It is the end of 7 weeks of rehearsals on the biggest project in our history and we are finally (just about) ready to share our new musical before a preview audience tonight, followed by two previews tomorrow (the Pay What You Can performance is Sunday at 8 pm). Last night we were able, for the very first time, to run through the entire show, with lights, costumes, full band, full everything. The entire running time — both acts, not counting the intermission — was 2 hours and 33 minutes. Guess what? WE GOTTA SHOW!
Guess what? We were totally afraid that Act II would run an hour 36 minutes. It was a full 25 minutes shorter than that! In other words, despite plenty of little things that didn’t go quite right in our first-ever run-through, some very basic things went quite right. The structure of this show–its story telling; its musical dynamism; its character development; its kinetic movement; its theatricality and humor and narrative clarity are all very strong and in place. Are we in a perfect place yet? No. Are we feeling totally secure about where each screen movement happens and how to execute the quick change and how we bring out the chuppah? No. But we gotta show! A pretty potentially great show, if all the energies and professional efforts of the two dozen plus artists working on this show can gel over the coming days to fully realize this musical’s promise, we’ll have created something most timely and extraordinary.
We have a list of things we’ll be working on next week that we can’t address anymore this weekend. So the show preview audiences see this weekend will be different than the show people see next weekend. But those who comes this weekend will be so deeply treasured for their desire to be there; their excitement to take in the freshest expressions from brilliant but understandably nervous artists; the opportunity to help clarify and applaud and help send a show off on its maiden voyage–yes, there will be an anxious sense of occasion tonight.
How are we doing as a company? A little bleary-eyed from 7 days in tech; eager but uncertain as to how an audience will respond; concerned that not everything is perfectly set yet. Going public is the hardest and most important step awaiting us. Here’s a little bit of the note I sent to our company yesterday under the emailed header: “Our Optimism and Our Thanks”
Dear Team David:
In these hours before our first real run through of the show and in advance of audience coming this weekend, I want to tell you how eagerly we’re looking forward to these previews. Know that, in spite of the very long tech process we’ve just been through, and all the cuts and costumes and hair pieces and moving wall units that you’ve gracefully been asked to absorb and assimilate into your performance, the theater and the larger community center are really so excited about the artistic product we’re about to share with the world! It’s a room full of stars–incredibly talented artists–who’ve given tremendous amounts of time, talent, patience, and generosity of spirit to bring this large vision to the brink of fruition.
It’s been a demanding process, with a high degree of difficulty from the very beginning.. We could have used another 3 weeks and a million dollars, but our director’s been singing that song for a couple decades now! We’re very happy with the decision made to delay the preview process. Of course, in hindsight, what choice did we have? Well, we didn’t have to institute cuts during the tech process, for starters, but we did. And we’re very happy we made that choice. We think we’ve given this great big musical a fighting chance of landing on its feet before an appreciative audience.
So, in advance of sharing this work with a little part of the world, I want to ratify and affirm your labors and your commitment to each other and to the collective fever dream of the Creative Team that dreamt up this elegant monster of a musical. We’re very excited about it, all of us.
Break some legs in them thigh-high boots.