Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 9

Sorry yesterday’s blog never arrived. I was so tired after a long day fighting my infection while trying to dance, sing and remember what I was doing … all the while my head pounded and the fever turned the perspiration into buckets of sweat. This morning the drugs finally kicked in and the cloud lifted … I am not at my best when sick … happiness is feeling well and happiness is also the new song I was given which is enhanced by a dance variation with two of our lovely and talented young men and the divine Nancy Ticotin.

Tomorrow ( Saturday) is the end of our week … so much has been accomplished and so much yet to be done, so the adventure is just beginning and has much more to go but a memorable start.

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Happy Halloween.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 7

Today was our very first day dancing with the entire cast … or should I say with the younger members of the cast, or should I call them the juniors – or maybe the children. We incorporated everyone into some of the choreography it took us two weeks to learn. It is with a considerable amount of envy that I say, it was not only remarkable how quickly they picked up the steps and the syncopated rhythm … but it was damned annoying. Nothing so illustrates the toll time takes on our agile brain activities, not to mention the speed with which the mind sends its message to the body, as a demonstration of how we used to be 30 years or so ago so dramatically illustrated by the gorgeous nubile bodies of our lovely young cast members.

More layers tomorrow.

Below is a photo with our musical director Charlie Alterman … notice my clothing … it can also be chilly inside the rehearsal hall, and with the changeable weather I am now nursing an oncoming cold. Have to nip it in the bud.

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Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 6

Monday … so technically THIS is Day 1 because the previous weeks were Boot Camp to become familiar with the choreography … Today we read the reworked script extended into two acts … And we sang the music we knew and listened to our musical director sing the music we did not know … the photo will give you an idea of the size of the cast now that we are all assembled … It is a big production … and very impressive.

Now is the time for putting all the pieces of the puzzle together … let the games begin.

Gotta go … GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 6

They say … “a picture is worth a thousand words” … so here are two thousand words that say it all … Friday the end of the two weeks of Boot Camp … Monday the full rehearsals begin six days a week from 9:30 to 6PM.

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Stefanie Powers in rehearsals for Broadway’s GOTTA DANCE.

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Stefanie in rehearsals for Broadway’s GOTTA DANCE.

Gotta go … GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 5

We began the day reviewing the many layers we have already been given which we must learn so well that it becomes second nature and the only way to do that is to repeat over and over “ad in ex austium” … forgive me I was never very good in Latin.

Nick began by saying that we would not add anything new but his joyful enthusiasm coupled by his overwhelming energy vibrating from every pore of his finely tuned and perfectly toned body … causing him to explode in ever inventive movements that leave us in awe. Needless to say we added even more to our plate of generously served choreography. In a moment of mad creativity Nick invited all of us to contribute a step so the variation got longer and one end was never enough … it came out rather well in fact … then the icing on the cake was more scooter time … I find that I have become a complete speed freak behind the wheel of the three wheeled ‘get about vehicle’ … Like Toad of Toad Hall … motorcar motorcar motorcar … 😛😛😜👹

Enough …

I have to fly to LA tonight to attend a Seminar of Independent Board Members so no blog tomorrow … back on Friday.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 4

The process of rehearsals … or even this “choreography boot camp” we are engaged in, is similar to applying Venetian plaster to a wall. First you paint on a layer of compound, let it dry, then sand it with a fine grade sandpaper, and start all over again … Layer upon layer until the wall is ready to polish. We are not yet ready for polishing but the layers are beginning to fuse.

Today we added a new dimension to our choreography … scooters … the sort used by people who have difficulty walking … they have many names … motorized scooters, power wheelchairs … there is even a high end “Jellybean Electric 3 Wheel Scooter” … with a capacity of 325 lbs., a top speed of 18 mph, and a range of 45 miles … otherwise known as … “WATCH OUT”. I hope to have photos soon, it promises to be a very entertaining part of our show, both for the audience and for us.

Today was wig fitting day … so after rehearsals … and because the weather had warmed up into the mid-sixties … I walked to the Wintergarden Theatre to meet the wig designer. Dori B. was kind enough to accompany me through the masses of people congregating in Times Square, which is truly an obstacle course. The trick is to dodge the selfie taking tourists while avoiding the costumed replicas of the Statue of Liberty or the half-naked cowboy all available to pose with you … for a price. Once passed 49th Street we breathed of sigh … victoriously on the far side of the madness.

Our wig designer, Josh, is set-up in the wig department at the theatre where the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical SCHOOL OF ROCK is moving in and doing their technical rehearsals prior to opening in two weeks for previews. This is a show with 13 kids in the cast, so backstage is to say the least … crowded. Getting measured for a wig in 2015 is a much more efficient process than when I first went through the procedure in 1963. Part of being a contract player new to Columbia Pictures and part of the old star system were the requirements of building a body replicating my measurements for the costume department … a face mold of plaster of Paris for the make-up department … and a wig block replicating my head size and hair line which was accomplished by wrapping my head in a mesh mummy style, then painting the mesh with starch, inserting my head under a huge hair dryer, then once I was cooked the mesh was lifted off my head like a helmet taking large chunks of my hair with it. Today it is a much less painful process accomplished with saran wrap, tape and a marker pen – so when the helmet is lifted I only had to brush my hair out and be on my way.

Getting a taxi in Manhattan between 4 and 6pm is almost impossible … so I took advantage of the mild weather to walk the 18 remaining blocks to my digs … only to find that I had left my cell phone at the Wintergarden Theatre … so I turned around and rushed back into the Times Square cacophony to retrieve it … I think I have had a full share of exercise today.

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Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 3

Mondays are such a special experience. They start out with a bang and fizzle out later. Paula … our dance captain, is amazing. (Pictures to follow.) She has the patience of Jobe and is wildly talented. She helps us by marking the steps and the counts over and over … I am sure we will look back on these days with amusement, but for the moment getting the body to have muscle memory and respond accordingly is the trick … and that is what it is all about. When we get the choreography the effect is fabulous and it’s a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Just putting all the good moments together is the hard part. Still, every day we make progress.

The New York fall became the New York winter yesterday, last night and today. Temperatures dropped into the 30s and there were snow flurries on Long Island and in Pennsylvania on Sunday. Lillias has the sniffles but is getting better so staying well is now an additional challenge. Hot tea with honey and lemon and lots of Vitamin C and a welcome tub before beddy-bye.

How do you like out new commercial below?

Gotta go … Gotta Dance.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical …

We have Saturday and Sunday off this week so I can catch up with sleep and rest the body.

Last night I joined friends to see the stunningly beautiful Jose Limon Dance Company who are keeping alive the remarkable choreography of a Mexican artist who worked in the 1930’s and 40’s. The performance was with the collaboration of the Royal Danish Ballet. The evening was a celebration of dance and dancers at the highest level of the craft.

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More on Monday …

Gotta go, Gotta Dance.

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 2

Oh boy … after yesterday my brain is scrambled and my body is fried. Not something I recommend for a menu. I took the long soak in the welcome hot tub with Epson Salts last night and I’m ready for Day 2.

We are rehearsing in the new studios on 42nd Street, a building which contains many floors of lovely spaces to accommodate the rehearsal needs of all the performing arts. Got into the elevator with two men … one was wearing a hat … had a salt and pepper beard … and was taller than I remembered him to be. “Hi Bruce,” I said, pointing at myself … “Stefanie.” … “Oh, hi,” he said. “You rehearsing here?”… “Yes, a new musical called “Gotta Dance. And my old bones are sore.”… “I know what you mean. See you.” And he got off at his floor.

I first met Bruce Willis when he was a very young actor making his mark in a TV series called “Moonlighting.” His show was on a rival network that took the risk to place “Moonlighting” opposite “Hart to Hart.” In the first year we beat them in the ratings every week, but when “Hart to Hart” was unceremoniously canceled by the new programming boss of ABC … whose name no one will ever recall … “Moonlighting” persevered … and the rest is history.

By the way … canceling “Hart to Hart” and a few other shows dropped ABC from 1st position in the ratings wars to 3rd in the network game. Today we have so many more channels that all three of the old networks scramble for ratings among a much larger field of competitors. At our worst “Hart to Hart’s” ratings dropped to a 36-share, almost unheard of in today’s vernacular where a 24-29 share is a mega hit.

Back to rehearsals … Speaking of vernacular … we are learning an entirely new one, dance-wise. The show was initially conceived as a one act, 90 minute marathon of song and dance … it has now become a marathon in two acts … so much more to learn … and much more to retain. For most of us it is mind over matter … for me, my mind is willing but my body gets the message a little later than I’d like … still, it is very early days …

Whoops! Gotta go, Gotta Dance.