We had our final dress rehearsal for Bye Bye Birdie tonight. Half the cast doesn't know all their lines, including the young woman playing Rosie, who is considered the female lead. I'm merely the secondary female lead. I'm not usually on the stage when Rosie has her blank-outs, so there's not a whole lot I can do about it. There's some sort of stage superstition that a bad final dress rehearsal equals a strong opening night performance. I'm hoping that there's some merit to this particular superstition.
When I did Annie when I was 13, the cast was good, but on the rare occasion someone forgot a line, it was appropriate enough for me to make up a line or ask the character a question that would prompt the character to remember his or her line. It's not appropriate for the Kim McAfee character to take over scenes in this show in very many places. It mostly falls on the guy who plays Albert or the lady who plays Albert's mother to pick up the slack when Rosie or someone else blanks out. The Albert character in particular has a hard enough job as it is, as he already has more lines than anyone else in the show.
Conrad Birdie is solid. He knows his lines and sings his asinine songs well. The guy and acts looks so incredibly stupid that I have a hard time believing he's not a major dolt in real life, but perhaps he is a genuinely talented actor as community-in-the-sticks theatre actors go.
The theatre will be more than half full of my friends and relatives tomorrow night. The following night, the rest of my friends and relatives will take up at least half the space. It's a relatively small venue.
Someone has to stay with Jillian in case there's an issue. Little Andrew now sleeps in a crib at the hospital, but if there were a problem of any sort -- either with Andrew getting sick, something happening to Jillian, or God forbid, the baby having a problem, someone would have to take Andrew and someone else would have to be at the hospital. Since there are so many of us, it works out.
I believe my audience is bringing children, so I feel a bit sorry for the rest of the audience. My group will bring well-behaved children, but they're children nonetheless. No one's bringing anyone under three, which is the polite thing to do. Furthermore, many of the children are Mormons; Mormon kids routinely sit through long stretches of things far more boring than musical comedies, plus the children get to eat while they're watching, versus attending church, where they're fortunate if anyone passes them a handful of Cheerios in the middle of Sacrament Meeting. Sitting through live performances of Bye Bye Birdie while eating junk food should be within well their skill set. Still, what's going on in the audience may be more interesting than what's happening on stage a good portion of the time.
Jared's little brother Bryson, who just turned six and still believes he's going to marry me after his mission, wants to come both nights. His mother said
"maybe," depending upon how he does the first night.
Regardless, my audience will be bringing in substantial money to the community theatre producing the play, as my people will purchase generously from the cabaret where food is sold, and children pay as much for seats as adults. A packed house on opening night is considered a good thing even if most of them there just to see one person. They'll be an enthusiatic audience for the entire production. All things considered, the theatre company is lucky to have the audience that shows up because I'm filling in for in a couple of nights of the production.
I'm not meaning this in a mean-spirited way at all, as the woman has my sympathy and I'm certainly pulling for her, but I believe they could have done a better job in casting Rosie. It's not just that she isn't Latina, as my mom, who is about a far from Latina as one can get, played the role and was fantastic. There are a couple of really good songs that give Rosie a chance to stand out, and this Rosie isn't taking advantage of the opportunity.
One of the songs, i'll admit, is difficult for anyone who isn't a musician, as there's a part where Rosie is simultaneously singing a different set of words and melody against Albert's part. The whole song is musically polyphonic, but it doesn't matter if she's off or not on the parts where she's not featured, as the techies can just turn her mike down.
Tonight the director made a last-minute change in the blocking. He positioned me directly behind Rosie for most of that song, as Kim McAfee isn't all that integral to the ensemble cast in that song except at the beginning and end. On the hardest part, tonight the director had me sing her part with her where no one could see me because I'm shorter than she is. She came within an inch of nailing the song. I'll back off on the part whenever she has it on her own. I'm crossing my fingers than she does nail it tomorrow night.
I'll look for someone's version of the song. It's a scene where Conrad Birdie, idiotic, amoral rock star that he is, gets caught in public. An impromptu press conference begins, and he's his usual sub-moronic self. Albert and Rosie walk into it and have to immediately begin spinning for damage control. It's probably the only actually clever song in the entire production.
Update: Baby Camille is up to 4 pounds, 2 ounces. Way to go, Camille!