Sunday, June 01, 2008

First rehearsal

"The first rehearsal of a new show is a lot like the first day of school. You start looking around the room and checking everyone out." --John Antony, Making it on Broadway

The first rehearsal for Jekyll saw people initially divided into two groups: those who knew each other, and those who didn't. It was a bit like being the new kid in the class. Everyone staked out territory in the theater room where we were going to have our first rehearsal. I had gotten there first, even before the director, so I had no idea where to sit. I'm usually one of those kids who picks the front row, so that's what I did this time, center, right in front of the raised stage area.

People filtered in until about 9:05, when rehearsal began. There were all ages--one girl was leafing through a drivers' ed manual, and some people were probably grandparents. One of the sopranos had three kids and was selling leftover boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I'm used to being the youngest--or oldest--in a group, but being in the middle was sort of strange.

Robin (our director) began by passing around scripts, introducing the leads, and giving out the vocal scores. Her husband, Ken, is our conductor. I wasn't quite sure how we would approach the rehearsal--would it be a straight read/sing-through? Would we work on just certain pieces? Ken settled that very quickly by dividing the room into SATB sections--Sopranos on the right, tenors, basses, and Altos on the left. The boys, as usual, were outnumbered.

Our work for that rehearsal was the big opening number, "Facade", which involves everyone, except Jekyll (he's just sung two solos, so he needs a break). There are solo lines, group sections, parts for the principles, multi-part's a great opening number. We spent the entire rehearsal period dissecting it. For now, the solo parts, etc. were not assigned, unless it was written for one of the leads and so noted in the script. The Alto line is everywhere--with the sopranos, with the tenors, with the baritones. My highlighted pages for that are quite colorful. But, after a long dissection (Ken is a very exacting conductor from the start, which is great--"what you do in practice is what you do in performance," says the choral maxim), we ran the song twice, completely; once with the accompanist playing the vocal parts, and once with her playing the orchestral reduction.

I got a pretty good idea of how many numbers I'll be singing. All the women will be singing "Bring on the Men" and "The Girls of the Night", which I'm excited about--those are the, um, "prostitute" numbers in the show (this is also the scene where Jekyll meets Lucy). They are both a lot of fun, but completely different in tone. "Bring" is a pure come-on, while "Girls" is a more wistful, longing type of song. There are solo lines in each. There is also Jekyll'sone dance number in "Bring", and most of us signed up to be dancers. In high school, I never would have done that, but after my ballet classes I think I can handle it. I am very excited about that.

Immediately after the rehearsal I went to Staples and copied the score so I have my own--I like to mark and highlight, which is not allowed in the scores we're renting from a California Light Opera company. (We are doing the Light Opera version of the show, as opposed to the Musical version, because the LO version has a lot of great songs that were cut on Broadway.) I then proceeded to highlight and mark, so I feel ready for rehearsal on Wednesday. Most of our rehearsals, until we head into June, are going to be purely choral. The leads will rehearse on their owns. Dance rehearsals are on Monday nights and begin next week.

It is going to be a blast. I can't wait. (And we get show t-shirts!)

Next week: Choral rehearsal on Wednesday and Sat. Woohoo!

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