Opening Night!

Tonight at 7pm all of the hard work, months of it, actually, comes to fruition. At about 6pm, when the audience is finishing an early dinner, or getting ready to drive to the show, the cast is arriving at the theater. They’ll put on their make-up and microphones. They’ll begin to get into costume. They’ll gather at 6:30 for their sound check to make sure their mics are working. Singers will do their vocal exercises. The tech people have been busy all day, fixing last minute glitches, making sure the set is ready for the 17 performances to come. The lighting designer, the master electrician and crew are checking all of the lights for blown bulbs or “fried” gels, the sound designer is making a check of his system prior to the cast and orchestra sound check. The costume shop is madly making last minute changes to costumes and then making sure they are in perfect shape for tonight’s performance. The set designer and his crew are making last minute changes to aspects of the set. The prop master is making sure all props are accounted for, are in working order, and are where they should be so the actors and crew can find them when they need them. And then at a little after 7, the curtain will go up and the magic will begin.

I’d like to say a word about the show’s director, Gary John LaRosa. I’ve been a theater fan all of my life. Have been involved as a volunteer in several aspects of theater. This is the first time I have been involved from the very first rehearsal to opening night. Watching Gary John take this very talented cast, and, in a collaborative effort, bring them from a group of talented individuals to a cohesive, coherent cast performing a very difficult show is like watching magic happen. You’re not sure how it happened, but it did…and beautifully. And then to watch the cast perform with the orchestra, and then on stage, with costumes, lighting, sound and props – you have this incredibly entertaining, and enlightening show. Gary John would be the first one to give credit to everyone who participated in the process. And everyone involved does deserve tons of credit. But Gary John was the catalyst. It was his vision, along with Michael Berkeley, that brings us the show you will see and I know you will love.

Gary John leaves tomorrow for his next gig. He has several things lined up – no surprise since he is so talented. I’d like to thank him for being so generous with his time and allowing me unlimited access to rehearsals. He patiently explained the process to this civilian and I hope I conveyed at least some of what he taught me. Good luck, Gary John, you have left us with a great show.

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Gary John working with Travis Mitchell, Michael Sharon and Molly Parker-Meyers early in the process.

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From now on, the focus of the blog will be on what it takes to keep a show like this one running smoothly from opening night to closing. I’ll talk to many of the people who work behind the scenes, backstage and in the business office. The work continues after opening night and it might be interesting to find out how that work is done.

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