So we closed Two Gents, I got a week to be brain dead, then a half week to get ready for the next show. Rehearsals start tonight for bare. I think this is one of those rare shows when the actors are even more excited about starting than I am.

We have a younger cast than usual this time, since twelve of the fifteen characters in bare are high school students. We didn't end up casting any actual high schools kids (although we were open to that possibility), but almost the whole cast is twenty-somethings.

It's going to make me feel very old, I can tell right now...

But this is truly an extraordinary cast! We got one of the biggest turnouts we've ever had for auditions, and we had to turn away some really strong, terrific performers because there just wasn't room in the cast for all the talent we saw. Usually, we do shows that people don't know as well, so we get fewer folks at auditions and we can usually find places for all the really great actors we see. But not this time. It was hard saying no to some of these talented folks -- I just hope they'll come back and audition again next season.

Surprisingly, so many in the cast ended up in the one role they really, really wanted. That doesn't always happen, but all the pieces just fell into place this time. I think that's a really good sign. I was a little worried about having such a young cast -- we always have college kids in our shows, but the age range of our casts is usually pretty wide and usually includes a fair number of people my age. Still, I feel so good about the talent we've assembled, and like usual, half the cast are folks I've worked with before, so that will help. Plus, I think everyone has a real emotional connection to this show and will work their hearts out to bring it to life.

Luckily for me, this isn't a super hard show. The music is relatively easy and though I haven't worked out all the blocking yet, I do have a sense of what it will look like and how it will move, so I'm not worried about that part. I've decided that, even though the original production of bare really tried to look like Rent, I'm not sure that's really the right physical and visual model for this story. The show is very Rent-like in many ways, but that doesn't mean it has to be staged the same way.

I think bare operates in two distinct ways -- both as conventional musical and as rock concert. There are so many solos/soliloquies in the show, and I think those should look and feel different from the songs that move the plot forward. The original production had lots of sets coming on and off, and I just don't think that's necessary. This is a show about raw, naked emotion, and I think the actors should be the centerpiece of the show, not sets or lighting effects.

Like Love Kills, this is a show that should be entirely about the acting, with as few distractions as possible.

It will be such fun to dive into this music tonight! The adventure begins!

Long Live the Musical!