On Friday, I got an email from Bill asking that I come to the paper tech rehearsal that night. A paper tech rehearsal is a meeting between the director, the lighting designer, the stage manager, the producer (sometimes) and from what I learned that night, the choreographer, too. During this meeting, lighting cues are discussed while combing through the script, and sometimes other issues like set change problems. Well, as I said before, I had no idea that I was supposed to be part of that, and I sent him a reply email that I had made plans for Friday night. Those ended in disaster, thanks to parking issues. I did go to the meeting beforehand, but only could stay for an hour. I felt like a jerk for leaving, even though they said that it was fine that I leave.
Today, Bill sat with me for a few minutes before (he’s an intense fella; see the video at the end of the post), we began our cue-to-cue session (it’s basically, setting the lights for the actors through out the show, and a lot of time is just the actor standing) and told me that next time I work on a show, (The fact that he thinks I will do another show in this capacity is encouraging, I think) I should think about what I wanted the “look” of the number to be.
I never really thought about that aspect of the numbers. Because of this, I spent the rest of the day analyzing the dances of the show. I know that I made some choices that a lot of people will stand on their soapboxes and decree as blasphemous, because I didn’t copy the original show. Here’s a couple of examples:
Big Spender: Bob Fosse kept the hostesses behind the bar and singing in their poses until they got to the chorus in which they would then explode with energy. For 95% of the number, the ladies have blank expressions on their face showing their jaded disposition regarding this life. It’s genius. However, I wanted a more visceral and predatory in your face type of number. Watch closely, and you will see some of the things that the ladies refer throughout the show.
Something Better Than This: When I see this number, it’s always a huge dance number, but it hardly ever has any meaning behind the steps. In the original production and the movie, the dance builds as each of the characters begins to believe their dreams and dance with glee. To me, the hostesses are in their situation because they either don’t have a choice or like Rosie, they go into the business just to earn some quick money, and then get comfortable with that life. Because of this, they find it hard to leave.
Rhythm of Life: Bob Fosse almost always pokes a fun finger at religion. In the movie, when the assistants roll up the doors to allow the congregation in, there are a few people walking and sounding like zombies. When other people have done this number, it’s usually just about the hippie-ness of it all. For me, I find that religion is a little crazy with a pops of logic sprinkled in for fun. I’ve tried to show this, I hope you can see it.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I just figured that this wouldn’t be something the public would get to know. Since that’s what this site is all about, why not give you some of my thought process.
But back to my thoughts about my vision…while the numbers are sort of what I want, but I had to simplify a lot of what I really wanted. The changes were made for varying reasons. So, while I am pretty satisfied with the project so far, I think once the show opens I will be SOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy. The cast has been wonderful to work with and I would love to do so again.
Speaking of people that I would love to work with again, Bill Starr is a great guy to work with. I’ve learned quite a few things from him this go round. I worked with him back in 1995 when I played Tulsa for his version of Gypsy. It was so much fun, but so much work. Late nights during hell week, and would find me sleeping in the wings or the isles. Pretty much anywhere that was flat. Even though, it was 15 years ago, Bill is still intimidating. And active!