I’m finally ready and able to contribute to my blog after at least three months. I wanted to wait a few days to decompress from performing, and have a chance to be in my home, and spend some quality down time with my husband of thirty years (married on May, 27th, 1984) and of course our two felines. Hence the delay in contributing to my ruminations.
Fifteen hours after closing the new musical A Room With A View at the 5th Avenue Theatre, I received an email offering me a role in the new Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) and Edie Brickell (yes, the lead singer of Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians fame) musical entitled Bright Star. It will be performed at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego where, coincidentally, “A Room With A View” was first produced.
After careful consideration, and sitting on the fence for days on end; I accepted the offer, because even though it’s a small part (I know there are no small parts), it is always a good thing to travel towards new horizons.
Another positive aspect to doing this new work is that the score is based in a folk bluegrass style of singing which will take me out of the big Broadway power singing I’ve done these last few months, and place me back to my “singing in smoky bars” days. A genre that I’ve always loved, and look forward to re-visiting.
Why was I on that fence for so long? Well, my recent experience almost stopped me from taking on a new piece for at least a couple of decades!
“Room” was a very intimidating, demanding, and difficult journey. I’ve never been one to back away from an artistic challenge, but this one about did me in! I will say that everyone involved were patient and understanding artists who made the rocky journey to completion bearable.
I also have to emphasize that a lot of my misery came from a previous back injury I had suffered many moons ago that decided, for no apparent reason, to raise it’s ugly head right as we began tech rehearsals. UGH!!!! The back problem continued to annoy me for about a week and a half, and then I wrenched out vocally for a day, then my mind decided to quit working, and refused to memorize another line or lyric. That has NEVER happened to me in my whole career, and was a very worrisome thing; especially since we were still in the middle of so many changes.
For anyone who has endured a couple of days of tech; they know how demanding the hours can be, but with a new piece, the hours turn into weeks. Those hours are filled with constant changes, both musically and the written word. This factor can drive an actor into madness which I encountered due to a new “patter” song given to me a couple of days before we moved onto the stage. Also, while still in the throes of back pain, the wonderfully intense emotional song for my character in the second act was cut, and even though I knew it should go; I really hated that it did.
The next thing was to learn a new song that was written to replace the intense one. It was a reprisal of the “patter” song, but was shorter and slower, which I was grateful for, but the real “piece de resistance” was when we all had to learn a new opening number placed into the show the week-end before we opened! And, to top that; we were given a new ending of the opening number on the day before we opened. Did I say this experience was BRUTAL? It was BRUTAL!
Anyway, we all survived; even though we will forever carry some psychological scar tissue to remind us that with a lot of hard work, coupled with great fear and trepidation; a new musical can be mounted onto a stage, and the week-end of it’s closing is when it is ready to open. Our final three performances were stellar. We had finally found our footing, resulting in the audiences giving the company standing ovations the whole week-end.
So with much gratitude to each and every artist both on and off the stage for their tremendous contributions; I truly hope that “A Room With A View” has a glorious and successful future, and in the meantime, I’m venturing towards new horizons to visit a “Bright Star”!Share