April 21, 2010

Musings on Musicals

I call this: theatre — Posted by KP @ 8:53 am

In relation to my last post about the IRNE Awards, as well as various Facebook posts among friends about it, I put on a couple cast albums of last year’s shows, and a few minutes into the opening number of Mame was reminded of something very special.

It was the feeling of calling a first preview of a show with about 600 cues (maybe a third of which can hurt somebody), having maybe run it once before, if you’re lucky. While the relative relaxation of premiering a show you’re sort of comfortable with is nice, there is a thrill in doing the former which is probably the stage management equivalent of skydiving. I don’t understand why anybody would want to risk jumping out of a plane just because it’s fun, and I know there are people who would never want to stage manage a musical, but I find that after I’ve been terrified out of my mind and survived, it’s really fun. Maybe the being terrified is what makes it fun later.

I should also mention that I am always nervous before a first preview, no matter how easy or well-teched the show. On R&J our stage management intern, Ashley, was in the booth with me for first preview, partially to observe the call, and partially to take a final round of scene timings on my computer. I was probably as comfortable in my knowledge of the show as I’ve ever been in my career. Just before we started, I turned to her and said, “Just so you know, I’m really nervous right now,” and she said, “That’s good to know that it’s not bad that I feel that way when I do a show.” I said, “That’s why I’m telling you!”

As we come to the end of this year’s R&J tour, I presumably have to get my head in gear to call some more big musicals (not to mention the biggest musical of all time, which I need to be call-able on five days from now). I’ve been very addicted to Pandora Radio and other popular music for a while now. think I need to listen to more showtunes.

IRNE Awards Shoutout

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 12:42 am

The IRNE Awards were last night — that’s the Independent Reviewers of New England, basically the theatre awards for the Boston area and other New England environs. I’ve never been to the IRNEs or anything, but it’s something I like to follow because I usually have a few horses in the race.

This year it was productions of Hello, Dolly, Mame and La Cage that I was PSM for at the Reagle Players this past year.

I’m pleased to say that we won six awards including Best Musical.

The winners were:

  • Best Choreography: David Scala for La Cage
  • Best Supporting Actor: R.Glen Michell in Mame (Beau) and La Cage (Dindon)
  • Best Actress: Rachel York in Hello, Dolly! (um, Dolly. Obviously.)
  • Best Actor: David Engel in La Cage (Albin)
  • Best Musical Direction: Daniel Rodriguez and Jeffrey P. Leonard for Dolly and La Cage
  • Best Musical: La Cage

We had many other worthy nominees, many of whom lost to the people above. They were: Susan Chebookjian for choreography on Dolly, Maureen Brennan (Mame) and Sarah Pfisterer (Dolly) for Supporting Actress, Jamie Ross (Georges in La Cage, who was just as important to the charm of the show as David, but naturally had the less flashy role — literally!), Worth Howe (Dolly) and David Scala (La Cage) for Best Director, who were both a real pleasure to work with, Troy Costa for Most Promising Performance by a Child Actor for Mame, and finally Dolly was also up for Best Musical — which is a tough choice, as it may or may not have been the best show I’ve ever done. At least until we did La Cage a few months later.

I also have to give a shoutout to Anita Yavich, who is an awesome costume designer I worked with on Henry V, who won for her design on The Miracle at Naples.

Anyway, if the IRNEs are anything like the Tonys, they would be motivated only by political and financial concerns, by a bunch of people who haven’t seen half the shows nominated. So I hope they’re not. I prefer instead to think that we are being recognized for our good work this past summer. It’s nice to think that my work might have contributed in some way to the impact the show had to earn it Best Musical, especially since I haven’t been able to have that degree of impact doing Shakespeare for the last six months. It is truly time to go home.