by Jason Kappus, Ensemble, Legally Blonde The Musical
My first week was spent rehearsing during the days, watching the shows during the evening, and going out at night with the cast to meet everyone and start putting names to faces.
I spent the days with one of the dance captains who taught me the show either on stage or in the theatre lobby if the stage was being used. This is one area where an actor's imagination is very helpful, because although you're on a bare stage, you have to envision as many as twenty other people, where they are, and where they're going. Not an easy task, but luckily, a good dance captain (like the ones we have) can tell you exactly where each of those people are and your relationship to them - which I always find impressive.
It's a pretty quick and dirty process in a situation like this. I had one session with the music director to "learn" the music, where we basically went through every song once, or twice if necessary. He gave me all the specifics, like cut-offs/dynamics/etc. and from that day on, I was just expected to have it down. Similarly, we got through the staging of the show in about two days, and the next day, it was time to run the show. Luckily, I had taken the time to do my homework at the hotel, and had also paid close attention while watching the show, so this went pretty smoothly.
At the end of the week, I was pretty confident in what I'd learned, and felt that if there was an emergency, I could go on early if they needed me to (which apparently is more common than not). Interestingly, we then had the layoff week, so it was back to Seattle for a week. This was a blessing and a curse: great to be home for a week, but I also had to make sure to retain on my own everything that had been crammed into my head in the last 6 days.
Back to Seattle! Wheee!