This week at NDW we ran the whole first act for the 2nd time! That’s pretty exciting. Our actors also reviewed most of their songs with Will, and Lisa continued to teach choreography. Our show is definitely coming along, but now we have to be careful to not get complacent.
This coming week, the rest of Act 1 has to be off-book and I warned our actors to not sacrifice the hard work on what has already been memorized in order to add new information to their brains. This is one of the challenges any actor has when memorizing a script. How to not lose old memorized lines while memorizing the new ones. In a musical there is even more to consider than just lines. Lyrics are just as important, and choreography has to practiced right along with blocking. So how do you set about accomplishing this task? Well, first and foremost, don’t stop practicing the things that have already been committed to memory. That is the easiest way to lose lines and have to start from scratch with memorization, thereby creating more work for oneself.
When I’m in a play I practice my lines whenever I have a chance or a quiet moment. In the car I’ll recite my lines while driving. When getting ready in the morning I’ll recite my lines. If I have a moment at work where I need a break and can take one, I’ll pull up a blank document and type my lines. If I notice that something is wrong, I can send the document to myself to check against the script later.
When it comes to music, there are these wonderful devices that did not exist the last time I was in a musical – a smartphone! (No, I’m not kidding – I haven’t been in a musical for a very long time.) These magical devices can store music on them. Amazing isn’t it? If I were in a musical, I could very easily pop in some headphones and listen to my music. Even if not singing along, this will help accomplish two things: getting the music in my head will help me be more comfortable with it and I can practice choreography either in my head or with small movements as I go about my day. Of course, if you’re able to sing along that would be best. Either way, listening to the music will help to keep lyrics and choreography in your head – whether you’re listening to the vocal or instrumental versions. At some point, it is important to listen only to the instrumental versions of songs so that you don’t learn to lean on other people who have memorized their lyrics.
One thing that’s really cool about putting all this work in is that you’ll find that you will know more than your own lines. This is really important for any live show. What happens if someone forgets a line or misses an entrance? If you know what needs to happen and/or be said, you can easily create an improvisation that matches the show perfectly and keeps everyone else from missing a beat. Can you imagine if the entire cast were able to do this? The entire show could be done as improvisation if necessary! Although, if everyone knew everything this would, obviously, be unnecessary.
It’s important for the staff to also not get complacent. There is still so much work to be done during rehearsals (I mean, we haven’t even started blocking Act 2 yet). We, the staff, need your cooperation to continue down this wonderful path we’ve started, but we know that we still have work to do, too. So help us by doing your part, and we will help you by doing ours.
This week I thought that I would share a video of a 60s dance move with you, but not just any dance – the Batusi! That’s right, it’s Batman’s very special dance that he does. Batman is my 2nd favorite show from the 1960s and provided me with love for comic books and superheroes. This video has two clips, the first is from the very first episode back in 1966. If you’re ever looking for some fun 1960s culture, I highly recommend this campy show. I’ve been lucky enough to have met Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin), Yvonne Craig (Batgirl), and Julie Newmar (Catwoman) in person. The two nicest happened to also be the actors who played my two favorite characters on the show? Any guesses who those two characters might be?
And now for a music clip or two. Here is Paul Revere and the Raiders singing “Kicks” – my favorite song by them – on the Ed Sullivan Show. They were a real group, unlike what Crusher things in our play, and they had several hits. A few years ago, I went to a rock show with my parents that featured musicians from the 1960s and Mark Lindsey, the lead singer of the group (Paul Revere was the keyboardist) was there and I heard him perform live. Also at that concert? Flo & Eddie. You may have never head of these guys, but they were also members of The Turtles, a group that I wish more people knew about today, and the only ones who continue to tour today. Their most famous song is “Happy Together.” The Flo & Eddie guys, by the way, are the lead singer and the guy in the orange – you can tell that they love what they do – no wonder they continue to tour happy(ily) together today. Enjoy!
Until next time,