by Kevin Carolan
You would think renting a car to go from Omaha, Nebraska to Sioux Falls, South Dakota would not be many people’s idea of an adventure (360 miles round trip). But I was a man with a mission. You see, South Dakota was the last of the 50 United States that I had yet to visit. So I wanted to make sure I did while I was still 50 years old, for obvious symmetry reasons.
I hit the jackpot three times when acting jobs set me off on the road in national tours: In 2005, as Amos Hart in Chicago; in 2014, as Governor Roosevelt in Newsies; and I’m currently playing Claude (and others) in the North American tour of Come From Away. I got to visit many cities in the U.S., and Chicago got me to Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, and Dubai.
Having the opportunity to visit cities more than once was a gift, as every stop has countless attractions and events to fill any available time.
And there were always surprises along the way. Sure, San Francisco has an infinite amount of things to do and is one of my all-time favorite places, but I was so happily surprised to learn that Omaha, NE could have access to such great seafood and antiquing or that Cincinnati, OH had such a vibrant live music scene (and a great arcade bar in 16-Bit) in its Over-The-Rhine district. And having the chance to see not only the Rocky Mountains while stopping in Denver, but the magnificent Canadian Rockies in Banff while traveling from Edmonton to Calgary filled me with wonder and awe.
Perhaps I feel most grateful on this particular tour, based on the message that Come From Away inspires. The story of a small town of people, coming together to care for complete strangers in a time of need is a much-needed tonic right now. There are beautiful, giving, caring people in every city of every state (and province). And if I can, I’d like to say hello to all of them.