Though Flo’s company started out with multiple-week engagements, it soon became the dreaded "split weeks," where you play Tuesday through Thursday in one place, then Friday through Sunday in the next town. These companies are called "bus and truck tours" because the actors go by bus (rather than flying) and the scenery, costumes and actors’ trunks go by truck. In each town, the actors have to choose where to stay (company managers have lists—stars usually stay in apartments which cater to road show performers), decide how much of their per diem to spend for a room, and they only get one day off per week with one or two travel days. In the old days, circuses and ice shows that toured the country traveled on their own trains, which carried performers and sets (and animals) and at least let each performer stay unpacked in their compartment, where they lived and slept whether traveling or performing.

During bus and truck tours, the stage crew is all important. They must always "load in" or "load out" a show in less than 8 hours. Their only time off is during travel and, the days before performances once the work is done, which are mostly spent sleeping as they must work the show and then strike the set after the curtain goes down, get it loaded out into a truck and start the drive, then load in the set in the new town and work the show that night. In fact, in this particular company, the entire crew was fired during the run and a new one hired, and they managed to shave more than an hour off the loading in and out times. This can make the difference as to whether the curtain in the next town goes up on time or not.

A bus and truck set for a show such as Evita is often a scaled-down version of the Broadway set. In this case, the motorized screen was eliminated because of the varying stage widths in dozens of theatres (it was used only in New York, London, Australia and Los Angeles), and three screens which came down from the flies were used instead. The stage was segmented and came apart, as did the sidewalls and balcony. For years afterward, regional and stock theatres used the various sets, which were usually referred to as "Flo’s set," "Valerie’s set" (from the Chicago company) and eventually, "Paloma’s set," referring to an even more abbreviated set used by the Madrid Evita star when she toured South America. It had only one screen.

Next time a touring show comes to your town, remember that this is what the actors had to go through to get there!

Detroit, MI Masonic Temple Theatre 2/28-5/7
Miami, FL Miami Beach Center for Performing Arts 5/11/-5/29
New Orleans, LA 5/31-6/26
Houston, TX Music Hall 6/28-7/11
Dallas, TX 7/13-7/31
Oklahoma City, OK Civic Center Music Hall 8/3-8/8
Tulsa, OK Tulsa Performing Arts Center 8/10-8/15
Milwaukee, WI Uihlein Hall 8/17-9/5
Madison, WI Madison Civic Center 9/7-9/12
Aurora, IL Paramount Theatre 9/14-9/19
Des Moines, IA Civic Center Theatre 9/21-9/26
Ames, IA C.Y. Stephens Auditorium 9/28-9/30
Iowa City, IA Hancher Auditorium 10/1-10/3
Cincinnati, OH Taft Theatre 10/5-10/17
Toledo, OH Toledo Masonic Auditorium 10/19-10/24
East Lansing, MI University Auditorium 10/26-10/28
Kalamazoo, MI Miller Auditorium 10/29-10/31
Rockford, IL The Coronado 11/2-11/4
South Bend, IN Morris Civic Auditorium 11/5-11/7
Columbus, OH Palace Theatre 11/9-11/14
Normal, IL Union Auditorium 11/16-11/18
Champaign, IL Assembly Hall 11/19-11/21
Ft. Wayne, IN Embassy Theatre 11/22-11/24
Evansville, IN Vandenburgh Auditorium 11/26-11/28
Kansas City, MO Midland Center for the Perf. Arts 11/30-12/12
Davenport, IA The Orpheum 12/13-12/15
Wichita, KS Century II Civic Center 12/17-12/19
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County Convention Center 12/21-12/26

San Antonio, TX The Majestic Theatre 12/28-1/9
Austin, TX Perf. Arts Ctr. Concert Hall 1/11-1/16
Bryan, TX Rudder Center Auditorium 1/17-1/19
Corpus Christie, TX Bayfront Plaza Auditorium 1/20-1/22
Memphis, TN Cook Co. Conven. Ctr. Theatre 1/25-1/30
Birmingham, AL Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center 2/1-2/6
Jackson, MS Municipal Auditorium 2/7-2/9
Baton Rouge, LA Riverside Centroplex Theatre 2/11-2/13
Mobile, AL Municipal Auditorium 2/18-2/20
Sarasota, FL Van Wezel Hall 2/22-2/24
Lakeland, FL Lakeland Civic Center 2/25-2/27
St. Petersburg, FL Bayfront Auditorium 3/1-3/6
Orlando, FL Bob Carr Municipal Auditorium 3/8-3/13
Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville Civic Auditorium 3/14-3/15
Chattanooga, TN Memorial Auditorium 3/18-3/20
Charleston, WV Charleston Civic Ctr. Memorial Auditorium 3/22-3/24
Knoxville, TN Civic Auditorium 3/25-3/27
Charlotte, NC Ovens Auditorium 3/29-4/3
Greensboro, NC Greensboro Auditorium 4/5-4/10
Columbia, SC Township Auditorium 4/11-4/13
Raleigh, NC Memorial Auditorium 4/15-4/17
Norfolk, VA Nofolk Scope Cultural Center 4/19-4/24
Richmond, VA The Mosque 4/26-5/1
Amherst, MA Fine Arts Ctr. Concert Hall 5/3-5/5
West Point, NY Eisenhower Hall 5/6-5/8
Providence, RI Ocean State Performing Arts Center 5/10-5/15
Erie, PA Warner’s Theatre 5/17-5/19
Scranton, PA Masonic Temple 5/20-5/22
Schenectady, NY Proctor’s Theatre 5/24-5/29
Utica, NY Stanley Theatre 5/31-6/2
Syracuse, NY Civic Center 6/3-6/5
Hamilton, ONT Hamilton Place 6/14-6/26
Kitchner, ONT Centre in the Square 6/28-7/3
Montreal, QUE Place des Arts 7/5-7/17
(schedule missing)

The seemingly impossible moves (California one night, Arizona the next) in this next schedule segment were made possible by the fact that Loni’s company (2nd) had ended its tour in San Francisco and Flo’s company had two sets. You can see why shows such as Phantom, Les Miz or Miss Saigon have never widely toured—the sets are too complicated and require stages of a certain size. The Evita set was far smaller and more flexible.
Anyone who wonders where the term 'One-night stand' came from, this is it.
Portland, OR 12/27/83-1/8/84
Eugene, OR 1/9-1/10
San Jose, CA 1/12-1/15
Sacramento, CA 1/17-1/22
Santa Barbara, CA 1/24-1/25
Claremont, CA 1/26
Phoenix, AZ 1/27-1/29
Albuquerque, NM 1/30-1/31
El Paso, TX 2/1
Houston, TX 2/3-2/7
Arlington , TX 2/8-2/9
Orange, TX 2/11-2/12
Lubbock, TX 2/14-2/15
Pueblo, CO 2/16
Denver, CO 2/17-2/19
Colorado Springs, CO 2/20-2/21
Kansas City, KS 2/23-2/25
Wichita, KS 2/26
Omaha, NB 2/27-2/28
Peoria, IL 3/1-3/2
Springfield, IL 3/3
Joliet, IL 3 /4
Saginaw, MI 3/5-3/6
Memphis, TN 3/8-3/12
Evansville, IN 3/13
Lafayette, IN 3/15
Fort Wayne, IN 3/16
Grand Rapids, MI 3/17-3/18
Terre Haute, IN 3/1
Bloomington, IN 3/20
Muncie, IN 3/21
Montreal, QUE 3/23-3/28
New Haven, CT 3/30-4/4
Charleston 4/6
Youngstown, OH 4/7
State College, OH 4/8
Milwaukee, WI 4/10-4/15
Detroit, MI 4/17-4/22
East Lansing, MI 4/24-4/25
Ann Arbor, MI 4/26-4/27
Toledo, OH 4/28-4/29
Cleveland, OH 5/1-5/6
Kichner 5/7-5/8
Hartford, CT 5/10-5/12
Worcester 5/13
Chicago, IL 5/15-6/3
Dallas, TX 6/5-6/17
Los Angeles, CA Ahmanson Theatre 6/19—

The tour was scheduled to play in Los Angeles until 9/16, then San Diego from 9/17-9/30 and San Francisco from 10/2 to 11/11/84. However, the tour ended in August in Los Angeles. Both L.A. and San Francisco, it seems, had seen enough of Evita for now (L.A. had seen Patti, Loni and Flo’s companies, San Francisco had had Patti and Loni’s companies and San Diego was the first stop on Loni’s tour after a 2-year run in Los Angeles). After a short layoff, Flo was soon called to New York where she played the final months of the engagement at the Broadway Theatre.

On the company bulletin board at the Ahmanson Theatre the final week, there was a note: "For you Eva Perón trivia buffs, our set will be stored in a warehouse in Duarte, California.

You might note the names of the theatres in the first part of the schedule. Their names evoke the entire 20th century of entertainment in America. Where not supplanted by new Performing Arts Centers, across the country there are still Princess, Majestic and Orpheum Theatres, once spanning the country as vaudeville chain theatres. Playing the "Orpheum Circuit" was vaudeville nirvana. There are still many Memorial Auditoria, most undoubtedly built to honor that city’s WWI dead. Most Civic Auditoria were built as projects of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. And the era when fraternal lodges, such as the Masons, built huge halls for conventions or big-city memberships is long past, but the names linger on. A Warner’s, Loewe’s or Fox Theatre signals a downtown theatre reclaimed from its early days as a studio-owned cinema house. The studios were forced to divest themselves of these theatres in an anti-trust action mid-century, but their marquees were so elaborate, the names remained. These downtown houses usually spent most of the 60s and 70s boarded up or playing porno films.

Thanks to Florence Lacey for the schedule and to her and her company for working so hard to bring a first class production of the show to so many people around the country.

© 2001 Sylvia Stoddard