BWW Blog: Ed Dixon of Pittsburgh Public Theater's L'HOTEL - Getting Closer
Tuesday, November 4
Started the day REALLY early with packing. They're moving me to housing right next to the theater. The Pennsylvanian is a lovely place but it's a HIKE and the weather is about to turn cold, so I'm really glad to be getting closer to work. After the move we did some trouble areas of the play and tightened the up considerably. Then I did an interview with Bill O'Driscoll from the City Paper. Forgot to mention, I did interviews with Sharon of the Post-Gazette and Alice Carter from the Tribune last week. Both were very enjoyable. We did a run through in the afternoon and it was the first time the first act had come together. The show is an ensemble piece so almost the entire cast is onstage all the time. This means everyone has to be on their toes ALL THE TIME or cues will be missed. This was the first time everyone kept the ball in the air for the entire first act. The second act wasn't as fortunate... one step at a time.
I thought the day was over and then I found out I was doing a video interview at six thirty. This time it was Brian Edward from The Burg Vivant. He wears a tux and has giant martinis on the table. No martini for me, please. We had a lot of laughs even without drinking.
Wednesday, November 5
Started the day with a few fixes and a couple more minute line changes. Then Ted suggested that we both leave the room so that the cast could do a no pressure run through. So I went shopping. In the afternoon was a designer run. This was the first time that the play was performed for the Public Theater staff, but only four or five of them.
Thursday, November 6
A big day. After a few spot rehearsals which dealt with the most complicated parts of the play, we did a full staff run through. There was a roomful of people watching the play for the very first time. I was very relieved to hear them laughing. Staff run throughs aren't usually very satisfying because they're not there to laugh and applaud, they're watching to see what THEY need to do next. But there was laughter and applause, which was very gratifying.
Friday, November 7
Another BIG day. We moved into the theater for the first time. I can't tell you what it's like to see a gigantic set like this (the grand staircase has EIGHTEEN steps) erected in honor of something you're written. It's really starting to dawn on me, the magnitude of what Ted Pappas is really doing for me. Who gets to see a gigantic production like this of their work? I do. We start the day dealing with the additional complications of doors and stairs and the thousand complications that arise in the actual space. Slow going. But very satisfying.
Saturday, November 8
Ted suggests some revisions before we start. I agree with them. More rewrites. The cast is so used to this process at this point, that we no sooner suggest them than they're on the stage. Some repositioning during the day and then the first dress rehearsal in the evening. David Woolard's clothes are perfect, as I knew they would be. Everyone's character is so reflected in their garments. And Sarah Bernhardt's gown... oh ma ga! This was also my first view of Kirk Baran-Bookman's lighting design which brings James Noone's set to an even greater beauty... which didn't seem possible, since it was already so extravagantly gorgeous. And the sound contribution of Zach Moore must be mentioned, because the sound design is so crucial to this show... and since music is such an integral part of the play, and Zach's choices are stunning.
Sunday, November 9
I start the day laughing because there are still more script changes. No one even bats an eye when we announce this and then, voila, they're incorporated into the street clothes afternoon run. In the evening we have a second dress rehearsal and now we have wigs so all the characters take a big leap... especially Jim Morrison and Rossini. Tony Triano was already hilarious as the great composer, but the wig takes him to a whole other room of funny. The full dress in the evening is the first time I'm ever able to actually just watch the play. Normally I'm so busy picking everything to death that there's no quality of being an audience member... but not so with this run through. It's almost, dare I say it... enjoyable. At the end of the evening we all suddenly realize that it's the end of the week and we're about to have a day off. We adjourn to a local dive and have a rare bit of socializing. Very enjoyable.
Monday, November 10
Day off. Met Cissy Rebich, from the original cast of LES MISERABLES for lunch. Went to Sonoma Grill, one of the best places in downtown Pittsburgh. Then a bit of shopping and grilling on the roof with the cast. A truly beautiful and relaxing day.
James Noone's amazing set photographed by our production assistant, Logan Shiller.
A detail of the floor.
Happy author with Kati Brazda, our Isadora.
Deanne Lorette as Bernhardt.
Tony Triano as Rossini.
Evan Zes as The Waiter.