Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Collapsing Stages, Missing Cues, Bye, Bye Dress Rehearsal!

One of Mike's writer group friends--and a seasoned mom of three boys, one of whom did drama--told him today that if the dress rehearsal goes badly, then the play should be a success!

Well, judging from tonight's dress rehearsal, the play should be fantastic!!

These kids have been working constantly, every day after school and recently until 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. Today during their rehearsal, the set extension to the stage collapsed when nine or ten kids jumped all at once during one of their songs. Fortunately none of them were hurt!

So they had to improvise their staging and choreography during the dress rehearsal while the handy dads reinforced the platforms in the back of the cafeteria (with the background noise of drills and hammers going during the show!).

They have an orchestra, and they are a bit rusty. The music in "Bye Bye Birdie," both the instrumentals and the vocals, is quite complicated. The trumpet player was struggling. And it was clear that the kids hadn't practiced very extensively with the orchestra. Mike ran into a dad in the bathroom who was playing bass in the orchestra--apparently he hadn't played for some time, and he told Mike that the music was hard...and they had to transpose some of it!

There were gaps between scenes where kids missed cues because they were still changing costumes. A few lines were flubbed or missed.

Some of the leads did an excellent job, while others were clearly nervous and less experienced on the stage. One of the most experienced actors on stage, an 8th grader, has 14 costume changes, and one of these changes caused her to miss one of her cues on stage. (She plays both Albert's and Kim's mothers.) Another minor lead actor missed several cues and a few lines as well.

The director called the dress rehearsal quits in the middle of the second act, because the kids all looked tired out and discouraged. With the delay getting the dress rehearsal started, the delayed transitions between scenes, and all the unforeseen circumstances, it was late by that time. She gave them an encouraging pep talk at the end.

No matter what happens, it's sure to go more smoothly tomorrow for opening night!

Chris did a great job! "The Telephone Hour," one of the most famous songs in "Bye Bye Birdie" went very well. Chris made a very cute Harvey Johnson! If I had a video editing program, I could post a video, but alas, I cannot figure out how to do that. Must invest in one, I suppose!

Here are some photos of tonight's rehearsal...


The "We Love You Conrad" chorus, which had some challenges hitting the high notes and projecting at the same time...

Albert and Rosie (they both did very well--Rosie was especially strong for a middle schooler!)


The Telephone Hour and our Harvey Johnson--he somehow misplaced the shoes we bought him for his costume!



More Telephone Hour (where the boys are is where the extended set is supposed to go)
Still trying to get a prom date...



Mrs. Peterson (Albert's mom), who had a great New York accent!


One of the production numbers

"All-American Boy"
Conrad and his groupies


The boys complaining about Conrad
End of "All-American Boy"

Chris singing in the chorus

"Bye Bye Birdie" is very ambitious for a middle school production! I'm sure they'll all be happy when the play is over (it will run tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday). Chris has been enjoying all of the rehearsals and has not complained ONCE about all the hard work. I'm sure part of him will be sad on closing night.
I'm crossing my fingers that things go more smoothly tomorrow night!

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