This is the seventh in a series of “behind the scenes” posts about the stuff that really goes into producing a show in NYC. You can check out our previous posts here and click here to be notified when the next one goes live.
We are really in the thick of it now! Rehearsals are more than halfway done, and we have updates on basically every front. Most importantly, tickets are on sale now for only $27.50 — and they’re selling fast! Do you have yours yet? 😉
It has been amazing to watch our director Sami Saltzman and music director Andrew Wheeler journey into the script and music with our stellar cast, digging into these characters that have lived in Becky’s and my imaginations for years. As a writer, sometimes you’ll watch a performance and get exactly what you hoped for, sometimes not (we are still in rehearsals, after all!), and plenty of times a performer will give you something even better than you could’ve envisioned. (I mean, there’s a reason Becky and I are not actors. We leave it to the pros!)
An actress friend told me once, “The writer’s job is to create a skeleton, and the actor’s job is to flesh it out.” I like that metaphor a lot. It’s not enough for an actor to just read the lines and sing the notes; there’s a whole world of physical and emotional creation that they have to do based on the words and music we’ve written, and it’s thrilling to experience first-hand.
Here are some candid shots from Monday’s rehearsal (courtesy of Michael Kushner Photography, cheeky captions courtesy of yours truly), taken while we worked through the chaotic, hilarious lunchtime scene.
As Becky is always telling me, there’s something special about mealtime scenes: it’s the one time in a play everyone has to cram themselves together around a table and nobody can avoid each other, much as they might like to. We have a lot of fun watching them all smash into each other in those scenes, and they clearly have fun with them, too!
Publicity & Preview Performance (and other fancy things)
We have been working to try and get the word out about our show — did I mention that tickets are on sale right now? — and as part of that, Becky and I have done a couple of interviews that should be hitting the internet soon.
It’s sort of unreal: doing something like being interviewed doesn’t feel very fancy because, you know, we’re the ones doing it. And we’re not fancy. I don’t quite know what to make of it. We’re getting to do things I couldn’t have imagined when we started this show, and it’s hard to make sense of that while we’re right in the middle of everything. (Come back to me after this whole thing is over and we can unpack that feeling further… 🙂 )
Anyways: one bona fide fancy thing we did was to perform at the NYMF preview concert last week. We brought one duet and one ensemble number from the show, and it was a blast. Luckily the weather was nice! If you missed it, you can watch our entire cast of characters debate NYC vs the Hamptons in this number, called “Nowhere Like.”
Before this week, the only recording of “Nowhere Like” we had was one that I made myself by overdubbing all seven parts (we call it “Chorus of Karls”). Though Becky still likes that version for the kitsch value, it goes without saying that this one is much, much better. 😀
Music and Orchestrations
Later today is our first rehearsal with the band. I’ve been working on arrangements for piano, cello, reed (flute, clarinet, and alto sax) and percussion.
Last year we just did piano and cello for the reading, so even though it’s still an intimate chamber musical, we’ve effectively doubled the size of our band. Which is cool! And only a little intimidating.
As a special sneak peek, I’ve made some computerized previews (not real recordings!) of what some of the orchestrations might sound like. Of course, the idea is that they’ll sound a lot better than this with real instruments and real musicians playing them 😛 but this gives you a sense of what I’ve been able to hear as I write the arrangements. Later today I’ll get to hear them live for the first time.
First off, a snippet from “Have To Look After Yourself,” the act two duet with a tango feel:
Here’s a bit from “Nowhere Like,” which you heard with just piano in the video above:
And finally, a teaser from “The Light” (Reprise), which is the finale:
Maybe we’ll get into band rehearsal and I’ll rewrite the whole thing! Or it might sound absolutely nothing like this… the only way to find out is to come see the show. 🙂 (See what I did there?)
Thank you for continuing to join us on this crazy journey! Our whole team is firing on all pistons for the next 14 days:
- flameproofing our set
- making sure we have a way to get our set from the flameproofery to the theatre
- assembling our costumes
- creating sound effects
- sorting out insurance (this one’s mostly done, thanks to an hour spent on the phone yesterday)
- inviting producers and industry members to the show
- selling tickets like it’s our job!
- writing this blog post 😉
…(plus eleven million things I forgot,) all the while continuing to hone the music and storytelling right up until the last minute. It’s live theatre, folks! Hope you’ll get to join us for this dream come true, running July 9–14. (I’m pretty sure I told you tickets are on sale.)