Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday, August 29th

Nearly three months without a post. A new record I think. I've thought abour writing fairly frequently and just haven't out of a combination of business, cussedness and sheer tiredness. It's been a busy summer and I'm just starting to come out of a crazed state of too much work and too much rehearsal time. June and the first part of July were devoted to '42nd Street', my first directorial project in some years. I can't say that it's the most interesting show in the world as it's a collage of backstage musical cliches, tap numbers and improbable situations so there's not a ton of meat on the bones and significant directorial stuff. I toyed with a few ideas like having Peggy Sawyer be a hard little chippy who ends up with Abner, the lecherous old backer but decided that might be a little much for the intended audience and went fairly traditional. My only real novel moment was staging the overture as the theater coming to life with the stage hands, artistic staff and auditioners all converging to bring the audience into the world of the show. I think it worked OK. I was very proud of my cast. As is usual with musical theater, I had a number of people with minimal experience and certainly no where near enough tappers to make the show work. The 25 folk I ended up with though learned to tap, developed stage presence, sang well together and in general worked there butts off to create a relatively well balanced show that audiences thoroughly enjoyed. That we were able to pull it off in 6 1/2 weeks was a bit of a minor miracle, but everything was there in the end, thanks to Tommy's production manager style of cracking the whip and keeping everything moving. (He even did the costumes and wigs as we could find no one else to do them on our miniscule budget). The staff on this one worked well together and we want to work together again, hopefully with a few more resources. I'd like to do a smaller show, though. I'm thinking 'She Loves Me'. '42nd Street' is huge in terms of production numbers - 175 costumes for a cast of 25 for instance. Tommy and I went directy from '42nd Street' into the cast of 'Oklahoma!', playing two of the farmers (as opposed to the cowmen who were all teenagers who could handle the dancing). Another show that came together relatively well. Can't say I am fond of the space it was done in as the stage is too small and the climate control on stage is subpar so we were all dripping with sweat after every number. Still, fun to be able to do that title number with the mass movements downstage and feel the audience getting caught up in it. With two large musicals, not a lot of time to do other things the past couple of months. Trying to keep my head above water at work. The new paperless computer system is here wreaking havoc on all of our staff and clinic systems as we try to learn how to use it properly. We're running on about 60% schedule at the moment and are trying to get back to 100% by the first of October. Lots of financial stresses and strains at UAB these days. But I don't think it's any better anywhere else. We're supposed to go to NOLA this weekend but there's a hurricaine parked on top of it at the moment and who knows what will happen? We will not be going if there's no power or if the city is full of water. I'll try to keep it from being three months before I stick something else in this space.