Tonight was our Understudy Rehearsal and there was reason to rejoice on many levels.
First and foremost — our understudies are incredible! They’ve learned the principal roles simply by attending rehearsals, observing, taking notes, consulting with the principal actors during breaks, and rehearsing together independently. All this while also mastering their own roles in the chorus. It’s an amazing feat, and they are to be heartily commended!
Second. We’ve proven that the basic architecture of our show holds up and doesn’t get lost in translation. Each understudy actor brought their own interpretation to the roles. Yes, certainly echoing the work of the principal actors, but each crafting uniquely individual and one-of-a-kind performances. New voices sang familiar songs. New perspectives infused well-known characters. New peaks and valleys were explored. New jokes were found. Nuances played out in different ways. Character relationships were transformed. And yet the story we’ve worked so hard to craft over the past few months was still clearly told.
Third. This was our first audience! Friends and family of the undestudies were invited to tonight’s rehearsal. And they breathed a new life into the process as only a live audience can. Things can get a bit stale after weeks in the rehearsal hall — when you’re working the same scenes and songs over and over again with the same people in the room. The element of surprise can flatten out and the spontaneity of the work can begin to wane. But there were new people in the room tonight. They watched. The listened. They responded. And there was joy!
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