And of course - by the end of the day we were all pretty tired:Well, we did it. Frankly THEY did it. I dunno how - but in seven days David and Jill managed to get this thing open and I'm really proud of them and it. After last night was over David just looked at me and said I have absolutely no idea what just happened. Basically it was an out of body experience... But if they were in shock, and can't remember, at least the audience can, and they seemed to be really impressed with the talent of these to great performers.
So the day before we opened we had managed to rehearse through everything in sequence twice (chunks of ten pages at a time) - but we hadn't actually been able to get through a full run. The good thing about the tech rehearsal was that meant they had lots of time to run lines - which was a great thing - because they have SO many of them. And they have changed, and shuffled, and been trimmed. So right now their brains are like scrambled eggs. And, it's so unlike a normal script that it's very, very hard sometimes to remember what comes next. They've developed allllll kinds of tricks. David says: ... all I had to do was stand on a box. Jill THINKS (box: Tiffany's diamonds come in boxes)...and then SAYS "When they let Deanna Durban go and kept me, someone said "Mayer let go of Tiffany's and kept Woolworths".
They were both kind of wiggin' about lines - it was just so much so fast... but the great thing was is that despite the pressure, we all stayed in good spirits, and never got testy with each other. I love these guys.
We also were all trying to figure out exactly what Judy should wear - we had several dresses. The problem was we wanted a day look for the first act, and an evening look for the second. We had a couple options for the evening - but not that much that I was crazy about for the beginning. There was a black dress that I just thought looked too severe... and there was a green one - that had fantastic movement... but didn't fit Jill that great. And she HATED it. So... SOMEONE CALL STACEY AND CLINTON
Up until the last minute we were (and will continue to tinker) with the exact tone of Jill's 'Judy'. The tricky thing is that young Judy's persona is very different than older Judy's persona. And we're doing somewhere in between... the mid-point of her career (but towards the end of her first successful years). At this point she's been ON pills since age 14...but she is still pretty lucid. At first we were too "Dorothy" and she was too perky and vapid... then we got too old... She was very funny, but not very warm and likeable. A little like having Elaine Stritch in your living room. Which is kind of fun for an old lady - but a 22 year old girl comes across as kind of bitchy. So we finally found this kind of pleasant inbetween which uses her older rhythms, and older phsyicality, but employs a more bouyant energetic playfullness. She's more on the ball. And last night she nailed it and it was de-lightful.
We had a very fun new toy (that we had purchased for The Tempest) that we were doing to be using. It's called an IQ light... It has a motorized mirror reflector that you control on the lighting board with X and Y coordinates... so that can make a spotlight hit wherever you want rather than it just being stationary.
We ALSO have a major major new toy which makes running the show infinitely easier. All the light settings had to be done manually on the lighting board we had - you set each slider for each cue... and since I was the one running the sound and lights this time (NOT something I am very comfy with normally) Rich knew that I would have a nervous breakdown trying to manage the sliders... So he found this great little computer program that works like a computer lighting board but can operate from a laptop. So - this made running the show soooo much simpler.
It did not make tech faster. Normally Rich is able to design the entire show in three hours on average. But since he had never used this computer program before - and because it was finicky, and simply because it takes longer to type something in than to slide your finger. Sooooo suddenly, it turned into a long day. How long.... This long.
Yup. But he did an awesome job - and we now have more lights than ever before...so this show has about 150 cues in it. Which would never have been possible with the manual board. I was really nervous cuz there was no way I was gonna get to practice running the lights AND sound until the day of the show... Rich kept telling me the sound was really easy - but I was pretty much internally wiggin' about it.
The one GREAT thing about the long tech meant that David and Jill were kind of standing around a lot. Some actors just turn into zombies or goofballs - but these two ran lines the whole time.
I think it was a huge turning point for them in confidence...they just ran sequences over and over, and it really started to click for them. MAYYYYYYBE I'LL STILL TALK TO YOU WHEN THIS IS OVER. I'd never known David to be nervous about performing - and he was feeling really off center - because he just didn't know the script as solidly as he wanted to. The good thing I told him, was that since the show is supposed to be the two stars making up material on the spot - they can play off getting a little lost. But during tech - it all started to sink in. OH YEAH, MICKEY... EIGHT HOURS LATER YOU'RE STILL SOOOOO FUNNY
And by hour nine we were all pretty wiped out.
NOW I UNDERSTAND JUDY'S DRUG PROBLEM
We finished doing the tech at nine o clock and THEN we started a run of the show - because they simply had to get a chance to run the thing through and get the feeling that they could survive the thing from top to bottom. So we did the first act - with me running lights for the first time... and they did pretty darn great.
At eleven thirty we decided there was no way they should run act two - but act one had gone really well and we would get a full COMPLETE run through at noon the next day. I.e. OPENING. Eep. And everyone was pretty worn out already...
But - the next day Janice had managed to work some alteration wonders with the dresses... Gretchen had the world's greatest brainwave and lent us a little red sweater she had from her confirmation that suddenly transformed that black dress into the cutest outfit EVER. Janice deconstructed a huge crinoline to make the perfect size petticoat for under her act two dress... we managed to find a tux that fit David - we had a jacket that fit him perfectly - and Cindy had a pair of tux pants in her ATTIC that she brought over. Miracle.
And a few hours before the curtain went up - thank GOODNESS - the programs arrived: Which, and I know this is ridiculous, is one of my very favorite things about owning a theatre... i get so excited that we have our own programs. I literally look at them like over and over and over and over. Loser, party of one.
There was one number Rich thought was overstaged - my fault - so, without any time to choreograph it over again, I told them just to have fun and relate to EACH OTHER - which after all is what the whole show is about - that relationship.
We ran it - they did great. Poor Jill had never been through anything like this... Talk about trial by fire. And, since she had to get her hair ready... she did most of the run like this: And before we knew it - it was time to let the folks in!
Opening night we only had fifteen people in the audience. Which, for once, was a good thing - because it really allowed David and Jill to concentrate on being real and intimate and connecting to the audience in a genuine way - cuz you CAN'T fake it with a room of fifteen people or you look like a goober.
But it went beautifully. Their chemistry was wonderful. The audience seemed to adore them and even though they were a small group they laughed heartily and clapped vigorously. I was really really proud of them. And, actually, of me too...since I only screwed up a couple lighting cues.
After it was over David sat there with a glass of wine and just looked at me and said "I honestly have absolutely no recollection of the past two hours."
Day two - I'm happy to say - he did recall. And with Mrs. McKay's huge group that she wrassles together for the shows (we loovvvveeeeeeee her) we had a nice sized house of about forty. And it's WONDERFUL playing this show for a more mature crowd because they really remember the movies and stuff. They LOVED the show - they were a really fantastic audience. So that was wonderful. And the audience clearly adores the two of them. Which they SHOULD :)
And... most importantly. Janice likes the show a lot. Amen. So - if you haven't got tickets yet - GET THEM. These two kids are tearin' it up. It's really pretty amazing.