Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Parade begins

Our first rehearsal was a table reading, which is just what it sounds like--the case, stage manager, producer and director gathered around many and sundry folding tables, with the music director at the piano, going through the entire libretto. (I have always wanted to do one of these, by the way). There are 26 of us in the cast and almost every person is a real character, with a name and lines. That is pretty amazing. 

So we gathered onstage around 1:00, with Jared making some preliminary comments, Jen (the stage manager) passing around forms and scripts, and Frank (our director) giving us a few points on scenery, the show, etc. The set is going to be pretty bare, since it's a very fluid show. 

With these comments out of the way, we began the piece with the opener, "The Old Red Hills of Home", which is sung by the Young Solider, who is played by my friend, Jay (from high school choir and J&H). He did a fantastic job. Even though it was only him and the piano, I had goosebumps. That got us off to an auspicious start. 

We broke right before the Trial part began (the finale of Act I), and by then it was pretty evident we had a lot of talent on stage. The cast was very professional and most of us were already fairly familiar with the score. After a short break (upon which Frank told us we weren't going to sing all the pieces, since we wanted to at least read to the end), the other Factory Girls and I sang "The Factory Girls/Come Up To My Office", with Leo (our Leo and Lucille are excellent). The actually went fairly well, although I realized that Essie has some lines of her own that are in harmony with the other girls, so that needed to be learned. 

The Factory Girls have a brief reprise and a short scene with Gov. Slaton and the Lucille in Act II (in which I have three lines), but other than that it's a lot of choral work. And I do mean a lot. There are several places marked "Ensemble I, Ensemble II, Ensemble III" with the last two usually having some sort of harmony to the melody line of Ensemble I. I'll have to wait to be actually assigned before I know what part to learn. 

So we read through to the end, and the last two scenes--the lynching and the finale--will probably be very emotional and, hopefully, exceedingly well done. It was one heck of a read through. The only other time I got chills was when Lucille and Leo sang "All the Wasted Time", their duet at the very end of the show. It was really wonderful. 

Our rehearsal schedule is--rehearse every day but Friday and Saturday. Next week I have it pretty easy--just one day, when me, the other Factory Girls, Mary and Frankie will run our scenes. This week we have work on the big choral number (heh, most of the show), and, after next week, we start blocking. Yup. Already. We are on a expedited schedule! 

It looks to be a great cast and our leaders (director, stage manager, music director) are great. I love it when I get a good vibe after just one rehearsal. Everyone was ready to go, with binders, pencils, iPods that can record, even a good old-fashioned tape recorder like my voice teacher had! 

I also got to explore the theater itself a little bit--the dressing room looks GREAT! 

The weekly schedule:

Monday: "The Old Red Hills of Home"/"The Dream of Atlanta"
Tuesday: "Funeral Sequence: It Don't Make Sense" 
Wednesday: "Closing Statements/Verdict/Finale")
Thursday: Review all chorus work

Whew. That's the first week!

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