How Wonderful It Feels

Rehearsals are going really, really well. This must be the hardest working cast in show biz right now, 'cause this is not an easy show...!

So we've blocked the whole show, and Tuesday night we ran Act I. To my great delight, everyone was mostly memorized and the act ran very smoothly. It was fun to see the actors -- especially the "kids" -- finding the physical side of their characters, now that their scripts are out of their hands. I knew the physicality would be a HUGE part of this, and it really is...

Tonight we run Act II, and I expect it will be in great shape, too.

Nick (Barfee) came over after rehearsal Tuesday and we were talking about how much we're enjoying the show. We also realized that our production does have a somewhat different tone from the original. Ours is a little more serious, a little more real. The laughs are still big and fairly continual, but the acting is less cartoony. And so the emotional moments are a lot more intense and more compelling. I can't wait to see how those moments grow and deepen over time.

The same thing happened when we did Bat Boy. There were huge laughs throughout the show, but there were also very serious, very emotional moments that had been played for laughs off Broadway. The original production had played more like sketch comedy, but ours played more like alternative theatre.

I've come to realize that my favorite kind of theatre is the kind that is both hilarious, wacky, outrageous, on the one hand; but also surprisingly serious and emotional and moving. We've found a lot of shows that operate that way -- Bat Boy, High Fidelity, Hair, Assassins, Forbidden Planet, A New Brain, March of the Falsettos, Hedwig, The Cradle Will Rock, and lots of others.

Maybe musical theatre, with its extreme emotion and its inherent artificiality, is better suited than theatre that lacks music to pull off this wild balancing act...

And maybe I like that kind of storytelling because it seems most honest. Life is continually both ridiculous and serious. Our storytelling should recognize that. Of course, some of our shows consciously focus mostly on the dark side (Kiss of the Spider Woman, for example) but there's always still some humor in there, even if it's really oppressively dark humor... :)

Spelling Bee will be such a terrific finale to this wonderful season. I love my job!

Long Live the Musical!