Last night was the first rehearsal for WHITE CHRISTMAS. First nights are always fun and very informative. It is the first time that the cast is together to read through the show and hear the music. Before the read-thru starts the stage manager always has announcements to make, there are forms to be filled out, and basic rules, and scheduling appointments for the costumers to take measurements. Then we get down to it. Everyone is seated around tables and introduces themselves and says what role they are playing.
Last night I was able to show some pictures that our designer, Kenichi Takahashi, had sent me from New York, so that everyone can see what the concept. I am not going to share that with you, you will have to come see the show for that! Then we play the overture from the CD and we are off and running! This show is based on the 1954 film of the same name that starred Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen. In our production those roles are being played by Shaun Baker, James Reed, Lydia Merriam-Pigg and Tiffany Davis. There is more music in the show than in the movie, and some great Irving Berlin favorites have been added. We read through Act 1, then take an intermission, and then we are back from Act 2.
As a director, the first read is very important and informative. Although your cast is just reading and starting to find their way through the script, you get a sense of what they will be like, and also starts you thinking about character points that you want to stress when staging starts. It also sets your mind at ease, or not, that you have made the right choices in casting. I did make the right choices, because casting is a huge part of what makes the show work.
Tonight we start, and over the course of the next 7 weeks, WHITE CHRISTMAS will be born. A rather short pregnancy, don’t you think???!!!
We have assembled a wonderful group of people for the show. I am working again with the wonderful Evelyn Barney, who choreographed 42ND STREET for us. Evelyn is a very kind and warm taskmaster, and all who work with her want to please her. We have some new tappers in the show, and it is indeed thrilling to see them learn and grow. James Snyder is my assistant director, Cyd Lobb is making her SCT debut as Stage Manager, and my good friend and colleague, Elaine Saculla is the Production Supervisor, and she will oversee and mentor Cyd with this big production. Elaine has literally done it all. She acts, she has worked crew, she has been prop mistress, stage managed (SWEENEY TODD), and directed last season’s I DO, I DO!. I love her attention to detail, and I always feel like I don’t have to worry with Elaine around.
So, hopefully, this has given you some insight into the beginnings of a show. I will post more as we progress, and maybe we will get some video footage and photos.
Until next time,