May 28, 2022

The Fourthny

Art is beauty

Spokane’s Mike Eickmeyer keeps the props ready to go for ‘Hamilton’ national tour

5 min read

There are no exploding chandeliers in “Hamilton” and no boats or elaborate castles. There is not even a set that changes from scene to scene.

But that does not necessarily mean there is a absence of transferring pieces in the Tony Award-winning musical inspired by the lifetime of Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s initially treasury secretary. There are rifles, for instance, utilised in the fight of Yorktown scene, and dueling pistols, of program. There are beer steins and champagne glasses, tables, desks and chairs.

And there is paper. Heaps of paper, which appears to be proper for a display about a man who writes like he’s managing out of time. Copies of the Reynolds Pamphlet, for instance, and letters. Quite a few letters.

Trying to keep all these props organized and in excellent operating buy is a undertaking that falls to a show’s assets grasp, and for this tour of “Hamilton” opening in Spokane on Tuesday, that residence learn is Spokane indigenous Mike Eickmeyer.

He and an assistant house learn will do the job with two area stage palms to thoroughly clean, maintenance and do normal routine maintenance on a selection of furnishings and objects employed in the Tony-winning Broadway musical in the course of its run in city.

“The repair service is most likely the hardest part, preserving up with the servicing and restore,” Eickmeyer claimed by mobile phone from Portland, exactly where “Hamilton” is ending a operate for the weekend. “There are so quite a few going components to it, there is a whole lot of wear and tear on issues. And moreover going the present, in which matters are finding place into boxes and a trailer and finding bounced down the road, then receiving taken out and used. It’s a large amount of use and tear on items.”

He describes the operate that goes on backstage – of producing absolutely sure matters are where they are supposed to be when they’re intended to be there, as “choreography.”

“Sometimes there’s a lot more than what transpires on stage, as significantly as acquiring issues moved close to and acquiring them into position with men and women coming off phase and getting matters on stage,” he claimed, introducing that with this display, it will help there isn’t surroundings that has to change. “It’s just tables and chairs that are likely on or coming off, or a little something an actor is carrying, so it is not as much of an situation of ‘this has got to be proper right here, correct now.’ There only are a handful of of people items. That’s the straightforward component about this display.”

A single factor he and the backstage groups try for, he mentioned, is boredom.

“If we’re bored backstage, that indicates anything is heading truly well,” Eickmeyer mentioned. “Don’t get me completely wrong, we like the pleasure when factors go awry, due to the fact which is the excitement of our working day, but we truly attempt not to do that. If you are bored, we’re doing very good. Almost everything is moving exactly as it’s meant to.”

Eickmeyer commenced operating in theater throughout his decades at Shadle Park Substantial University, the place he graduated from in 1996. Soon after that, he joined the IATSE Regional 93, the Spokane stagehands union and labored shows at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and the Opera Home, as the Initially Interstate Heart of the Arts was known as again then.

He did that for 5 several years ahead of he landed on his very first tour, for a demonstrate referred to as “Swing.” He’s absent on to get the job done on tours of “Wicked,” “A Gentleman’s Tutorial to Enjoy and Murder,” and “Grease,” and he’s worked on Broadway, too. “Hamilton” is not the very first present Eickmeyer has had an opportunity to convey household. There was “Swing,” his to start with, and a tour of “The Producers.” He most recently arrived property with “War Horse,” in 2013.

Relocating the clearly show is also portion of Eickmeyer’s occupation. In addition to packing up all the props, his team hundreds costumes and orchestra gear on and off the truck. They’ll end their Portland run Sunday, load every thing onto pallets and then on to vehicles, then generate it to Spokane. On Monday, they’ll do their load-in at the FICA.

His 1st time going “Hamilton” was most likely the most hard. He joined this present tour in late 2018 and was there when it opened in Puerto Rico in early 2019. From there, the display moved to San Francisco for a  run that lasted just in excess of a 12 months right before COVID shut it down. Generally, Eickmeyer and his team would load all the sets, props and equipment on to vans and drive them to the next town. As just one can’t generate from Puerto Rico, the manufacturing experienced to use other means.

“That was the longest jump I’d at any time finished, from Puerto Rico to San Francisco, shifting a demonstrate,” Eickmeyer reported. “We rented a FedEx 767 airplane, and that’s how we acquired all the gear from Puerto Rico and San Francisco.”

All through the 18 months that dwell theater was shut down mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eickmeyer did what anyone else in his industry did – he got off the highway and stayed at dwelling. It gave him time to do some get the job done on his Shadle-place home, but Eickmeyer was fairly eager to get back again to function.

“It was truly good to get again to operate,” he stated. “One difficult portion of the shutdown is we’re employed to going all the time. You’re always doing some thing, normally likely, it’s go, go, go.

“And then to just go from undertaking this all the time and then you’re like, ‘What do I do now? What do I do?’ It was very weird.”

And he is hunting forward to sleeping in his own mattress in the course of the show’s continue to be in Spokane, fairly than living out of a suitcase in a hotel or an Airbnb.

He’s also on the lookout forward to seeing spouse and children and good friends, and making the most of a burger from Dick’s.

“It’s likely to be extremely nice,” Eickmeyer said. “My parents nevertheless live there and I have a bunch of close friends nonetheless there. I’ll get to see them. I have some other relatives coming in to see the show.”

Editor’s observe: This tale has been up to date. “Hamilton” ran in San Francisco for extra than a 12 months prior to it was cut limited by the pandemic. The original model experienced the incorrect length of the operate. 

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