We Crawl out of the Ring of Fire.

Hey again,Ok - some more adventures... The other day after the matinee one of Pam Crone's Roving Seniors (I like to call them her Crone-ys) one of the 'golden girls' came up to Rich and said "there were two really good songs". Out of forty some songs in the show... I wasn't quite sure what to do with that!! :) Although, Janice does keep reminding me that for some of these ladies, at time these sixties songs were popular, a lot of these folks were actually already in their forties... But Pam said to them "I bring you to all the shows YOU want to see...this time you're coming to the one I WANT!" which I think is pretty adorable. Heck - they had cupcakes...they were happy. And frankly, since the cast and I have been using the remaining 800 cupcakes as pre-show fuel every night... we're pretty happy too :)

On the last night of the Berlin show we had not-happy-Jo-Jo moment. During the run I had been making a joke in the script about the fact that Jill had wanted a bonnet for "Easter Parade", and I had threatened her with the pink bonnet that Janice wears at the Pioneer Festival. Well - as a joke - on me - Janice brought the bonnet back from Ohio and on the last night Rich and Janice told Jill to put it on before the number. Apparently they had intended for her to just put it on - I would see it when I went to sat down - she would say she was just kidding, take it off and do the song properly. However. I didn't know about any of this. Rich even apparently went over to Tim to tell him not to start playing straight away so Jill could take the bonnet OFF before she started the song. But...so I understand...Jill didn't realize she was supposed to take it off before the song started. So. She did the whole number with the pink bonnet on - which was a) ridiculous...like realllly ridiculous. AND because of the way those bonnets were designed to shade from the sun - they completely blocked her face from about 60% of the audience at all times. I nearly had an incredible hulk moment. At intermission I was trying not to go all tazmanian devil and luckily Rich explained that it was all a mistake and Jill hadn't done anything wrong. Which made me very happy. There is nothing that makes me more crazy than something that is designed to make people in the show laugh, but isn't really for the audience... so hopefully I won't have anymore surprises in the near future.

As the clock ticked towards the opening of the sixties show, Nathan and I were getting a little panicky. Several elements of the show were very complicated and they had taken up a huge amount of rehearsal time. Learning the MUSIC alone - (no staging) for the gigantic television medley (which was forty one pages of music) took up about 40% of our total rehearsal period.

BRAIN HURTS. PLEASE STOP. music-sixties.jpg

Plus we had soul bossa nova (the Austin Powers theme) which was also a beast. Plus they were doing several other acapella numbers... and the nature of these songs dictated that they HAD to have choreography and staging of some kind. And the music demands were SOOOO vast that we basically only had about three days to actually get about 80% of the show up on its feet. It was crazy. Nathan and I tag teamed - I would be figuring stuff out and then he would teach it while I was figuring out the next thing... He was amazing. We were flying at an insane pace...whenever the poor little actors were like "can we go over that from the beginning" Nathan would be like "no time... moving on...no time... we'll review it once you've learned it... sometime before the show closes!". Their eyes were crossing - but we just had no choice. I don't think I've ever staged so much stuff, so quickly in my life. And they did great. Carl particularly who I think was so stressed out that I think he considered entering the witness protection program to try and escape. Cuz he's like me - he can do staging really well once it's 'in his body' as they say - but it takes a long time for him to learn it. But because I wanted him to have at least a few days of process time THAT'S why we had to teach it so fast - so at least they had been exposed to everything. When one of the actors wasn't there we just taught the number anyway and they learned it that night at the house when the others were reviewing it. It was really nutty. We had to throw out the idea of a day off that week... But, I just kept saying that we were almost at the peak of the mountain... and after we got the darn thing open we could all sleep for the first time in weeks.

rehearsin.jpg

The sixties tech, particularly considering that it's a longer show, and we are doing SO many medleys (which means lighting like four songs rather than just one in the course of a number), went super fast.

NOT FAST ENOUGH jill-eyore.jpg

Rich was like lightning and we got through really well. It's always a great relief to get through the last tech of the summer with a minimum of bloodshed!

YAY jill-smiley.jpg

Partially assisted by copious amounts of caffeine.

TECH SUCKS angie-sipping.jpg

The clothing situation was now all sorted out. Even though choreography had buttons flying off of the boys jackets left and right... Enter multi-talented Nathan the newly appointed wardrobe mistress.

THIS IS SEW NOT IN MY JOB DESCRIPTION. nathan-thread.jpg

Yes - he's wearing a "Hair" shirt - we've all become sixties obsessed.

The girls were getting pretty darn comfy in their go go boots - although Angie felt very strongly that our stools had been designed by a non-vertically challenged individual and would like to put in a request for a three-rung model on the next stool upgrade! Angie's hair was sorted with the miracle of the bump-it. Jordan, because he was trying to grow his hair out for a show that he's doing in NY this fall, actually had PERFECT sixties hair already. Jill's mom brought her these gigantinormous extensions that she had been coveting since the beginning of the summer so she was now able to have instant flower-child hair.

jill-mod.jpg

Although she has to be pretty careful not to leave them lying around because Po is pretty convinced they are actually furry critters that need to be devoured. So that left us with little Carl. Who was very very concerned about his hair. See, Carl's hair is not versatile, so I'm told. He has very fine hair that pretty much likes to act like a koosh ball... so he can his swoopy upy thing that looks very modern... or he can pretty much shave it off. Which we considered. For I while I was quite convinced that he'd just be able to blow dry it from the top and it would sit like 'monkees' hair... in a bowl cut. And then we tried it...

OH, YES...THIS IS VERY FETCHING. carl-pre-wig.jpg

i was mistaken. It kind of just becomes an endearing pom pom. Which is fun to play with...but not particularly fun for Carl or terribly period-appropriate. And so, after he had made several valiant efforts to tame his mane... I looked around online. And found him a Beatles wig. I thought he'd be like "are you crazy, i'm not wearing a wig". His little face lit up like it was Christmas morning and he HAD gotten a red rider bee bee gun. Ok maybe not - it's Carl...his face lit up like he'd gotten tickets to see Patti Lupone and Liza Minnelli in 'Side Show"...but you know what I mean. Now, the problem was we ordered the wig the day before the shows started - so for the first two performances he had to wing-it. And he would kind of stare at the UPS truck longingly as if he was in the Music Man waiting for his trombone to arrive on the Wells Fargo Wagon. And then it DID!!! And he was a very happy camper. And after Madge returned to us - with a super quick little trim at the back - it looks pretty incredible. HOORAY - TOUPEE! wig-trim.jpg

carl-wig-arrived.jpg

We had bizarre moment of hilarity when Angie's boyfriend, Joey, came to visit from New York for a days. He is a fabulous guy - but when we all saw his hair we thought it was pretty darn hysterical that he and Carl now had the exact same hair cut.

THE NEW PATTY DUKE SHOW. carl-and-joey.jpg

Think of the money we could have saved if we had just scalped Joey.

Jordan's parents came to visit right at the peak of the summer madness. I adore the two of them. They caught the last Berlin show, and they (astoundingly) wanted to subject themselves to the terror and anxiety that was the dress-rehearsal of the sixties show. Having them there was actually fabulous - they knew all the songs, they laughed and made us all feel like we actually DID have a show after all. I was so glad they got to see it again on opening night - and the difference was incredible. The audience was not huge (unless people WANT opening night tickets we usually steer them away cuz we are still getting our bearings) - but they were so much fun and the kids (after actually managing to get THROUGH the beast the night before) were so much more relaxed, and they finally understood how MUCH people LOVE these songs. It was really so gratifying since the process to get it on it's feet had hardly been a barrel of laughs for any of us.

"WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW" IS 14 HOURS OF SLEEP. what-the-world-needs-now.jpg

To give you an idea of how much work the show is for them to do... this is the first time we've ever had to have TWO water bottles per actor during each act. In fact I think Angie's bump-it is actually a biologically developed camel hump to store water.

BOB DYLAN'S EARLY DRAFT: HOW MANY BOTTLES CAN A SINGER DRINK...BEFORE SHE JUST HAS TO PEE? angie-sixties.jpg Normally the kids bottles get refilled at intermission...but Carl and Angie said there was no way they could get through an act with just one bottle. So we stash 'spares' for them at the sides of the stage so they don't collapse from so much snapping.

IT'S NOT EASY BEING GROOVY. carl-and-angie.jpg

Speaking of snapping. If you thought backup dancing was glamorous... both Carl and Angie have gotten 'snapping injuries'. Callouses from having to snap in the show so much. This is not a joke.

But now we're in the swing of things - and the actors are sleeping in until about 6:00pm and everyone is havin' a grand old time. carl-hangin-sixties.jpg

A TIME TO NAP...A TIME TO SLEEP... A TIME TO SLUMBER...A TIME TO DOZE. turn-turn-great.jpg

blowin-in-the-wind.jpg

EVEN PO NEEDS TO HYDRATE. po-and-jill-sixties.jpg

Actually Po was having a good time - until she got a bath about an hour ago...

I'LL CRY IF I WANT TO. wet-weiner.jpg

I've got more fun stuff to tell ya - but this is gettin' long. Tomorrow I'm working on the plans for the auditorium. Whoo hoo.

xo JOJO.