had a haunted mansion theme with the yummiest food, drinks, and desserts. 

I have always loved the rehearsal process. I think the most interesting and perhaps most challenging part is taking the show from the studio to the stage. There are many new elements to consider in addition to all that you've spent so much time on. Yesterday, we saw our gorgeous Act III set for the first time. You have be fully present and thinking about what you are doing at all times so that you don't get hurt. Set pieces and props enter and exit the stage all while you are dancing and being lifted around. It is thrilling!  

Showing off our lovely new LaDuca boots. 

Sajen and I became fast friends and have had fun exploring the city from the farmers market and shopping to Magnolia Bakery and the bean. I love my cast!

This house is gorg.

I look forward to going to work every day and Lyric has made this the most enjoyable experience. Not one day has felt like a job. It is a dream. Everyone in the cast has been professional and great to work with. The Merry Widow opens one week from tonight. My boyfriend will be flying in for opening night in a few days. He has never seen me perform so I am beyond excited. I can't wait for my dad and hopefully mom to see as well. 
For more information and tickets click here