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.
Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.