November 5-9, Behind the Scenes at Wonderful Town

Nov 5, 2003

Our first two previews today after a dress rehearsal and a run-through yesterday. It never ceases to amaze me how Broadway shows are produced. we've been doing 10-out-of-12's (working for ten hours a day between noon and midnight) for about ten days now and guess what...we're tired. But it's the same for every show. The technical rehearsals are long and tedious because every aspect of each moment needs to be worked out. What does that entail? For each moment on stage there are an sequence of events that take place.
Nearly all aspects are now computerized and here's a for instance...at the top of Act 1 scene 2 the set is changed from outside on Christopher Street to the interior of an apartment being rented by Mr.Appopolous to Ruth and Eileen. In the several seconds between those two sets a set of stairs disappears under the conductors podium, a scrim showing the hints of a an apartment flys in and a couch and some other furniture arrives from offstage. Each of those elements has to be carefully choreographed so that nothing crashes into anything else, and because it's done by mechanical and computer means, the smallest error causes thousands of dollars worth of damage and possible injury to the actors onstage. So each second is choreographed to death and repeated over and over so that everyone is assured that it will work every time. It takes us five days of 10-out-of-12's to get through the entire show...and that's pretty fast. DOTV took FOREVER...nearly two weeks.

After that's done then we return to thew top of the show and run it again adding additional elements each time, i.e., microphones, costumes, etc. And it's totally exhausting to go through. Even then there's so much minute adjusting that it's impossible for anyone to get any rest. We never get enough sleep. Thank goodness the first preview has arrived and hopefully we'll coast from here.

And talk about a great reception for the previews!!! The crowd went crazy! We were off the charts energy-wise and more than a little was due too nerves. We got one complete run-through without a stop. It's always this way, isn't it? We're doing cartwheels and we're exhausted. Unfortunately we're back in at 1 PM tomorrow...ugh...at least there's only a few weeks left of this.

Nov. 6, 2003

OK- the yang has arrived. After the celebration of yesterday we receive news at 1 PM that there's an important announcement. The Weissler's are here as are many of the producers and people concerned with the show...this cannot be good. We have notes for an hour. Donna arrives late and leaves early. Notes done, now the news. The preview is canceled tonight. Donna is having throat problems and our understudy (Linda Mugleston) is not ready to go on. Duh! We just finished our FIRST preview! Brain surgery it ain't!

I'm positive that nothing has been done to prepare her this early in the game...no rehearsal, no costumes, no music rehearsal, no nuttin'. So, ugh, we rehearse all day and all night. And now they've decided that the first act is too long and we'll be cutting from everything. I'm pretty sure that nothing can be cut from Ruth's part because there's nothing that CAN be cut. But we'll nip and tuck somewhere.

The producers have asked us not to talk about any of this, which is pretty odd. Obviously there's a lot of money riding on this show and Donna is the entire reason that this show is going onward now...so they want to protect their investment. And in this time of instant news via the internet it's a possibility that this news could be everywhere RIGHT NOW.

I must say that Linda's been working hard to learn the Ruth role. She's been working at it since rehearsals started so she can't be too far from ready. But she's had to work on her own role, too. I was in the same position during DOTV...working on my stuff and understudying Chagal...and it's not easy. Trust me. I have so much respect for the swings who have to learn five or six roles at once, that's why they're so valuble. Anyway, we're all rooting for Linda, that's for sure.

Nov. 9, 2003

Our entire week and weekend of shows has been canceled. We were originally told that Donna has the flu but this is way beyond any flu. But that seems to be the story that was reported to the papers and we're not getting anything different. We we're asked earlier not to go online or to other sources to discuss the problem. The producers are obviously aware of the seriousness of the problem but so far we've been left out of the loop. But, of course, that's natural.

We are also told that there will be a change in schedule...our two show Sunday is now a day off and our Monday day off is now a rehearsal day. Our representatives from Equity arrived to announce the change and to help facilitate any problems from conflicting schedules. We are strongly advised to change any appointments we may have had for Monday to suit the new schedule. Not required...advised. We're told that Monday will be Linda's put in rehearsal so we naturally assume that Linda will be performing the role soon...like Tuesday. But nobody says nuttin' to us.

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From This Author Raymond McLeod

Raymond McLeod has performed internationally and taught vocal technique from Los Angeles to New York City, from Broadway and opera, to film and television, for (read more...)

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