Posts Tagged ‘West Side Story’

It’s a sad, sad day on Broadway and the in the theatre community.

The Tony Award winning director and writer, the legend Arthur Laurents has passed away at 93 years young at heart.  He died while sleeping.

He is the author of such great works as Gypsy and West Side Story.  In light of his revival of WSS still selling great houses, he is featured in  a magazine interview.  Just over a year ago, Out Magazine had an interview with this amazing man and you can read it HERE.  He is brutally honest, and actually quite funny in that honesty.

I was so happy when his latest production of “Gypsy” took home so many Tony’s especially when it came to the actors.

I was stunned to know that he was as old as he was.  He was incredibly active and was still producing some fantastic work.

Dear Mr. Laurents,

In a world that is plagued by hatred and greed and corporations and bad politics, you were able to be yourself for nearly the 100 years you’ve walked the Earth.  You were incredibly blessed that you found love, true love in a time when it was forbidden.  I only hope that I will be able to stay in love for 52 years like you and Mr. Hatcher.  I am so relieved that somewhere in the world two men were able to hold their home together for so long while the world went on.

Forever your fan,

Jery.

Courtesy of Out.com via A. Laurents

The rehearsals for the show are going swimmingly!  Most of Act 1 is staged and we are just building momentum.  I can’t wait for the day when I can direct my own shows.  Watching people like Katie O’Bryon and Elisa Alvarado adjust a scene with actors is so fascinating to me. Helping to create little moments within the scenes is a difficult job, but they make it seem so effortless and they include the actors when working the kinks out.

Elisa works with Ultima and the Marez familia

Tonight’s rehearsal was just me and the two that play my parents, Jay Vera and Melinna Bobadilla.  While there were a lot of laughs, we quickly worked through one of the last scenes in Act 1, and talked through some of the counterintuitive moments that we were coming up against.  One of the first things that we needed to address was that the size of the stage didn’t feel proportionate to the home setting.  In normal circumstances, the solution would be to just move things around.  Easy Peasy!  Unfortunately, thanks to working on a raked stage, moving a set piece designed to stand on a slanted plain won’t stand the same way on a flat surface.

Snapshot of the model set.

This is what the empty stage would look like.  The Mexican Heritage Theatre is, from my understanding, HUGE!  I get giddy just thinking about it.  It is said to have incredible wing space and decent fly space.  That’s a luxury that not many theatres have.  But back to the work.  After making some repositioning decisions, we charged into the scene.  Our actor playing Young Tony, Lalo Lopez, was unavailable this evening, but it was a great challenge to try and feel out something for him for the scene.  I don’t mean that in a mean or snarky way.  I truly did enjoy the challenge of using sense memory to try and put some emotional weight in the lines while not having a partner to work off of during some of the scene sections.  That in turn, gives something for the other actors to work with as well.

We worked all over the scene, and I was startled with the alarm went off saying that rehearsal time is over.   I really wanted to at least run the ending of the scene and the exit at least one more time for the traffic pattern and for piece of mind knowing that I have it stuck in my noggin.  Alas, with rehearsal over, we were dismissed.  So after saying goodbyes and whatnot, I bounded out into the chilly night air with a lightness in my feet.

Tomorrow night is a stage combat or stage fighting workshop. Woo to the hoo!  I am wicked excited for it.  I love fight workshops! Love them.  Of course, I’ve only taken the one with the karate teacher guy for West Side Story.  That was awesome!!!  Of course it didn’t hurt that I had the amazing Tony Dicorti as my fight partner.  I am wondering how this is going to turn out.  Only because the way I interpreted the script, there wasn’t a scene in it that called for much fighting.  Maybe some shoving, but I don’t recall any fighting.

Until tomorrow…

 

The light at the end of the tonight's tunnel.

Woe is me…Ah, Shakespeare! Never in theatre have truer words been written.

The cast ran through act 1 this evening.  We had use of the sets and some of the props.  For the most part things moved along.  We did stop to fix a few issues like getting the cast to help with some of the set pieces during the changes.  The spacing NEEDS to be addressed, but when I tried to do it on Sunday, there were so many people missing that I don’t know if it was worth the time.  The good thing is that Bill said that if there is anything that needs to be fixed, I can stop and address the issue.  I had no idea that I was allowed to do that.  I guess I was just under the impression that only the director had that authority.  When I worked for AMT, I never saw the choreographer stop the scene.  Now that I have that juicy bit of knowledge, I think I’ll be good to go.

The set changes were slow, and they take up SO much room that the wings have no room for the cast when they have to make the 3 second (seriously, it’s 3 seconds) quick costume change.  I am excited that Bill liked my idea of repurposing some costumes from West Side Story to give to Charity, Helene, and Nicki,  I just hope the costumer isn’t too upset that I brought this up and tried to fix a missing piece of the puzzle.

I feel that at this point, my head is going to burst and a mixture of Skittles, thumb tacks, and erasers will come pouring down like confetti.  I know it’s not my job to get them to rehearse on their own time.  I’ve worked for theatre companies before, and the cast usually find their own time to get the steps down.   Then again, I do feel that I have to do everything that I can to make the show the best that it can be.   So I’ve decided to open the rehearsal hall early everyday this week, and possibly next week if we can’t be in the theatre.

I tell you what, friends, this is going to be the longest tech week EVER.

I am so bummed because there was a piece of audio that I really wanted to bring to you, but I experienced user issues.  Yeah, like I turned on the digital recorder, but not the actual mic.  Ha, here I am talking about details, and yet, I can’t even pay attention to my own details.  So that will be my note to myself.  Turn on your microphone, Jery.

Bill Starr sets Act 1, Scene 1

The light at the end of the tonight's tunnel.

Woe is me…Ah, Shakespeare! Never in theatre have truer words been written.

The cast ran through act 1 this evening.  We had use of the sets and some of the props.  For the most part things moved along.  We did stop to fix a few issues like getting the cast to help with some of the set pieces during the changes.  The spacing NEEDS to be addressed, but when I tried to do it on Sunday, there were so many people missing that I don’t know if it was worth the time.  The good thing is that Bill said that if there is anything that needs to be fixed, I can stop and address the issue.  I had no idea that I was allowed to do that.  I guess I was just under the impression that only the director had that authority.  When I worked for AMT, I never saw the choreographer stop the scene.  Now that I have that juicy bit of knowledge, I think I’ll be good to go.

The set changes were slow, and they take up SO much room that the wings have no room for the cast when they have to make the 3 second (seriously, it’s 3 seconds) quick costume change.  I am excited that Bill liked my idea of repurposing some costumes from West Side Story to give to Charity, Helene, and Nicki,  I just hope the costumer isn’t too upset that I brought this up and tried to fix a missing piece of the puzzle.

I feel that at this point, my head is going to burst and a mixture of Skittles, thumb tacks, and erasers will come pouring down like confetti.  I know it’s not my job to get them to rehearse on their own time.  I’ve worked for theatre companies before, and the cast usually find their own time to get the steps down.   Then again, I do feel that I have to do everything that I can to make the show the best that it can be.   So I’ve decided to open the rehearsal hall early everyday this week, and possibly next week if we can’t be in the theatre.

I tell you what, friends, this is going to be the longest tech week EVER.

I am so bummed because there was a piece of audio that I really wanted to bring to you, but I experienced user issues.  Yeah, like I turned on the digital recorder, but not the actual mic.  Ha, here I am talking about details, and yet, I can’t even pay attention to my own details.  So that will be my note to myself.  Turn on your microphone, Jery.

Bill Starr sets Act 1, Scene 1