Jason Daunter, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' new producing director, comes to New York with a ton of baggage… literally. Daunter spent the better part of a decade as a stage manager for the national touring productions of Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wicked. Daunter explores his journey on the road in a new solo show Because I Want To! which plays the Laurie Beechman Theatre Oct. 5-6.
He will be joined by Emily Ferranti (Wicked), Mamie Parris (Ragtime), and Bud Weber (Aladdin). He'll be backed by four-piece band led by musical director Jason Yarcho, who's also providing arrangements.
As the expert for keeping touring companies in line, Daunter offers up some wisdom he's learned while bus and trucking it all these years.
10. Know what you need to make you comfortable. Travel with your own pillow, request a room away from the elevator and make that hotel room home. I have redecorated Marriot properties across the country. Make friends with the housekeeping staff!
9. Try to experience the city you are in and get "local culture." I've played all 50 states but regret not making time to see Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful, the Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower) or the Liberty Bell.
8. Get lightweight luggage! Trust me, it is always going to top the scales with everything you put in it. Don't waste precious ounces with a heavy bag. Try to not go crazy and avoid retail therapy because you'll only have to store it somewhere.
7. Don't order a Patron and grapefruit in Opelika, AL. Just do something that comes in a can or bottle and call it a day.
6. Be open to people you may not usually socialize with. This touring world is a huge community of people. Get to know all of them from the wardrobe person to the bus drivers and merchandise sellers. They will be the ones who help you when you can't find your room at 4 AM (it will happen).
5. Capture the moment! You may only ever be in this state or country once. Take a picture of the theatre, write a blog or journal and log important milestones while on the road. These will be things you want to look back on in the future. It really is life-changing.
4. Phone a friend! Have someone outside the show you can talk to and vent when you get frustrated. Negativity can spread like a cancer so quickly. Don't get sucked into it. Remind yourself this is supposed to be what you LOVE doing. You are bringing your talent and gift to thousands across the country.
3. Hypothetically, if your hotel room is too hot in Pittsburgh, PA, in the dead of winter, call the front desk and tell them. Do not leave your window open. Hypothetically, the pipes in your room could freeze while you are at rehearsal and the show. They could burst and flood your room (along with other rooms on the floors below you), causing a major relocation of many hotel guests and leaving you with a ton of wet things. Hypothetically.
2. If you are offered a touring job, take it! This experience is so valuable if you plan to work professionally. You are learning on your feet and given a chance to do so while seeing the country.
1. Enjoy the ride. The experience is well worth it! I wouldn't trade it or the relationships I made for anything.
Daunter will perform Oct. 5 at 9:30 PM and Oct. 6 at 7 PM.
The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located in the basement of The West Bank Café at 407 West 42nd Street at Ninth Avenue in New York City. Tickets are $25 with a $15 food and beverage minimum. To purchase tickets, visit lauriebeechmantheatre.com.