Well, dear readers, I assembled the musical yesterday, connecting all the dots, assigning scene changes, which are difficult as we have almost no running crew and the actors are doing the majority of them. We began the day with some choreography review as our warm up, then at noon we began the assemblage. Other than my stopping to change blocking or adjust something, the only slowdowns were assigning and figuring out those pesky scene changes. It took about two-and-a-half hours to get it done. Then we had a twenty-minute break. Our costume gal, sound guy, and lighting guy came at three – obviously what we were doing wasn’t their designer run-through, but they each knew we’d made a lot of changes so they wanted to get a jump on things. And so around three-fifteen we began a stumble-through the show. And you know what? We got through it without many stumbles and without any stops. I was astonished, frankly – five days of rehearsals and one session of assembling. I’d say this cast was ON it. Obviously we haven’t worked on the performances or scene detail and pacing, but we got through it and I was able to see how it was going to work, and I even saw how we could make the scene changes move faster and easier in several instances. I think the designers were fairly astonished, too, especially the costume designer. She’d been at the private reading at my house and so she had seen first hand how much work there was to be done. As she said to our general manager – “It’s a musical now.” I was very pleased with the work we’ve done on the show and with the overall staging, which has a nice flow. But the most astonishing thing of all is that the show ran exactly an hour-and-a-half, kind of what I wanted it to run. It will get a tiny bit longer when I add bows and the reprise of the title song after the bows.
Right now, I’m trying to get the ending revised and so I’ve made some proposals to the authors – just losing the final tag scene and moving its musical number two scenes earlier, where it would actually make complete sense. I’m hoping they agree, as it would fix any number of problems. In any case, that’s the way I’m going to do it so they can see it the way I envision it, then we can chat about it, if necessary. It was a nice way to wrap up the end of our first week.
After rehearsal, I went and had some chicken tenders and a few onion rings, all good. Then I came home, answered e-mails and, of course, listened to more Shostakovich. I think I’ll go back to Sibelius for a bit – just for some less intense music. The different performances and orchestras I’ve been hearing are fascinating – all very different in terms of sound, playing, and interpretation. I don’t usually dwell on that stuff, but in certain cases it’s like listening to a whole different work, which I find fascinating.
Today is my day off, but I will hardly be off. I have to be up by nine-thirty and to LACC by eleven to meet two actors. Then I have a two-hour rehearsal with Kay Cole and John Boswell for Kay’s act, then I have to immediately go from that to West LA to meet Jane and her ever-lovin’ Keith and dear reader Jeanne for a dinner. Then I’ll come right home and prep the Dial ‘M’ for Murder script.
Tomorrow, we begin our second week of rehearsals for the musical, so I do that from eleven to five. Then Kay and I will go sup, and then we begin rehearsals for Dial ‘M’ for Murder, so a very busy day and evening. Then I rehearse both shows on Wednesday and Thursday. Then there are no further Dial ‘M’ rehearsals until the following Tuesday, I think. Friday night I’m seeing Pet Sounds with friend David Wechter at the Pantages in the evening. Saturday we do a run-through for the composer/lyricist/co-book writer and then we’ll sup with him afterwards. I don’t know if he’s then here for the rest of rehearsals or not – I can’t imagine he’d want to be sitting around every day while we work – I should think he’d want to go home, then come back for our final week.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, meet some actors at LACC, have a rehearsal, and then sup with Jane, Keith, and Jeanne. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite songs of the Beach Boys? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy that our first time running the show in very rough fashion went well.