There is a last rehearsal to come before our 6th preview Saturday night, and then it’s onto Sunday’s final preview matinee before Sunday night’s opening. Yes, we’ve been rehearsing now for 7 and a half weeks (including previews) and I write this from an empty theater at 11 pm Friday night.
What I can tell you is that we have an unbelievably dedicated company, from the creative team that conceived this re-imagining in verse, image and melody, to the actors who’ve mastered this rapturous material, to the team of designers and stage management crew who bring this all to life.
We’re eager to go public. As director Nick Olcott said tonight, “You know you’re ready to open when you’re getting notes from the BAND on how actors should move the sheep puppets!” Yes, we’re getting lots of contributions, from seemingly everyone. Contradictory notes, to be sure, as well: As in, some like the first act more (the act of David’s ascension); and others like the second act (because more bad things happen to David); some feel the first act is more musicalized than the second; others find the Act II balance of song to text more comfortable. We’re hearing tons of feedback; more than on a straight play; perhaps because a musical involves so many other artistic expressions at one and the same time; it’s such a hybrid form; it invites a difference of opinion.
Almost everyone seems to like it; many love it; but I’m trying to deduce the general level of passion about the project; assessing word of mouth. It’s reported that some of our good friend are worried; friends who worried about JUDY GOLD, or SHLEMIEL (being too Jewish; too obvious), are now worried about DAVID; that it’s too rigorous; or biblical). All I can say and pray for is: Would that this be embraced by the public.
Ticket sales (and shall we talk tickets on a Friday night!?) are good, but not PRICE good; not JUDY GOLD good. They’re better than SPEED-THE-PLOW good. But it’s quite true that this show, more than any other this season, rests on what the critics will say.
And what will the critics say? Hopefully, to quote the beautiful song sung by the Players after the moonlit union of David and Bathsheva:
AND IT WAS GOOD
THE NIGHT WAS RICH
IT FELT SO GOOD
TO SCRATCH THE ITCH
THE NIGHT WAS GOOD
NO HARM WAS DONE
THE MORNING STAR
HERE COMES THE SUN!