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Q and A with Eric Ruiz from the Phantom of the Opera Tour

January 6, 2017 by CJ Schwartz
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Ever wonder what it’s like to be on tour with a Broadway Show? Eric Ruiz is on the road with The Phantom of the Opera and is here to answer all our questions about rehearsal schedules, exploring new cities, and finding time to hit the gym!

Besides performing in the tour as the Porter and the Raoul/Phantom understudy, you may have seen Eric onstage in King Lear with Billy Porter (King of France, Knight), Twilight In Manchego (Esau), South Pacific (Lt. Cable), The Who’s Tommy (Cousin Kevin) or on TV in General Hospital, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or The Good Wife.

Read on below to get the inside scoop!

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@xiaxiacrab: “Hi! I was just wondering how many weeks rehearsals do you need when a new cast member comes in? Thanks”

Eric Ruiz: New cast members will rehearse anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on their level of activity within the production.

@benross95_: “What’s a typical day on tour like? And what do you do on your day off?”

ER: Days off are for sleeping in AND naps, great dinners out; exploring local restaurants, longer time at home with the dog… sometimes travel happens on an off day, depending on the schedule. It’s been challenging for me to get out of bed and be active during the day (especially when it’s 12 degrees in Chicago right now!), as I really enjoy sleeping in, though I’m getting better at going out and seeing these great cities too! The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago was really, really great.

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@ladareon.copeland: “How much free time do you guys have to explore the city where you are touring? Do you have to make any drastic changes when you move to a new theater?”

ER: Most of our free time is during the day unless we are scheduled for an understudy review or other rehearsal, or if it’s a 2-show day. Because we travel with our own “deck” (what we call our stage that we perform on, which supports our set and is built about a foot above the actual stage of the venue we are in) and the support “trussing” system above us (which holds our lighting package, various set pieces/scenery drops and motors) is also ours, there is minimal re-staging in each city because we get to perform on the “same” stage, both above and below – which means, amazingly from city to city – there is not much that changes in the way it feels and looks from the onstage/spacing perspective.

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@acting_violet: “How many hours to you work a day including the show time?”

ER: A performer on tour can work anywhere from 3-12 hours/day, depending on the production, state of rehearsal or performance and demands of each track. Keeping in shape/gym/etc. requires additional hours outside of the minimum.

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@mario74gonzalez: “How do you stay excited and fresh performing the same script for so many consecutive dates without growing stale or disengaged?”

ER: Great question! Keeping it fresh and “alive” is always an interesting and personal journey for each artist. My best work is done when I’m not overthinking what I am doing in any moment, but trusting the work I’ve done in rehearsal and on my own. It is easy to keep the show fresh when you work mostly with other actors who are engaged and present with you onstage; the possibility that exists in every moment onstage for it to be something new or something the other actor or myself didn’t expect is something that excites me!

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@thatfaceinthemask: “Whats the hardest thing to do before opening in a city?”

ER: Finding the stage door so I can be at orientation on time!

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@taylor_marie298: “What is it like for anyone who brings their pet on tour?”

ER: Rewarding. I mean, there’s a lot of “to-do” involved. I don’t LOVE bringing Basil out for a walk when its 4 degrees outside, but I love my girl and I know this keeps her happy and healthy! I have met some of the coolest dog trainers and veterinarians across the country. I always say that when you truly want the companionship of an animal and are ready to handle that, it’s the kind of work that you want to have, and doesn’t feel like work.

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Huge thanks to Eric (and Basil) for giving us a look behind the scenes of what it’s like to be on tour! Check out more about tour life on Eric’s Instagram.