Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 31

I came home on Friday after a long, but very constructive day refining bits and pieces and going deeper into my new number that we roughly blocked just prior to Thanksgiving and will perform tomorrow. Then all the usual stuff … I came home, did laundry, packed a bag getting ready for my departure on Sunday morning. Then took a shower, washed my hair which is a major production, and as I was studying I fell asleep and woke up at 3am … the lights were on, the television was on, but clearly I was not going to write my blog. So today two for one!!! Almost as good the Black Friday sales.

And then Saturday we were called earlier than our usual time so many people arrived accompanied by their various pieces of luggage which the producers have offered to transport on their truck. Unfortunately, the building that houses the rehearsal’s hall of the New 42nd Street Studios  has a rigid policy that their doors do not open until 9am – not 8:59 – but at precisely 9am. So there was a crowd of us on the sidewalks with suitcases having our morning coffee and gossip on the sidewalk awaiting the doors to open.

Our run-through had an invited audience of family and friends – they were wonderfully responsive so at the end we felt tired but good. All of us anxious to move on to Chicago and our next challenge.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/stefanie_powers

Follow me on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stefaniepowersactress

Advertisements

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 30

We were welcomed upon our arrival at the rehearsal hall with the distribution of new pages of amended dialogue, all part of the refinement process – I was a bit overwhelmed. Following our warm-up we read through the re-writes and were told we would be allowed to carry the new pages with us to either read new dialogue or in my case, also sing new lyrics. Once the audience was assembled Jerry Mitchell told them we had new material that had only been given to us last night and this morning so they should consider that as they watched our run-through rehearsal. Indeed it was necessary for me to call for a few lines and to do the new song next to the piano with my partner in the number, Nancy Ticotin. We managed to get through the performance and there was considerable progress with the work we had been rehearsing, I think most of the cast went home feeling good about the progress. I still have all the new things to get into my bones, which will occupy a great deal more of my Thanksgiving Day off that I had planned … but plans can always be changed. The discipline involved in this kind of work is much greater and for much longer than productions that are a revival of a well-known work. In fact, the genesis of this play began over a year ago. My involvement started in January of this year when I was invited to do a reading at a table with the songs sung to a piano with a full cast, most of whom returned to do the workshop in March and are now in the cast for Chicago and on to Broadway.

We were released a bit early, which is always welcomed, as everyone was looking forward to Thanksgiving. I’m sure those of you who are in the states are also anticipating this favorite holiday of the year. I think it is an accepted fact that Thanksgiving appeals to everyone … I mean who can find anything politically incorrect about eating? … Although I am sure there will be a dissenter somewhere … Bah Humbug to all the Grinch’s … I am going to have a happy time and I hope you will as well.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/stefanie_powers

Follow me on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stefaniepowersactress

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 29

Tuesday …

Because we will have another audience tomorrow for our non-stop run-through of the entire show, today we worked on refining and tidying up pieces that had either not been significant enough to refine before or which still needed more work. This process will continue until finally the play is frozen, which will be months from now.

gottadancephotoone

Among the changes was a major one to my part … the replacement of the song that is the centerpiece of the number that features me as the character Joanne. This musical number not only serves to hopefully entertain but it needs to reveal more about the character that will serve to justify why the character behaves the way she does. This pivotal moment was not being fulfilled in the eyes of Jerry Mitchell, our director. So our lyricist Nell Benjamin, our composer Matthew Sklar, and our playwrights Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, collaborated in re-working a song which had previously been cut and creating a new number that will hopefully realize what was missing. Tomorrow we will try it out in front of an audience, probably holding the pages. The number is called “Twenty Thousand People”. My fingers are crossed …

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical – Day 28

Monday …

We had our first audience today, most of those in attendance were either investors or very close friends of the producers, the director, the writers, and the composer. We had done our warm-up earlier in the morning and we were assured that the audience would be well informed that the cast was still in rehearsals and that this was by no means a finished product. But it is difficult for any audience to understand a rehearsal process unless they have actually gone through it personally. As performers it is our instinct to perform, yet we are still not well-seeded in our parts because they are still evolving, so we gave as much as we could given our insecurities. In any event, it was good to have an audience – it was very interesting to hear their reactions, to have people laugh at what was meant to be funny, as well as to not laugh at what was meant to be funny. All in all it was a worthwhile exercise for all of us.

This is a very special time in the year as we come close to the festive season. In New York City holiday lights are being installed everywhere. Near Lincoln Center where I am living the entire neighborhood seems to be out-lined in fairy lights, circling around trees and lampposts and draped over doorways, and if you can believe it Christmas decorations even before we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving. It is predicted that on Thanksgiving Day we will enjoy 58 degrees Fahrenheit, which will be fabulous for all those participating in the famous Macy’s Day Parade. This evening I actually bought the first Christmas gift of this year, I can’t believe it, and everyone in our cast seems to be planning their strategies for the pre-Christmas sales. The madness comes earlier each year, or it seems that way, and the temperature drops down to a nice 45 degrees which made it really feel more appropriate for Santa Claus.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 27

Saturday …

The end of another long week, maybe it’s because I’m tired … maybe it’s because I’m away from the comforts of my home … maybe it’s because of the routine of work, home, tub, watch the news, study the script, go to sleep, get up and do the same thing all over again … or maybe it is that I’m feeling deprived of my dogs, horses and my fabulous parrot … but I had a very blue Saturday. The night made up for the blues. I was invited by friends to a tribute honoring Eli Wallach, the fabulous stage and screen actor. The tribute was done beautifully by his family, fans and friends filled the SVA Theatre on 23rth Street. I ran into pals I had not seen in years, Lee Grant and Joe Fury, Joe Pantoliano (Joey Pants as his friends call him), and when I went up to say hello to Mrs. Eli Wallach, the actress Anne Jackson (I had met the Wallach’s many years ago) I introduced myself saying “Hello Anne, it’s Stefanie, Stefanie Powers” and she said … “You can’t help that!” Even at 89 the sharpness of her sense of humor has not dulled. It was a wonderful tribute, most important because my friends and many of those in the audience, were close family-like friends. If our wealth is measured in the friendships we have then Eli was a very wealthy man indeed. It was an inspiring evening and I look forward to my day off.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 26

Friday …

I had a twitter breakthrough today, although I still need a lot of coaching, my tweets are beginning to find a following. If anyone has come to this blog via twitter, then … how do I say welcome in tweet? … chirp chirp?

You may recall that weeks ago we went through a period of time called “boot camp” for the sole purpose of getting the vocabulary of the choreography into our bodies so the movements would not be so alien to us, and for the most part it has worked very well and we are putting all the combinations together … not quite in unison yet, but getting there. At the end of the day our coordination has to be as precise as the Rockettes. We worked on our finale today, which we have learned in bits and pieces over the past weeks, and is now coming together, but the last part of today the boss turned it all upside down and created a new concept which is almost a mathematical equation … The steps are familiar but the patterns are new and geometric. How Jerry Mitchell managed to visualize it and put it on its feet is a mystery … Hats off to him!

It will be interesting if any of us can remember this innovation tomorrow.

Gotta go get a flu shot … then

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 25

Thursday …

As promised RAIN all day and into the night … oh that my beloved California could share in this, not to mention that the news from Kenya is torrential rains from the El Niño effect. It will take a lot of El Niño to refill dams and reservoirs of Southern California, so we can live in hope that the rains will be fruitful this winter.

Today we were still on Act II as we will be tomorrow, and on Saturday we will take a very deep breath and run the entire show … Act I Act II and then we will collapse.

I still feel that I have not done my one big number called “All Eyes On Me” enough times for my comfort zone. “All Eyes On Me” has been in constant evolution so I can’t seem to get it into my cells which I desperately need to do. The fact is that most of all the other numbers were done in some form when we did the workshop so they have a bit of a head start. I’m not complaining I’m just being truthful and insecure.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 24

Wednesday …

This is predicted to be the mildest day in this week’s weather pattern, most of which is warmer than usual … tomorrow is supposed to bring at least 2” worth or rain with a temperature of 68 degrees … so wet, but relatively warm. That’s the weather report outside the rehearsal hall. Inside the climate was even warmer and the pressure to commit to the blocking and the choreography is beginning even if we are changing things as we go – that’s the part that is difficult to explain. At the same time that we know what we are doing is not the finished product, we still have to perform it as if it is.

Today’s non-stop run of Act I did find some good and worthwhile moments that doing the act bit by bit cannot show. It is crucial that we as performers can find the truth in the moments we have, even as those moments are developing. Tomorrow we revisit Act II … that will be interesting.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 23

Tuesday …

The days go by so quickly, going back over the first act reminds us of how far we’ve come and yet how much farther we need to go. I saw the divine Audra McDonald in the elevator, she is also deeply immersed in rehearsing her show … she said, “We’re tapping our hearts out on the 9th floor.” And I said “Well, we are hip-hopping our hearts out on the 5th floor”. The building we are in literally vibrates with all the talent who are diligently working with determination and dedication … that’s a lot of D’s …

My last obligation of the day was another costume fitting. Getting the costumes right is crucial and our lovely costumers have tirelessly shopped for a wonderful assortment of styles to choose from … it’s like having a personal shopper, for as we dress “Joanne” Stefanie finds lovely bits that could nicely flesh out my own wardrobe. I am a reluctant shopper so I very much appreciate the help.

Now for my HOT date … the tub is filling so …

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 22

Monday …

This is a day that always brings new energy after a day off, it also brought me a lovely new pair of shoes … dancing shoes … made by Bloch in the U.K. complete with a 3″ heel designed to make the dancers feet look their best. But 3″ is still rather high to be jumping around in so I cross my fingers as we rehearsed a new number that I’m featured in that requires  song and dance so that the shoes have to work and thankfully they did. I will be happier when I have a few more go’s at this number to feel secure.

Our day ended with a discussion and tutorial on social media by the staff of a company contracted by the production to handle social media and coordinate what they are doing to promote the show and what we all may be doing privately that might be helpful to their efforts.

I was very interested in enlarging my understanding of twitter, most particularly how to obtain one of those blue dots that designates the tweet is actually coming from me. Apparently it is not an easy process to obtain one of those blue dots.

So I just posted a photo of my horse and it was amazing how many people responded. I don’t really understand the social media phenomena but I am learning.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie