Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Moral of the Story: Think Big!

A common way to start any rehearsal process for a musical production is to start with the music. Foothill usually spends at least the first week focused on learning the musical numbers, particularly the big choral numbers.

Most shows have maybe half a dozen choral numbers. "Ragtime"? It has 28. Yes, that's 28. The Vocal Book is 300 pages long! Let's just say that when the audition notice said "Ensemble will have a lot to do", it wasn't kidding.

So, that's where we are right now...50 people in a room trying to learn 28 numbers. And trying to memorize it. And sometimes memory does NOT serve.

Like last night, working through the big, inspirational number, "Wheels of a Dream." It's kind of hard to explain the whole story here, but the metaphor referred to in the title is a car, protagonist Coalhouse Walker's dream purchase.

Ensemble member Steve Completo was doggedly determined to sing through it without music, but admits perhaps he wasn't quite solid yet. So, when he got to the big soaring lyric: "And he will ride on the wheels of a dream", Steve sang: "And he will rise..."

Musical director, Cathy, caught it, stopped and pointed out that it wasn't a song about Jesus. Steve 'fessed up to his mistake, and they carried on. But at the break, he learned that he sang it so loudly and confidently that all of the people around him shamefacedly opened up there vocal books to review their error!

It goes to show you what most theatre people know...if you go big, people will go with you. If you've got the big smile, they won't notice you're dancing the wrong steps. And if you sing even jibberish really confidently, they'll figure the lyricist was going for something over their head!

Moral of the story.  If you make a mistake, make it big!

Bonus Points: I was trying to think of the aural equivalent of "eagle-eyed" to describe our musical director, but came up empty. "Bat-eared" just didn't have a ring to it. Any suggestions?

How about calling her "Earfully Earnest"
from Cathy: Points to Elisa - my mother's nickname for me as a kid actually was "Bat Ears" (because of my hearing, not because I looked like a least I think so).

For the record, I never said anything about the song not being about Jesus, but I do remember telling everyone the cardinal rule orchestra musicians live by: never admit it was you!
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