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my kind of town

Chicago's Famed El Tracks
Chicago's Famed El Tracks

As a young girl I remember sitting around the television late at night with my pop and brother, watching Harrison Ford’s hiding place given away because he made a call using a pay phone that was under the El Train.And here it is. Like I said, Chicago.
I walked right under it today as I was looking for some food before sound check at the Oriental Theatre and got all excited, like I was meeting a star or something. You can’t really ask a train for an autograph, though, can you?

I have long looked forward to this leg of the tour, I have to say. As I was cabbing into the city I saw this large cylindrical building housing so many cars lined up in a row that it instantly brought to mind my older brother’s extensive matchbox car collection, and I was at once intrigued and nostalgic. I also liked the mix of the old and the new; the Renaissance Hotel newly refurbished, proving that it can keep up with the fast cars that now drive by even though it was there for the slower, horse-and-buggy pace, too; the grand old theaters and their proud marquees boasting the latest story that is being told right inside their doors, the amount of them in a row easily portraying what every actor really likes to see:

This is a theater town.
And if I had doubted that at all, tonight’s audience put it to rest. From laughing uproariously at poor Wrong-Arms Roy’s misguided dancing in the opening combinations, to peppering their applause with some hearty hoots and hollers at our final charge while singing in one accord, I’ve got to get this show, they were with us.

And there’s nothing like an expectant, present audience.
It’s funny, during my particular number (Sing!) the words are so fast and the rhythm so imperative that I try desperately to focus and push all thoughts other than Sing out of my head. You’d be surprised what tries to sneak inside my mind mid-number, but that’s a different post. So I was you know, doing my thing, trying my best to chronicle poor Kristine’s tone-deaf existence, when all of the sudden an overwhelming thought popped into my head:

I. Love. This.
Which was quickly followed with, Focus, Jess…!
But it’s moments like these that weigh a whole lot more than the aching feet, repetitively singing the word one enough times in a show to make it lose all meaning, the Sunday one o’clock matinees when seemingly every other person in the world is kicking it back at brunch, mimosa in one hand, the paper in the other…Because to be honest, I wouldn’t trade it. I love my job. I go to work and tell a story about individuality, authenticity, and being true to your calling. I get to make people laugh. I get to make myself laugh.

And hey, I don’t have to trade it, necessarily. At least not the brunches. I have figured out how to do my job and have brunch every once in a while.

Which is something I am planning on doing while here in Chicago. Brunch, that is. And my job, I guess, it being the very reason I am here and all.

Jessica Latshaw, (Kristine, A CHORUS LINE)