I have to catch up on one item from Sunday’s rehearsal. Henrik (Michael Suchyta of Dearborn) plays the cello in one of the early scenes, practicing a piece. Anne, his step-mother, (Lindsey MacDonald of Canton) says, “Oh, Henrik, dear, don’t you have anything less gloomy to practice. Henrik replies, “It isn’t gloomy. It’s profound.” Michael has not only gotten a cello from someplace or other, but he is learning to play it. Throughout the scene he draws the bow across the strings to create a particularly strident note, or plucks a string to emphasize a point. That’s living the role.
Monday’s rehearsal was something of a disaster and a triumph at the same time. Anne and Desirée (Sally Goodman of Dearborn) missed the rehearsal due to illness. Carl-Mangus (Brett Reynolds of Pontiac) was in New York on a gig. Henrik was in dance class. Fredrika (Jade Reynolds of Oxford) was absent. Madame Armfeldt (Diana Reynolds of Taylor), a grief counselor, was called in to work. And, Paul Abbott (of Livonia) our Music Director had a conflict and wasn’t able to be there.
This frequently happens in community theatre as members of the cast and crew have things like jobs and families that tend to get in the way of rehearsal time. There have been shows during which the whole cast and crew only comes together for the first time during the final dress rehearsals. This all helps to create the feeling Cole Porter described in “Another Op’nin,’ Another Show.” “Four weeks, you rehearse and rehearse, Three weeks and it couldn’t be worse, One week will it ever be right? Then out o’ the hat it’s that big first night!” We’re sort of at the “one week” point in getting the show together and we’re wondering if it will ever be right.
While Paul couldn’t attend the rehearsal, he did arrange for a substitute. She was Cat Menzies, an accomplished accompanist and singer. She put the singers who were present through a very productive rehearsal. The Liebeslieder singers (Shardai Davis, Mark Byars, Jillian Drapala, Julie Ballantyne Brown, and Brian Townsend) had an opportunity to polish some rough spots in their songs with Cat’s help. And Jillian hit her double high E!
Fredrik (Tom Murphy of Allen Park) also worked with Cat on cleaning up the timing of “Now” and “You Must Meet My Wife.” They fixed little things like being a quarter of a beat late, or a tad early on a pick-up.
Petra (Chelsea Burke of Plymouth) worked with Cat on her beautiful, long, wordy song, “The Miller’s Son.”
As a rehearsal it falls into the “triumph” category.
Meanwhile, on the stage and in the shop, a small army of people were helping to finish up the work on the set and set pieces. It was a nice turnout in response to a number of phone calls and an email asking for help. Let’s keep that going for the rest of the week.
A Little Night Music opens on Friday, April 26 at The Players Guild of Dearborn. Click here for more information and to order tickets online.