What a long and strange week this has been.
On Saturday, Laura arranged a Halloween party at a local bar for us after rehearsals...about half of the cast dressed in costume (assisted by the wardrobe personnel) and everyone had a really good time blowing off steam from the long week of rehearsals. Halloween is not celebrated in Germany, so we all got plenty of stares en route to the party.

At midnight, Brad and Jeffrey took Lydia outside. When she came back in, she was greeted by the whole cast was waving sparklers with a birthday cake as the centerpiece. The first birthday of the tour. The party continued until the wee hours of the morning, until the bar closed.
The following day was our last day off until the show opened - I slept until about one in the afternoon, then lazed around the apartment reading until much later in the day. A small group of us went into Hannover (about forty minutes by train) to get sushi and perhaps see a movie. The Japanese restaurant was excellent, but the only English language films playing were THE HAUNTING and THE RUNAWAY BRIDE...neither of which interested anyone present. So instead we just walked around downtown Hannover, stopping for coffee and dessert at a wonderful little cafe tucked behind the main church.
On the way home, we missed the Nienburg stop, and had to wait an hour to change trains at the next stop. This was a completely deserted area - only the train station, and a road leading off into the darkness. This was Halloween night and there was also a full moon. It really did feel haunted, especially when the German guard at in the station house started screaming at us in German over the loudspeakers -- apparently we were waiting on the wrong side of a low wire fence. German is not a meek sounding language, especially when shouted through a loudspeaker.
On Monday, the tech rehearsals started...and went on for far too long...we had 4 days in a row of more than "10 out of 12". This really strained the patience of the entire cast...several nights we didn't get out until midnight, only to be called again at 10am the next day. For some reason, the lighting designer has decided to light the set to look like Cirque du Soleil or a Motley Crue concert...and has the fog machines cranked up full blast for the entire show - which looks wonderfully atmospheric during certain scenes but decidedly inappropriate for many others. There is virtually no front lighting...every scene is played with very dim colored lights coming in from the sides...this combined with the extreme amount of fog makes it difficult to see the other actors on stage, as well as very difficult to breathe and sing. The director yells at the tech crew, who turn down the amount of fog for one show, but for the next run, it's back at full. This will obviously be a point of contention during the next few weeks.
The set, on the other hand, is beautiful. It was designed by a delightful older man named Leo Meyer who has a number of TONY awards at home and a number of sets in currently running Broadway shows. He also has more wonderful theater stories than anyone I have ever met, and his stories about Mae West kept us all in stitches one lunch day in the middle of tech rehearsals.
Our opening night was last night (although we did have two dress-rehearsals with audiences present) and all of the city officials were in the audience that night. Our producers came up onstage and presented roses and a glass of champagne to all of the actors, musicians and tech crew. Then we all changed clothes and went downstairs to the banquet hall where the mayor hosted a party for us. (Although the mayor had obviously gotten to the champagne first, so we received a very slurred congratulations speech).
Tonight was the last show in Nienburg, the tech crew is loading out and we get on the tour bus for Hannover for the "Gala Premiere" of the tour. So apparently there are two opening nights for this tour...we're not exactly sure what differentiates one from the other. But either way, the "tour" starts tomorrow.