First things First

We staged the opening number tonight.  A favorite moment…..

There are many moving parts and the staging was taking awhile to figure out with lots of people in the room.  At one point I said to an actor, “I need you to go BEFORE the cart.”  The whole room stopped.  I then said, “No, I didn’t mean….” and she interrupted me with “Don’t even say it.”  Everyone laughed.

That’s how smart we are.

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Last Things First

2017 is an exciting year for The Durham Savoyards!

We’ll present both the first and the last Gilbert and Sullivan collaborations.  “Thespis,” their very first collaboration — to which the score was lost — will be performed October 12-15,  with an original score by our own Alan Riley Jones.  It’s not to be missed!

But first we’ll present the last G&S collaboration — “The Grand Duke” — with performances running March 20 through April 2.

Set in the 1700s, “The Grand Duke” involves a plot to overthrow a despot.  Key elements include competition for power, jealousy, betrayals, duels, politics-for-profit, and multiple women wanting to marry the same powerful man.  It’s amazing how this Victorian-era operetta seems not only to echo the rebellion of the American Revelution; but also to foreshadow Lin-Manuel Miranda’s  “Hamilton,” and the questionable mores of modern society and politics.

We’ve assembled a stellar cast for this typically topsy-turvy adventure; and have finally begun rehearsals (after several snow and ice delays).

Come back and visit this site for updates as rehearsals progress.  And make plans to join us at The Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham March 30 – April 2!

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A Review from Classical Voiceof North Carolina

We received a lovely review from Kate Dobbs Ariail on the Classical Voice of North Carolina website.

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Three more chances go get in on the fun!

It’s been a whirlwind of a week!

We loaded in the set on Monday and ran the entire show on the set Monday night. I must say, this was probably the smoothest first run on the set I’ve ever experienced! Big thanks to the set crew for excellent work; to the cast members who taped out the floorplan in rehearsal halls for the past few months; and to the entire cast for understanding how the blocking and choreography were designed to work on the set.

Tuesday night we added costumes and make-up; and were also joined by our most excellent orchestra.

Wednesday night gave us one last chance to tighten things up and address a few niggling problems.

Thursday night was our Preview Performance — our first time performing for an audience. And it was a blast! Their reception was warm and welcoming and a rollicking good time was had by all.

We continue with performances tonight and Saturday night. And close with a matinee performance on Sunday. Please join us if you can!

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Ready to Open!

The bad news is that I’ve done a woefully bad job of keeping up with the Director’s Blog this year.  I’m not proud of that and I do apologize.

The good news is that the cast and crew have been working like mad and the show is in terrific shape.  The blocking and choreography have been in place for a few weeks now.  But it’s pretty intricate in places and has been taking a bit of time to learn and to work out the kinks.

I had to be away for a few days earlier this week to work on another production and charged the cast with implementing new notes and working out presistent problems in my absence.

When I returned last night, I was treated to a sharply focused, intricately nuanced, hilarious, and musically sound run-through of the entire show.  Bravo to all!

We move into the theater next week and will then have just a few rehearsals to work out all the technical aspects of the production.  But the show is in solid shape; and our designers, running crew, and technical staff can’t wait to get their hands on it.

Get your tickets now — you really are going to love it!


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Proud Lady, have your way…

Last night we gathered the entire cast together for an initial sing-through of the score.  Lovely.  We’ve got some rehearsin’ to do, of course, but it was lovely.

Tonight I worked with Josephine and Ralph on their one and only scene alone together and also on their duet “Refrain Audacious Tar.”  We focused on duality of intent, emotional content of individual lines, and on the actorly delivery of a song.  Good stuff!

For some reason I keep going back to Hepburn and Grant in “Philadelphia Story” for character inspiration in this scene.  I guess it’s all those times Ralph refers to Josephine as “unfeeling beauty” and “haughty lady.”

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Fun and Games

We had lots of fun in today’s rehearsal.

With only the principal actors (and understudies) present, we read through the scenes which are sprinkled between the songs.  We focused on the words and on telling the story.  And played liberally with character choices.  We experimented with accents and acting quality; and discussed the power and effect of unusal/out-0f-the-norm character choices.

It’s all fun and games right now.  But we may have stumbled upon some insights which will carry over into future rehearsals and performances.

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