Friday, December 5, 2008
I just got home from our first preview. It was simultaneously nerve-racking and thrilling. And sweaty - it was also very, very sweaty.
The past couple of days have been full of excitement. In the past 36 hours, we:
a.) Ran the show for the first time with all the technical elements.
b.) Sang with the orchestra for the first time.
c.) Had our first and only dress rehearsal with the orchestra.
Part of being a professional is being able to pick things up quickly, because you might only get one chance to try something before you put it in front of an audience. But even with the steep learning curve of the last two days, things were on track for a successful first preview tonight.
I've performed in a handful of 5th Avenue shows before, but never in a role as big as this one. There's a lot to remember, not only in terms of choreography, but also harmonies, blocking, and character arcs. And that's just the performing - there's just as much to remember about entrances, exits, costume changes, picking up props, and moving set pieces as there is character work.
Just before tonight's performance began, I sat in my dressing room looking in the mirror. I suddenly thought about the great task ahead of me in the pending performance and thought, "How in the hell am I going to do this? I'm going to forget every single line, dance, and song. This is ridiculous. I'm going home and going to bed."
Well, I didn't end up fleeing the Theatre, And luckily, I didn't forget everything. (Although I did forget one very brief, but obvious move in "Goin' Courtin'," but since I'm pretty far offstage at that point, hopefully all eyes were towards center stage.... Hopefully.) But for most of the show, my body took over.
All the work memorizing, repeating and reviewing came together for a pretty spectacular performance. The applause at the end of "The Challenge Dance" felt like an ocean - waves of sound rippling from the audience onto the stage. My real estate agent, who saw tonight's performance, sent me an e-mail stating, "I WANT TO KISS YOU, YOU WERE SO GOOD!" Considering he's a 50-year-old straight man, I'll take that as a compliment.
Mo Brady (Gideon)