Thursday, November 13, 2008

The City That Never Sleeps. The End?

Once again, I am back on a plane. It’s no different than any other I’ve been on in the past 2 years, except for the size. It’s a small commuter jet with a row of blue leather seats on one the left side, and twin seats on the other. But for me, the airplane has come to represent one thing: change. Either I’m traveling home to get some rest and relaxation, or I’m traveling to another city to perform. There is change coming out of the air vent above my seat. I think this change smells like body odor. But I don’t mind it this time. Well, maybe I do. But all I know is that this small vessel is carrying me to something I’ve dreamed of for years: performing on Broadway.

Broadway is something of a modern-age performing Mecca of sorts. We all eventually make a pilgrimage to see what Broadway really is about. I’ve made the pilgrimage many times before. However, this time, my stay will be longer than a week, and I will be standing in the place where many of the greatest actors of the American Stage have performed. Incredible.

Who let this happen? Who let this former-computer-nerd-programmer who hated C++ arrive at the epicenter of American theater? Who knows? Well, there are a lot of people I know, but too many to thank. Just to be fair though, I want to thank my parents for sticking with me when I said I wanted to be an actor (they supported me no matter what I did), for understanding that I skipped out on fun activities to go perform (I think I have performed on my Birthday many times), and helping me in any way, shape, or form (thanks for sending me my mail and enduring a ‘internet-video-chat class’). I would never be here without you. Your constant reality checks and logical ways of handling problems have always pushed me to assess my strengths and weaknesses logically, and pushed me to always be the best I can be.

Meanwhile, today, I have my first rehearsal with the Broadway Company, and I will be reunited with tour veterans Miles and Eric G in the show, as well as all my New York pals. And yet, I leave Toronto with a heavy heart, as all my tour buddies will be going on to Denver and parts unknown without me. I send all my love and warmth to you, and all the best through these cold, winter months through very cold states. I know you, the audience, will take care of them for me.

So... the title of this blog is “Tour That”. And I think that for now, Tour That will be shutting down. I’ve blogged a lot this past year, and I hope I have filled your minds with what it’s like to live on the road. I have so many projects to start up, and you can follow my adventures there. For now, “Tour That” will go into retirement as I start my Broadway Career. But here’s a few links that you can watch if you want to stalk me, post “Tour That”:

You can catch me on Facebook and on Myspace.

Sometimes I blog about my thoughts at It’s a bit tech and consumer heavy, but if you’re a nerd like me, maybe you’ll get something out of it.

I usually post art (sometimes personal) photos on my flickr feed at I’m a photographer on the side, and I’ll probably set up a photography business in NYC in the meantime.

I am a twitterer. You can follow my professional announcements at , or get a bit more personal at

I’m starting up a few side internet projects which will launch in the next few months. I’m an avid videogamer (catch me on xbox live: taylorishere), and will do some videogame writing with some friends at

I also am fascinated by what people carry in their daily bags, so I’m starting a “What’s In Your Bag” blog at

Before I went on tour, I used to teach voice, so I’ll probably set up my vocal instruction business again after the first of the year. I don’t have a link yet, but watch out for that.

I aggregate all my content on, so if you don’t want to look at all those different pages, you can see all my posts in the same place there.

Thank you ever so much for following me, reading what I have to say, and replying to me. I love hearing from you, and will always try to reply the best I can. I wouldn’t be here without you.

Anyway, I’ve got a life to live, so watch out New York: here I come. See you there.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Maple Syrup and The Letter 'Eh'

Yes, it's been a long time coming for a new blog post, but that's because I've found someone. Someone who I can love, and who will love me back. She can be cold at times, but usually is full of life and fun.

Her name is, Toronto.

This place is fantastic. The streets are filled with people walking from place to place, the streets are clean, there is vibrance, commerce, and good food everywhere. Plus, the public transportation will take you anywhere (when it doesn't occasionally shut down). I think, if I wasn't in this business, I would consider trying to live in Toronto. It really is an incredible place.

But day to day, it's been such a treat. I feel like I have a bit of a life, and I'm not stuck in my hotel room because of lack of transportation. I'm even getting out and taking a few classes here and there.

I even got a Frankie performance!

Audiences in Toronto are very nice and polite.  Almost too polite at times: the first few rows sit down during the "bonus", and I just think "You're already standing up, don't worry, have fun!"

But, as usually, I will have to leave and move on to the next place. But, since there's a lot of things here in Toronto to discuss, I'll leave my points in a bulleted list:

  • Hockey.  I love it.  But the Toronto Maple Leafs are about as good as the LA Kings (both teams, not so good)
  • Tim Hortons.  It can be considered a nicer Dunkin Donuts, with sandwiches, cookies, biscuits, tea, coffee, and everything else.  It is a usual stop after dinner before a show.
  • Queen West.  For those who know Melrose Blvd in Los Angeles, it's a bit like that: a kitschy fashion / style shopping street.
  • Kensington Marketplace.  Once again, comparisons to LA: it's a bit like Venice Beach, without the beach.  Total hippie central.
  • Coffee Crisp.  A fantastic chocolate bar that we don't get in the states, but has the taste of coffee wafers.
  • A distinct Euro vibe.  It can be considered "America Lite" here, but there is a distinct European overtone.  Perhaps it's the vibrance in the streets.
  • Hanging out with other casts, like Spamalot, Dirty Dancing, and A Chorus Line.
  • "Triumph".  Steve Gouveia is a big fan of this Canadian band (and in turn, has made me a fan as well).  And they even came to the show!  Here's a video:
  • Kara (female swing) and Junior (crew) got married up here, and I got to photograph their wedding.  It was my first professional wedding gig!
  • Lots of escalators here seem to be broken.
Meanwhile, we've had some shakeups in the cast: Jamie Karen left, and to replace her, we have Jeremy's fantastically talented wife Jenny Lee Stern.  Zach Prince left, and to replace him, we have the energetic and solid Graham Fenton (who was a swing in Vegas).  And there's this new guy hanging around here named Ryan Strand... I wonder who he's here to replace...?

I hear there's an opening on Broadway for a swing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big D

Alright. I'm out of Dallas. To be honest, I don't have much to say about Dallas. I didn't really spend much time in Dallas. I spent a week in Los Angeles to get some R&R, but I really don't have much to report about Dallas except the following few points:

-The house itself reminds me of Sacramento / St. Louis, where as it feels as if the balcony is quite far away. Getting information out and back was interesting
-The first place I stayed was near Stemmons Freeway, where, on the first few days we stayed there, the front desk was held up at gunpoint and a car was broken into. After my vacation, I moved up to live with my Uncle in Carrollton.
-Driving in Dallas gets confusing. There are a lot of different on ramps / off ramps that go in different directions which don't feel like they go in the direction you want. Plus lots of toll roads.
- We spent a lot of time rehearsing for Toronto, so we didn't get a lot of time to get out. At least I didn't.
- The group who hosted us in Dallas were fantastic, and offered tickets to various Dallas locations, a fantastic opening night party, and catered food every day between 2 day shows! Thank you ever so much! We felt so welcome.
- I got to go on a lot, including a week of Hank the last week of Dallas.

Which means that Matt Bailey did a week of Tommy DeVitos. And Erik Bates went on vacation.

Otherwise, we were very busy gearing up for our big opening in Toronto! And here I am, and I really love it already (I've been here a day).

And in closing, I promised Ty (one of the folks who helped us get fed between shows) that I would mention her on my blog. Ask, and Ye Shall Receive.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Did some time in old Ohio

Well, I’ve now spent 9 weeks in Ohio (4 in Cincinnati, 4 in Cleveland, with a week of vacation in there somewhere), and I can now safely say I’ve escaped the midwest. I’m writing to you from 36,000 feet somewhere above Tennessee, on my way to our next stop: Dallas, Texas.

I use the word escape specifically. Ohio was not a cakewalk. Sure, our audiences were fantastic there, and especially got excited and vocal every time we mentioned “Ohio” (See “Welcome to Cleveland, you’re under arrest” and “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”). But the downtown areas of Cincinnati and Cleveland are a bit, barren, so to speak. These areas almost remind me of Downtown LA. A lot of concrete, but not a lot of action.

Cincinnati is the lesser black hole of the two, with some decent food and bar options in walking distance, as well as exciting things like “The Taste of Cincinnati”, which is a food festival downtown. Also, don’t forget the monumental Grater’s Ice Cream (I did not try the Sky Chili because I am not partial to chili or mountains of cheese). But try to venture out of a 4-5 block radius downtown, and you’re in a more dangerous area.

Cleveland was a bit more barren, where as the only thing around was the theater district. Sure, there’s the Warehouse District, and the House of Blues area, but it wasn’t as accessible as in other cities. Otherwise, Cleveland is going through a bit of restructuring. There’s constant construction on the main street, which has forced almost all commerce and people away from that community. So, most of us stayed at The Reserve Square, which many of us called “The BioSphere” because almost everything you would need was in the same building: doctors, a grocery market, a bar, a Subway, a [dirty] gym, and a free, thrice weekly yoga class (Thank you Jane!).

The real action in Ohio exists outside the downtown areas, in the suburbs. I got to see a lot of suburban Ohio, but I’ll leave that for later in the post.

So, there isn’t much to report on the cities of Ohio. Most of the action was happening in Jersey Boys itself. The first of which was the loss of our Lorraine, Holly Anne Butler. She gave her notice, and left at the end of Cincinnati. She had a great run, and we will miss her energy and spark. The second was our original Frankie, Chris Jones. You sir, are a warm, friendly spirit, with the work ethic of a freight train (the guy hardly ever called out!), and was always a pleasure to work with. I’ll miss you a lot, and I’ll see you both when I get out to New York. For those of you who don’t know, Chris Jones is now doing “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” with his Amazing, Technicolor wife Jenna Coker-Jones at Stages in St. Louis.

Holly Anne was replaced by our very own Sarah Darling (formerly Francine), and Chris Jones was replaced by our very (relative - see Vegas) own Joe Bwarie. They both have embraced the roles, and are wowing crowds with their new takes on the characters. To replace Sarah is a new hire, Miss Denise Payne. Denise is a great addition, and is a fun, bubbly energy on stage. You will all adore her.

And then, in Cincinnati, Miles got “the call”. The role of Norm “The Bag” Waxman on Broadway was played by Donnie Kher. But Donnie found a new job. So they called Miles “The Guitar” Aubrey to replace him. And we couldn’t be more excited for the guy! He’s off to join his wife in New York, and start a fantastic new life. And by wife, I mean Eric Gutman.

Just kidding. But Joe and Charlie are back together again. Hooray!

So, the reshuffling continues. To replace Miles, we have none other than our resident jokester-du-jour Buck Hujabre (who formerly played Knuckles) to take the mustache, collect the vig, and jam it up on guitar as Charlie Colello. To replace Buck, we have the new John Gardnier, who is a fantastic Knuckles, and a bright spirit. Congrats to everyone!

So, it’s a bunch of new faces, which is good. And Dallas won’t know what hit it when we blow into town!

This is getting long. Shall we continue?

To fill my time in Ohio, I booked a bunch of teaching gigs, including dance classes and improv classes (I’ve been doing improv for about a decade. Great to learn, and in my opinion, essential training for actors). So through my teaching gigs, I got to see the suburbs of Ohio, and work with the up-and-coming creatives. This included a week long session in Cleveland with the kids of the “Jersey Boys Camp”. Almost all the Jersey Boys Cast members came in and taught a class to the high-school aged students. The students were fantastic, and always surprised us with their creativity, warmth, and skill. And Dallas, if you want to book a class with us, contact our teaching agent at Broadway Connection. I love to teach, and it’s a great way to share what I’ve learned throughout the years.

I also made a venture to my family in Columbus, Ohio. My mother’s side of the family has roots there, and almost all of them are still there. My mother’s cousin was my proverbial “ship-director”, and we had a great time together having family dinners, visiting with relatives, and even taking a yoga class together. She also invited myself and a few cast members up to Catawba Island for some July 4th festivites. I couldn’t have asked for anything more!

Well, I think that’s all to report, other than, on my way out, quickly seeing a midnight screening of The Dark Knight (great), and a day later, Mamma Mia (make your own opinions on that one).

Time to head to Dallas for some heat, good-ol’ southern cookin’, and mechanical bull rides!

Did I misspell anything? I think so.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Singing Office

Hey, I know I haven't posted in a while. It's coming, but I just wanted to remind you all that:

I will be appearing on The Singing Office on TLC this Sunday, July 13th at 9pm (8pm Central)!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gateway To The West

I am writing this while sitting on a bus. I am surrounded by sights of lush, green flats, swollen waterways, and an expanse of road ahead of me. However, it is overcast: what a way to see the countryside.

But our run in St. Louis is over. 4 weeks of toasted ravioli, Cardinals fans, and living under the shadow of a giant metal arch. However, St. Louis has a few of the caveats of Tampa, with the ambition of Los Angeles. In St. Louis, if you want to get anywhere, you have to drive, and that makes life difficult when you don’t have a car. Getting groceries was sometimes quite the affair, as well as finding a movie theater. The infrastructure of St. Louis is very spread out, but they’re working on revitalizing the downtown area, which reminds me of Los Angeles: there is a housing initiative with plenty of lofts and housing available for those willing to pick it up. Anyway, I enjoyed St. Louis, but it transportation was tough.

St. Louis audiences loved us, but being that it was the largest house we’ve ever played, it’s such a different experience. You have to be receptive to the way the information hits the audience. The emotional beats are much different than being in a house of half the size. Furthermore, I got to perform as Frankie 3 times! And I want to thank everyone who emailed me after each performance. Your kind words mean the world to me. But that’s not the only exciting thing: Matt Bailey made his debut as Bob Gaudio with excellent skill, and Miles Aubrey returned to the stage as Bob Gaudio as well. They both rocked, and I’m very proud of both of them.

As for St. Louis items: I visited the Arch, but I feel like it's more epic sitting on the grass below, in it's shadow, rather than being up in it. The top feels like every other tall thing I've been in (Empire state building, Stratosphere, etc) Going up in it is a little wild as well. It's a very close quarters. Some describe at something out of Woody Allen's "Sleeper".

I tried toasted ravioli. I enjoyed it, but the health factor came into my mind. It's certainly a once in a while thing. The whole deep frying thing.

I had the frozen custard. Brilliant. I would have more.

I skipped the St. Louis style Pizza. They use Provel cheese. I think I rest my case.

Otherwise, I have arrived in Cincinnati now. Tomorrow is a free day for me to explore. I saw a camera store on my way in, so I'm very excited about that. Then back to work on Wednesday.

Alright, that's it for things on my mind now.

Don't forget, The Singing Office premieres on June 29th. Watch for me. I'm told I'm in a few of the commercials as well!

UPDATE: The Singing Office will be in early primetime (8 or 9 pm) once a week. The exact time slot is not set yet.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My friend, John Altieri

As you may or may not know, John Altieri passed away today from, what I believe to be, complications with pneumonia. Definitive information has been sparse, but what I can tell you is that he went peacefully, without pain, with his family near.

For those of you who did not know him, John was nothing but a golden boy. A free spirit, with a constant smile. A health-o-holic, who woke up at 7am to get a Yoga class in. He was a professional through and through. He was kind. He was mischievous. Whenever I was on as Mika, he would jump and attack me with a smile on his face just before we pushed out the yellow couch. He watched "24" with me. He was an LA guy, like me. He was a hiking buddy. He lived life to the fullest, and sought to seek out every last morsel of fun.

He was a true friend, a peaceful man, and lived life with joy and vigor.

Love to you, your friends, and your family.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Question time?

Hey, I thought this might be a cool idea: post any questions you might have about the show, The Four Seasons, me, etc, and I'll try to answer a few to the best of my ability!

Leave your questions in the comments. I will reply in the comments thread.

UPDATE: Please leave your name or something. It makes replying easier.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Arch Town

Well, Minneapolis came and went, even if I left a little early. I took my first week vacation on tour, and went home to see friends, family, did a little work as a vocal coach for TLC’s The Singing Office (coming this summer), and enjoyed the much needed warmth of Southern California.

I can safely say, that despite the cold in Minneapolis, a thoroughly enjoyed it! The downtown area is vibrant with commerce, people, energy, and... jeez, I sound like a promoter for the city. I missed some of the more suburban areas, but I did drive through a few times. The areas outside of downtown feel a bit like Melrose Ave in Los Angeles, where you can really walk and be somewhere. If you’re walking most places in LA, you’re not really anywhere, but in a chasm between one place and another.

There are a few moments that stick out in my mind:

Nathan, Matt, and I went to “Fogo De Chao”, a Brazilian BBQ restaurant, which is like a reverse gourmet buffet. Instead of you going to the food, the food comes to you. We had a great time, and a great meal. And I think the phrase “hit a wall” comes to mind in the amount that we ate. I feel a bit guilty.

A group of us sang The National Anthem at the Twins Home Opener against (my pseudo-team) The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Yeah, don’t get me started on the name... it’s a hot button issue in Southern Cali. We sounded great, the arrangement was great, and afterward, enjoyed a mild, lukewarm baseball game (not a lot of drama, not the best pitching, etc, etc). But we had a suite, and that, my friends, makes all the difference.

I got to hang out with the casts of Drowsy Chaperone and High School Musical, and learn how their experience is different from ours. And of course, we talked about business and the like. So whatever. I made some new friends.

The Mall of America is big, but a mall none-the-less. I did it. End of story. Sadly, I did not get to ride a roller coaster. The one I wanted to ride was broken.

Rock Like A Man was phenomenal! We sold over 200 tickets pre-sale, and had a full house the night of the show. Everyone was so fantastic, and it was a great release for us, as musicians and performers. It was just a night of us doing what we love, and sharing ourselves with the audience. I sang “Spirit of Radio” by Rush. When I first presented it to the band, and I’ll be honest, they sounded a bit intimidated. But at the performance, they were flawless! I, however, was not. In the beginning of the number, I was trying to feel the music and do my “rock” moves. However, I got a little to crazy, and the microphone came out of the stand! Trying to recover, I grabbed the mic cable, and tried to flip it up, Roger Daltrey style. That failed as well, as the mic came out from the cable! Thankfully, I was able to recover quickly, and regained my composure before the vocals started. I yelled the song a bit that night, but for me, RLAM wasn’t about sounding perfect. It was about having fun. And man, did we have fun. Overall, we raised over $11,000!

Aaaaaand, I got to play Frankie again! I love playing the role, and I had so much fun. My confidence was up, my voice felt good, and found myself feeling grounded in the role. I can’t tell you how much of a pleasure it is to work with the guys up there, and share the story with the audience.

So, I am actually writing this from my airplane seat, on my way to St. Louis. Who knows what Missouri will hold for us. My dad says it’s a great place, but I hope that holds true without having a car! All I can say is this: the forecast for tomorrow is sunny and 75 degrees. Hooray!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Snow

Alright, where I left off:

So we're here in Minneapolis, and for the first few days, it snowed.. for 3 days in a row. And for a guy like me, born and raised in 77 degree, constantly sunny Los Angeles, that's cold. I think it was 30 degrees. I know you live in a place where it's -20 all the time, but I have never experienced that... so call me chicken, it's cold.

But I've found time to explore downtown Minneapolis, and it's really great. Great night life, great bars, restaurants, etc. all within walking distance. Yoga classes at the YMCA, a bar right next to the theater. It's really great. But once again, the problem is the cold. I would be out taking photos or exploring, but it's just so darn cold for me! Thankfully Minneapolis has a skyway that connects different buildings, so you're inside as you cross streets. Oh well, hopefully it'll warm up a bit before I get out of here.

So, to look forward to here in Minneapolis: Singing the National Anthem at the Twins Game opening (12 cast members), and the Rock Like A Man concert, maybe hanging out with the casts of Drowsy Chaperone and High School Musical. Who knows. Minneapolis will be fun. But I'll be leaving early, as I will be taking my first vacation... hooray!

I'll be heading home to LA to do a little work on a project for TV. Not sure how much I can talk about it, but I will be a consultant for the show. I don't think you'll see me on camera (who knows, maybe you will... you guys have found my parents, and you'll probably find me as well), but it'll be a fun experience. I'll expose more as things get going, but based on legal stuff, I don't know how much I can discuss. I'll let you guys know.

So, Minneapolis is totally cool. And I don't mean temperature.

And big congrats to Buck Hujabre, who replaced Nate Klau out here on tour. He's a great addition, a great energy, and he started his run here in Minneapolis.

Alright, I gotta go sell tickets to RLAM. Later.