Friday, July 24, 2015

Lousy dress rehearsal = strong opening night performance?

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!


  1. Reminds me of my first district horse show. I didn't win anything all day. My last class was a jumping class. I didn't usually do as well in those... schooled my pony and he refused the fence. Then we went out and performed a flawless course. We won the class.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Superman (Christopher Reeve) was in a equestrian competition when he was 42. He was thrown from the horse and became a quadriplegic. Vegans are against people using animals for their own pleasure.

    3. Lots of people ride or compete in steeplechase or other horse competitions practically every day of the year. Attributing Christopher Reeve's accident to breaking the philosophy of veganism seems a bit of a stretch. Vegans are entitled to their opinions, but not everyone holds the same views. I know a vegan who is permanently disabled because he rode a quadriped in the desert and if overtruned on him in a dune. Bad things can happen to anyone.

    4. I stopped riding horses about 20 years ago, though not because of Christopher Reeve or vegans. I am grateful I had them in my life during my childhood. It was a very healthy way to grow up. I think my horse would agree. He was my best friend.

    5. There are lots of people that ride horses that do not get hurt but that does not mean that it is okay to ride on the back of animals. But look at the odds from another angle.

      Not many celebrities get killed or crippled in accidents. This one celebrity that got hurt played Superman in 4 movies and Superman is known for being invulnerable (impossible to harm or damage). So it is kind of ironic or bizarre for Superman to become crippled.

    6. Of course it's okay to ride horses. Don't be ridiculous.

  2. I'm just hpong i don't screw up. I haven't in the rehearsals, which i hope isn't a bad omen. it's an easy part for me. It's ideal to have a 20-year old who looks 15 play the part, as on older person pretending to be a younger oerson can look at the characteristics of a younger person and exaggerate as needed and otherwise actually be mre realistic than 15-yr-old trying to play a character her own age. I guess its why actual professional child actors usually look younger thant they are and play characters younger than their actual ages, as they can do so with greater depth than can an actor of the actual age of the character, not that i'm anything resembling a real actor.

    Most of the videos of it I've seen show a girl who actually is curvy and sings with a mature voice. It works better with someone a bit underdeveloped singing about all her womanly curves when she barely has any, and sounding like at 35-year-old rather than someone with a fully-developed voice.

    1. Hoping that you will not screw up increases your chances of something going wrong. This is not superstition. If you look really closely at something going wrong, you will find your attention was on something else. If you just focus on what you are doing here and now, you become good at that. That greatly decreases your chances of doing something wrong.

      In other words if you focus on the present you become more competent and happier. If you now focus on something in the future, then when you are trying to do your part right, there is more of a chance that you will be thinking about what you are eating later and that does you no good while you are singing.

      Now I do not expect you to trust Eckhart Tolle just because Oprah Winfrey worships him so let us look at the science that your mother practices, known as psychology. A very famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow said decades ago:

      "I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness." To use the above, hoping that you will not screw up is being apprehensive about the future. You have everyday to learn the above more and more.

      Now it is easier to focus on doing something now that you enjoy a lot. Worrying will make you better at worrying. Playing the violin will make you better at playing the violin.

  3. IMPORTANT ADVICE: Here is advice from American Idol. Do not consume any dairy for 24 hours before you sing. Then before you sing, drink a tablespoon of olive oil. Then after they sing then they consume a lot of dairy like ice cream.

    The above made me think about musicals that I like. Now there is a very old musical called Music Man where a man goes into a strange town and convinces the parents that he will teach all of their children to be great musicians just like you are, Alexis. But after he gets them to pay for instruments and more he leaves town and the kids know nothing about music.

    Now there is a recent re-make of this (Music Man) made in 2003 with Matthew Broderick that I like a lot (great singing and happy ending). Here is is online:

    There is this one song that the women sing that goes "Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little
    cheep, cheep, cheep
    talk a lot, pick a little more" that is done very well.

    1. I've seen "The Music Man" both live and in the movie version. It's a cute show.

    2. I can consume dairy while performing in this show because I'm not using my chest voice but relying solely on my head voice. I just need to be well hydrated and to avoid sugar in the hours directly preceding any performance.

  4. Jesus says (Matthew 6:34) "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

  5. if I tried to eat or drink a tsp. of olive oil, i'd be hurling for the next several hours.

    If I consume dairly right after the first performance, I'm consuming dairy within less than 24 hours of the second performance. can't have it both ways.

    I'm not focusing on doing anything wrong. I just don't want to mess anyone lese up. I can take responsibility for anything I do that only makes me look silly.

    1. I was telling what the American Idol performers do. You can go without dairy for a few days. So apparently they do not have to perform daily. It is a weekly show. Yes, I totally agree that it is not a good idea to be hurling during the performance.

      As far as not wanting to mess up anyone else, there is a huge difference between doing something on purpose or by accident. The law reflects this. If you kill someone in Texas on purpose, you will probably be executed. If you are driving and have a heart attack and lose control of your car and 'kill' a couple and their 3 young kids since your car collides with theirs, you will not even be arrested.

      It is okay to make mistakes since that is part of life. To worry about making mistakes can make your life miserable. Everyone that you know is going to die. That is a medical fact. To worry about this is not healthy.

      You said "I'm just hoping i don't screw up." All you can do is your best. Worrying about the future prevents you from ever being happy. It is illogical, now I am sounding like Spock, for you to be worried about hurting someone else by accident.

      As far as dairy, did you know that the U.S.D.A. says that goat's milk (not including humans) is the healthiest milk to drink. More people in the world drink goat's milk than cow's milk.

    2. I can make mistakes and deal with them. I just do not like to cause others to make mistakes. Of course i would never donso intentionally, as A) I'm not a mean person, and B) it would make both myself and the othert person look bad. no one would win in such a scenario. I will make mistakes, which I hope are small ones. i just don't want my mistakes to lead anyone else into further mistakes even if there was no intent on my part to do so..