June 2, 2009

Day 1 of Dolly

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:26 pm

dollysetOne rehearsal down, 14 to go!

The first day went very well. We had a production meeting in the morning, which was very productive. I think we’ve got a great team for this show, and started off on the right tone of friendly collaboration. A bit of the set has been assembled on the deck, which is always fun, and gets some good discussions going.

Our afternoon consisted of music rehearsals with the principals. Some old friends, one new friend I made while sharing a bottle of wine until 2AM last night, and our leading lady and leading man — Rachel York and Jamie Ross, who I met for the first time today, who were both lovely. Again, a great atmosphere in the room — I think we’re going to have a fun time.

In the evening, we had the full company — not quite all 51 of them (I think that’s the latest count), but enough — and did a read/sing-through of the show, and some fittings. So far the vibe is relatively relaxed and friendly. I’m really looking forward to doing this fun show with this fun group of people.

It’s kind of fun — in the way that being on a roller coaster is fun because you think you might be killed — to be PSMing a giant musical again. The challenges of touring were interesting, but there are lots of stage management muscles that have had a chance to atrophy in the last six months, and it felt good to work them out again. As much as every day on tour was a new adventure, I’ve forgotten the absolute terror that comes with pretty much every day in a summer stock season. Every day is a battle — you can feel great about a victory at the end of one day, but the next day you have to suit up again and start over, and earn that day’s victory. This is not to say that it’s an unpleasant work environment, or a battle against other people — the battle is you against the show, and overcoming whatever complications the day might throw at you.

Our director said something today which I appreciated: “People say that good casting is the most important thing in the success of a show. It’s not. It’s the PSM, then the casting.” I’ve never heard anybody say that before, but I like to think it’s true. I hope that the show makes my life easy, but if it doesn’t, I hope I have the presence of mind to make all the right decisions and make the process go as smoothly as possible for the other hundred or so people who depend on me.