Did you ever wonder what it would be like to work on a touring children's production Kate Miller a local Clevelander who worked with Vee Corporation from 2000-2003 on Bear and the Big Blue House and Dragon Tales tells us what it was like to have this professional Stage Manager and Writer experience.
She tells the Examiner.Com that company managers are responsible for the whole tour while traveling, including logistics for the cast, crew and local staff members (box office, marketing people, building managers, IATSE crew, etc.) The company stage manager is in charge of making sure all travel is taken care of which includes: buses, trucks, airplane bookings and for booking hotel rooms for the whole company in every city. Managers also keep the tour within budget for each venue, take care of on-the-road human resource issues, oversee marketing activities like meet & greets and interviews, and act as a liaison for the home office in Minneapolis. All of this takes place while training in which can be anywhere from 8-14 months. Kate could not retire to the blue house with this position since she was in charge of the entire show.
Kate gave us an example of her past work schedule:
Monday- Travel by bus or plane
Wednesday- Load in, sometimes there will be a Wednesday night show, sometimes not
Sunday Afternoon/Eve- Load out - Pack up the set etc.
"Sit down" time in a city is usually a week, but occasionally there will be a "split week" where you'll do Mon-Wed in one city and travel close by for Thurs-Sun in another. It can get a bit hectic! Say's Kate.
Kate has many tales to tell as she traveled with the Dragon and Bear to multiple provinces in Canada and across the USA. Her favorite cities to tour were Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Lincoln, NE. The most memorable experience with the company are her life-long memories and friendships that she encountered while on tour. "The most vivid and beautiful memories involved her visit to Sandia Peak in the Albuquerque, NM area," Kate quoted.
"The tramway ride up the peak is the world's longest aerial tramway span. It travels a distance of 2.7 miles up the mountain and the view was absolutely amazing. The canyons and hills were breathtaking and the ride up (10,378 feet at Sandia Peak) ended in dinner at the High Finance Restaurant & Tavern. The food was great and the scenery was magical. But the icing on the cake was the trip back down as we watched the sunset. Gorgeous," said Kate.
For those who are interested in working with Vee Corporation; Kate mentions looking at VEE Corporation's website (http://www.facebook.com/l/2c145;www.vee.com)
"They look for strong performers that connect with the childlike innocence and curious wonder of our family-oriented shows. In addition, they invite performers to share the exhilaration of live performance with their young audiences. In a nutshell it encompasses family-oriented shows. All shows use pre-recorded tracks, performers do not use their own voices, unless cast as a live-mic performer. You must be 18 years old or older to travel with the show since shows tour for an average of ten months. They do ask the performers to commit to a full tour; they do not hire on a per city basis. Shows usually play one to three cities per week, with an average of nine performances per week.
The tours are primarily bus and truck tours, meaning the cast and crew travel in charter buses and the set, lights, costumes, sound equipment, and concessions travel in one to three 48' semi-trucks. A professional crew travels with each show, cast members DO NOT double as behind the scenes crew or company management.
So if someone wants to work as talent with VEE Corporation productions they will have to audition live and be video-taped that is used to evaluate the talent auditioning. The auditions are held in the corporation's home city of Minneapolis, MN and in various cities around the U.S.Audition information can be found on the http://www.facebook.com/l/2c145;www.vee.com website.
"As many Cleveland-area dancers and crew members have been through the VEE Corp tour machine. Jennifer Miller Glowe and David Glowe" are two that come to mind to Kate. Even though she did not work in Sesame Street her favorite character is Cookie Monster known for his big Goggle Eyes in which are so cute for both young and old fans.
Kate has one recommendation to young aspiring performers with hearts of children: "VEE Corp is a great experience for people with lots of energy and the desire to perform or work while traveling. You live out of two large suitcases for long spans of time, see LOTS of different places, and form friendships that will last a lifetime." Just as the memory of Sesame Street Live will live on in the memory of many Cleveland area children for years to come.