Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 41

Stand by tonight for more news tomorrow … because I’m so tired I can’t think.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 40

Thursday …

It’s been a long day … in the morning we refined bits and pieces and we re-choreographed a number that I sing in called 20,000 People and created a transition from my number into the next number and so it is in effect a new piece of blocking. Then after the dinner break we did a full dress rehearsal with the orchestra for the very first time.

Needless to say I’m a little tired so I …

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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In wigs, makeup and costume

 

 

Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 39

Wednesday …

 

Today started with a full make-up, wigs, microphones, costumes, – and a full run-through of Act I and Act II without stopping. It was good to go through the show once again concentrating on the show and not the technical aspect. Up until today we have had musical accompaniment that was piano, drums and sound effects from an amazing synthesizer, but we had a treat in store because when we came back from dinner our 14 piece orchestra was going through the arrangements so magnificently made by our musical team. This really energized everyone and we ran through the whole show once again on our feet which was a real shot in the arm for everyone. It’s nice to have the show back in the hands of the performers.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 38

On Monday … my day off … sleeping late was not an option … my dear manager John Sobanski who is Polish arranged through his friendship with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland here a lovely press reception for local and international Polish television and press … Chicago has the largest population of both people of Polish heritage and people who have immigrated from Poland outside of Poland. There are four local Polish language tv stations which I did not know. It was wonderful to be embraced by my own which are at the same time proud of their heritage and equally proud of being Americans who have fully integrated. Clearly
there will be a great many tickets sold to see GOTTA DANCE because the Chicago Polish community is so supportive.

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Tuesday felt like punishment for a day off and seldom have I been so tired as I was last night … my back ached from being on my feet for the better part of the twelve hours we were on stage .. and my brain is fried …
I am sure there are others who feel the same but I can’t speak for them … today is another day and another challenge … so I will pull my Polish socks up and have at it.

Gotta Go GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing a Broadway Musical … Day 36

Saturday …

Today was the beginning of a charming theatrical custom called “10 out of 12” which has nothing to do with hitting golf balls, shooting pool or throwing basketballs … it has to do with arriving at the theatre at a designated hour and 12 hours later being dismissed … the 2 hour discrepancy is a combination of 10 minute breaks at intervals determined by our unions and a dinner hour. These 10 out 12 days will carry on throughout next week up until our first audience. Enduring this is a testimony to the dedication and the professionalism of the 40 or so members of our cast and crew as well as management.

After the news we received yesterday our cast is beginning to digest the change of plans and are making the necessary adjustments. The announcement was made by our producers after their careful considerations and in light of the need for an appropriate theatre in NYC that would fit this show and enhance the production, which is currently unavailable. Our director and producers have decided to delay the opening of GOTTA DANCE until the fall of 2016. This decision adds to the experience in Chicago which remains crucial to the development of the show, no matter if had opened in March or will open in August next year. Enthusiasm is still high and given all the litigating circumstances of this decision it seems the right one.

For me personally I can now concentrate on some of the other projects in my life, one of which is new and very exciting, but it’s too late tonight to introduce that to you. I will however write about it in a few days … Meanwhile, I have to go to bed because … tomorrow I …

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 35

Friday …

Today was more of our technical rehearsal from which some of us were released early, so I rushed over to the AMC MultiPlex Theaters to see Spectre, my beloved James Bond. On the way over here I got some breaking news on my telephone which really stunned me … my dear friend who was a wonderful actor, a wonderful director and generally a wonderful person, Robert Loggia, passed away at noon today. It doesn’t matter how old he was, what matters was that he was and will be very much missed. Fly with the angels dear Robert.

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 34

Our Thursday began with the taping of a local TV show on the Comcast network called “Broadway in Chicago” hosted by Paul Lisnek who is not only a great fan of the theater, but his enthusiasm for the stage makes him an excellent interviewer and a pleasure to share a stage with. Paul’s show has a live audience who showed tremendous support of our show as they listened to the story of the documentary told by Dori Berinstein, and the stories of the genesis of the musical as told by Jerry Mitchell. The audience were also fascinated by the stories from Haven and myself concerning our careers and how we became involved in the show. We four represented the show today and it felt as if our own excitement about the show potential spilled out to the audience.

Chicago is a wonderful theatre town and the audiences are sophisticated, enthusiastic and supportive of all kinds of theatrical entertainment, even fledgling new companies of actors. In that light I recall an experience I had here while making a TV movie which I wrote, produced and was acting in which we filmed here in the final days of production. The first scene of the film was relatively simple but pivotally important in setting the tone of the relationship between my character and her daughter, played by Melissa Gilbert. Melissa had to drive up to a large office building , park and wait for me to exit the building to join her but while she was parked a young man on a motorcycle drives by, eyes her, then turns around and tries to chat her up just as I walk to the car and have a rather curt exchange with him telling him to sort of get lost then I get into the car and we drive away … we needed a local actor and a good one so we had to consult with a local casting agent who presented us with video tapes of a variety of actors, one of whom was by far the best so we hired him and he did not disappoint us when we filmed. In fact, he was outstanding. After we had shot all of his side of the scene and the camera was turning around I asked him where he had honed his craft because he was so good, he told me that he worked in local little theatre here and in fact he and some colleagues were forming a company of their own … I wished him great good luck and asked him what he was going to call his new company and he said … Steppenwolf … for those of you who do not recognize this name perhaps you will recognize his name …Gary Sinise … Chicago embraced Steppenwolf and the rest is history.

We are fortunate to be here for the process of refining GOTTA DANCE … speaking of which …

Gotta go because I GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 33

Wednesday …

There were two highlights today … number one … a fluffy light snow fell as I was walking to work … it was magical  and disappeared the minute it touched the ground … so happy the weather here is mild by Chicago standards. Number two … for the first time we dressed in our costumes and our wigs … (see the photo below) … all the wigs are great … the colors and the quality of the hair is impressive as are the styles, and all in character for every part … suddenly the characters came alive.
The rest of the day, indeed for the next ten days, we are in technical rehearsals … this arduous process is the essential creation of the lighting, cues the sound balances and the movement of the set on cue and coordinated with all the people on stage, all set to computers …

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“Joanne

More tomorrow.
Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.
Stefanie

 

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Doing A Broadway Musical … Day 32

Tuesday …

Today began with a press conference held at the theatre where we will be performing. This theatre was formally called The Schubert Theatre built at the end of the Guilded Age and restored ten years ago when it was renamed the Bank of America Theatre. As much as I hate to see these iconic names from history disappear at least the buildings themselves survive in all their glory. It is also the same fate for the world renowned department store called Marshall Field and Company, a name synonymous with Chicago itself. This magnificent department store fell to the mega-conglomerate Macy’s, but at least they kept the original plaque with the name Marshall Field and Company. Chicago has some remarkable architecture, and I hope to get a moment to be able to take the river boat tour that points out these historic monuments to the history of the Midwest, but first work … the reason we are, after all, here. It was very exciting to walk onto our stage and see the wonderful set and how it will work for us. Most exciting the special effects done by the lighting department. But it was a very long day, having begun with a traveling order for us to be camera ready and picked up at 8am to do the press conference and individual interviews which ended at noon. We then went into the theatre to begin our technical rehearsals that ended at 9pm having had a one hour dinner break. Tomorrow we begin at noon and we will have more of the same. I think a nice glass of wine will be a lovely way to end this day.

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First Day in the Theatre

 

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Press Day With the CBS Affiliate

 

Gotta go, GOTTA DANCE.

Stefanie

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