NYMF's Three Sides: Caroline's Blog #1

Three Sides – UK to USA
Blog Entry #1, "Rehearsals"

By Caroline Sheen

Actress Caroline Sheen, of the New York Musical Theatre Festival Musical show "Three Sides," begins a four-part series of blog entries about her experiences with the new UK-born musical.

First, let me fill you in on a bit of the background of Three Sides… it's a three-hander musical about people trying to find love in London. My character, Carrie, finds love with both the other characters. The end result is…perhaps not what you would expect.

I was first involved with a workshop of the show back in October 2004 – actually with the exact same cast as we have now! Since then the show has undergone a lot of changes – new songs (two for me, yaay!), new scenes by Toby Davies, a man who you only have to nudge for something funny to emanate from his mouth!

Our composer/lyricist Grant [Olding] has a very hectic schedule at the moment. He is opening a show up in the North of England, writing incidental music for some touring Shakespeare and also for The Alchemist at The National Theatre, which starts previews this week. It's a big deal - it stars Simon Russell Beale (Spamalot) and Alex Jennings (Olivier Award-winner for My Fair Lady). The poor man must be exhausted but he's still finding time to keep an eye on Three Sides. It's his baby and he has put so much work into it, I really hope it all pays off for him soon. He really deserves it.

A few months ago we tried out the new version in a fringe venue in west London. This went better than we could've ever expected. Audiences sat through extreme heat and still enjoyed themselves. One night was so hot I was begging Grant to change one of the lyrics which says my character is "dressed from head to toe in leather" (she's a motorcycle courier). I thought perhaps "dressed from head to toe in ice cubes" might be preferable. For the first twenty minutes of the show I felt like I was singing in a steam room while wrapped in tin foil and baking. The things we do for our art!

Now we are rehearsing for the new staging of the show we are doing for NYMF. One of the boys from the workshop has rejoined us and we have to stage it on a proscenium stage, whereas before we were in the round. I'm looking forward to it being "straight on" again – it makes for better storytelling, I feel.

The first rehearsal for New York was at Trinity College of Music in Greenwich – which just had a bomb scare, so we weren't allowed in. So we went running around Greenwich trying to find a building with a piano where we could rehearse (without having to pay).

So Jon-Paul, Mark and I sat by the river having a Starbucks while we waited. Thankfully we had salvation from the local Church, and we found ourselves in the most stunning building I have seen, around a fabulous grand piano and singing away with marvellous acoustics (of course, we edited out all the swear words – House of God and all that)

Halfway through, while Mark's singing one of his opening numbers, a lot of people walk in and sit in the pews at the back. It's a group of Russian tourists who've come to have a look around and pay their respects, say a prayer, etc. I think they thought we were just lunchtime entertainment! So Chris (our pianist) played his concertos for a bit while we chilled out. The Russians left after about 15 minutes so after all that chaos we actually managed a good rehearsal.

We have had one more rehearsal since then and things are shaping up quite well. I'm getting very excited about going to New York, and even more excited because my fiancé's film Flyboys opens while I'm there – I'm going to see it before he does! I will cry lots – I'm like that.

I'll be back with another entry soon, we have a couple more rehearsals this week. New scenes to learn and stage – who was it who said "an actor's life for me?"

Caroline Sheen (Carrie) was born and raised in South Wales. She trained at the prestigious Guildford School of Acting and graduated with a first class honors degree. Her West End credits include Jennifer in The Witches of Eastwick, Florinda in Into the Woods, Eponine in Les Misérables, Sandy in Grease, and Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She has worked at The National Theatre twice in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Once in a Lifetime. She created the role of Gestetna in Toby Davies and Grant Olding's Spittin' Distance at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. She is delighted to be performing in the NYMF. Keep supporting new writing!

Visit www.nymf.org for tickets or more information.

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