Ryan McCaffrey: Goodbye Toronto, Hello Chicago

Welcome to my first post on the heartbeatofhome.riverdance.com blog! Over the coming months, I hope to give you a first-hand account of some of the exciting experiences us “Heartbeaters” get to live while touring with this brand new production.

I’m currently sitting at a coffee shop looking out at the incredible Chicago skyline thinking about how truly blessed all of us Heartbeaters are. We just finished an amazing six-week run in Toronto, our North American debut, which was a great success. The cast has worked tirelessly over the last 9 months to learn, and perfect, every movement in the show (and there’s a lot of movement!), so this success really meant the world to all of us; it’s given us a huge sense of accomplishment…and relief!

Chicago Skyline - Ryan McCaffrey

Toronto is an amazing city. Between us all, we managed to sit atop the CN Tower, visit the brand new aquarium, see a professional basketball and hockey game, check out some great live-music spots, wander the St. Lawrence Market and sample some of the city’s best cuisine. We also took a cast trip to Niagara Falls, and even met an astronaut. The weather proved to be challenging at times, but thanks to the cities’ underground PATH system, we figured out ways to avoid facing the cold air.

HOH Hockey2

HOH Hockey

HOH St. Lawrence

Niagra Rainbow

Astronaught HOH

We also did our first Heartbeat of Home outreach program in Toronto. If you asked Padriac, Olivia, Emma, Ciara, Jason, Bobby, Andy or myself what our favorite day in Toronto was, we would probably say that Saturday morning.

We had over 300 dancers from the Greater Toronto Area arrive, eager to learn some of the steps from the show. What we think they left with was more meaningful than just learning a few steps, as they got to chat in-depth with the cast instructors about their experiences, good and bad, along the way to Heartbeat of Home. We look forward to doing this again in Chicago and beyond.

Outreach HOH

Outreach 2 HOH

Toronto was also especially great for me, as I’m a proud Canadian! I got the chance early in our history to perform for my family and friends, which is probably the best part of this job.

Mom and dad HOH

We have now made our first move to Chicago, and completed opening night in the United States, another huge milestone for us. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, so again, we’re all feeling that sense of accomplishment and relief all over again.

Now that the pressure of opening night is off, it’s time to explore Chicago. Stay tuned to hear about what we get up to in the Windy City!

4 comments
Yvonne
March 12, 2014

Great blog Ryan, I am really hoping the show extends so I can get to see it and you.

Dienne
March 12, 2014

Ryan – I saw your performance last night – it was amazing!! All of the dancers are just phenomenal, but you especially had an energy and presence that was just irresistible. Thank you so much for a spectacular evening, good luck with the rest of your Chicago run, and best wishes when it is time to move on.

Ryan McCaffrey
March 13, 2014

Hello Dienne,

Thank you for taking the time to write down your kind words, they are very much appreciated. I’m glad you had a great evening at the show. Chicago is an amazing city; the cast has had such a great time exploring and performing here, we’ll be sorry to leave. Thank you again.

Dienne
March 13, 2014

Glad you’re enjoying my little hometown. Come back anytime! (And let me know if you do any future runs here!) Cheers!

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