Ask Lou: January 2012
Q: Hi Louise, How many hours of rehearsal time is needed to prepare for your Christmas Show? - Dawn V.
• Dawn, Every show is a long process. There are separate rehearsals with every department and then we put it together and everyone is more prepared. For example:
- A. First Barbara and I get together and start writing the show.
- B. I get with Kelly Shipley, Stage Manager, Rick King, Musical Director, Pedro Tomas, Director and Choreographer, Rick Stetson, Set Designer, and Vic Schneider, Production Manager.
- C. I learn specialty songs with individuals. [For example drums with Mike Swope or horn with Jonas Weathers or Dino Pastin.]
- D. Rick King rehearses with the band and then I join them for two days.
- E. Pedro choreographs the dance numbers and then spends three more days teaching them. This year my niece Vanessa helped me with my technique.
- F. Everyone comes together at a rehearsal hall and two days later we move it to the stage to add sound and lights.
- G. We spend two more days doing what we call “putting it on its feet”, then dress rehearsal.
- H. Last we open the curtain. Then the hard work pays off.
Q: What are your plans for 2012? How is John doing? – Judy V
• Judy, thanks for asking. John has been struggling and I appreciate everyone turning his name into your prayer groups. John is hoping to feel well enough to see Calamity Jane in July.
I will also be touring with Lee Greenwood this year. He always has a good
show and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Q: Louise I had the honor of being able to see your show last year, my first Christmas in Tennessee, and it was beautiful. Out of all your years being a part of Country Christmas, is there one that stands out more than the others? - Kathyrn
• Kathyrn, they were all wonderful. I liked the last show we did for Gaylord Opryland the best but the memories I will carry the rest of my life are from the autograph line. There was a young man who met me as a former Eagle Scout and was leaving for Iraq. A woman gave me a pink scarf she made while going through chemo. A mother had planned to bring her son and daughter who I had met years earlier but she came with only her daughter because she lost her son to a drunk driver a few months earlier. I shared a hug with a woman who lost her sister a few nights before and had fans console me when I lost my fan club president Lucy Gray in December. The stage is designed to help people forget their problems, the autograph line is for giving and sharing.
Q: For many years my New Years Eve tradition was to come to your show in Pigeon Forge. Now that you don’t have a show on New Years Eve, how do you bring in the New Year? - Angela
• Angela, this New Years Eve I played a practical joke on my best friend, Kelly Shipley. She had a new house so I subjected we celebrate there. Every time we ran into a friend I invited them. It got bigger and bigger. Finally Kelly got me back! When I invited someone in front of her she said, “Please do come Louise is bringing all the food.“ We had a great time with friends and everything was perfect and we are still speaking. LOL!
Q: With your run at The Opryland Hotel coming to an end, would you consider a return to Pigeon Forge for the Christmas season if a show was offered to you there? I think you would be a great fit at Dollywood during the holiday season. - Bill W.
• Bill, you are so nice. I love Pigeon Forge and I hope someday to do a show again in the Smoky Mountains. I still go back to visit the park, shows, and most of all my friends.
Q: What was the greatest/the best or funniest thing you did in 2011? - Cindy B.
• Cindy, when I was in Africa on the Zambezi River we were attacked by a hippo who hit our fishing vessel three times trying to tip us over. I didn’t think it was funny, but the hippo did. Hippos kill more people than any animal in Africa.
[To see some of Louise's memories from her Africa trip please visit the Africa 2011 link. The Africa: Part 2 video will be added February 15th.]
Q: I absolutely spoil my pets and they all receive gifts on Christmas Eve, along with the rest or us. Do you also do this, and if so what do you give your babies. what do you do with all of the gifts, letters and cards that your fans send you? - Christian W.
• Hi Christian, have you seen the show “Hoarders?” Well my husband will not put up with that. Every year I keep my cards and letters until November and then I read the sweet cards again and donate the gifts and a lot of my personal clothes to charity. I encourage everyone to be generous with their belongings, especially clothes and blankets. I started doing this when Nicole was in grade school and she took a very expensive game that had never been opened and asked me if she could give it to a child at school who really wanted one and couldn’t afford it. I was really proud of her and I learned a valuable lesson.
I always buy our dogs Christmas. They are our babies. This year Bobbie Sue got a new squeaky toy and a beautiful dress a friend gave me at one of my concerts.
Q: Traveling (via airport) can be such a headache—sometimes we just need a Good laugh. What is the most unique or humorous experience you’ve had while traveling? - Alicia
• Alicia, No one likes to fly with me because I cause too much of a disturbance. I’m always detained at customs because I am too chatty.
Q: What is your New Years resolution this year? - Jacqueline D
• Jacqueline, my New Years resolution was like every other woman: getting back to my original weight 7lbs 8oz. Seriously, it is to get much healthier. I don’t eat the right foods or work out. Shame on me! It is time to change.
Q 10. Looking forward to seeing you in “Calamity Jane” this coming summer! What are some of your favorite Broadway musicals? By the way, loved the “Christmas Dinner Party” show this year! - Deborah S.
• Deborah, I’ve seen a lot of plays on Broadway. My two favorites were Annie Get Your Gun, which I saw several times including once when my friend Reba was in it. She was perfect. I also enjoyed Phantom of the Opera, a life long dream of my best friend. I enjoyed it even more because she had such a good time.