Read-through of all music today. It’s good to see where we stand.. The first phase of rehearsals is always nerve-wracking for me: actors tend to find the music tricky, so when they struggle I feel like they’re mad at me for its difficulty. But I also think they know that the depth and sophistication of the music is what captures the complex emotions of these characters. This helps differentiate the show from being just a “kids show,” which it is definitely not.
This cast did a remarkable job picking up the tunes and harmonies quickly. In rehearsal, they record their parts on their iphones, and then the next day you can tell they really practiced with it at night. People don’t realize the amazing work ethic actors need to have. Even just the 6-day rehearsal schedule can be very grueling (he types while yawning). One of our actors has been performing in a Broadway show at night after rehearsal, too. Oy!
One of our actresses was not called for rehearsal today, and when we did a group number our director Kathleen filled in and sang her parts. I thought to myself, “How surreal that Kathleen Marshall-- someone whose work I’ve know and admired for years-- is casually singing my song right now.” If I have the diligence to continue with these blogs, I think you’ll be hearing me praise Kathleen a LOT. She is so smart and also so warm and kind. It is real treat to work with her. She’s sitting right next to me… but doesn’t know I’m complimenting her in this article. I wouldn’t want to make her blush.
I’ve also been seeing more of myself in the show than I ever knew was there. I guess things sneak in subconsciously and you don’t realize. One example is the character of Matt. All the other characters have names derived from Cyrano DeBergerac (Cyrano is Calvin, Roxana is Rosanna, LeBret is Bret), but where did “Matt” come from? In Cyrano, that character is named Christien! The first production of Calvin Berger was a half hour from my hometown, and many of my high school friends came to support me. One of them, named Matt, asked me humbly after the show, “Barry, um… is that character based on me?” And I had never thought about it, but I think he was right! I had forgotten, but in high school we had a love triangle: we both had a crush on the same girl (who now has 4 kids, btw), and she chose him—the happy-go-lucky, good-natured jock—over me. I chose that name by “accident” and didn’t even realize it was from my own experience. Yup, art imitates life, alright.
Now that I’ve gotten to know our cast better, I could NOT be more pumped about this production. It is going to be fantastic. Help us spread the word!