The first Sunday matinee went well. We had about a three-quarter house, but they were some of our regulars and they seemed to enjoy the show.
Harold Jurkiewicz, our director, was at a dress rehearsal for another show he’s directing. Bob Jones, our angel, was in the ticket booth. Rich Bulleri, the other AD, couldn’t come, so I ran the warm-up notes. We talked a bit about our Sunday audiences and about not letting Saturday’s good show go to their heads. I also announced that we would have a brush-up on Wednesday.
Paul Abbott’s warm-ups are great. He does a bunch of physical stretching and movement to warm-up the body. Then he leads the cast through a group of vocalizations to warm-up the voices. These usually include “The Alphabet Song” and end with “I Love Chicken Wings,” or “Hee-Haw-Hee-Haw-Hee-Haw-Hee.” Fun stuff.
The show went well. All the changes were pretty smooth and I think we got through the whole thing in just under three hours. That includes an intermission of about 20 minutes. So, two and a half hours isn’t bad for a Sondheim show.
Having less than a full house works out as it allows audience members to change seats at the intermission if they want to. One lady was cute. She was sitting in the front row directly in front of the flute player. She had some kind of ear infection and the flute notes were ringing in her ear. She wanted to move to a different seat but was worried that the actors would fret about that vacated front row seat. I told her that wouldn’t be a problem.
We made some adjustments in the orchestra to help with the sound problem. Paul Abbott, or music director, had them lay-out on “Soon” and it seemed to work well with just the piano. When there is underscoring the orchestra really dominates.
Apparently we’re trying to get some extra mikes on or above the stage. In last summer’s Guildlings show they used proscenium lights borrowed from Dearborn High. They are checking to see if we can use those, too.
I passed off the wet clothes prop chore to Marissa Campitelle, one of the stage crew. At one point in the play Desirée and Fredrik concoct a story for Count Malcolm to explain why Fredrik is wearing Count Malcolm’s robe. They tell the Count that Fredrik slipped and tripped into Desirée’s hip-bath. The Count wants to see the clothes. Desirée gets them and brings them on. They need to be dripping wet. Marissa handled getting the clothes wet, passing them to Desirée, and then getting them from Fredrik perfectly. One less thing to do.
I passed off the door bell chore to Lexie Kaplan, one of the stage crew. The bell announces the arrival of Countess Malcolm at the Egerman’s house. Lexie was right on cue. Two less things to do.
I’ve also made a note about the cars. I think we should somehow make more of them. Have them come in more slowly. Let the passengers bounce around a bit. Have the stopping be fits and starts. The cars are such great pieces, but they’re here and gone almost in the flash of an eye.
Nine more chances to get it right.