Whew!! Okay my darlings. So it’s time to do an update. I LOVE New York City. I’m getting used to it pretty fast and enjoying the hell out of it. So we’ve been staging numbers. I’m always a little leary as I’m not a dancer but they are so much fun. The choreographer is such a darling. Truly. Andrew – love him. Well it must be said that all of the creative team are pretty fantastic. Our director Simon is such a generous, intelligent, funny man. Filled with such joy. It’s why we do this. And as I’ve already said, our musical supervisor, Spud, as well as our musical director, Jeff are great. But I want to say a few words about our leading men (or leading ladies, depending on how you look at it). They are what this whole show is hooking on and if they were assholes, we wouldn’t have much of a time. Let me just say that the three of them couldn’t be nicer or more open or more into being part of a company. And this is not just show-biz speak. I’ll be specific.
Let’s go newest to most seasoned.
The young, crazily beautiful Nick Adams. (He may hate that I’ve used this picture but I think he looks so pure and joyful.) I was told before I met him that he’s known for having one of the hottest bodies on Broadway. And I won’t lie to you, yes, yes, he does. It’s pretty ridiculous. But that is an obvious thing. What is not always obvious is who someone really is and Nick is such a genuinely friendly, nice guy. He has lots to do in the show and he is just jumping in and working his ass off. Oh yea, I figured some of you might like to see him in some kind of make up (or just with his clothes off).
The more I find out about Will, the more I like him. He is so striking in person, it’s almost off-putting. He can look so broading and intense and he has such an intensity in his eyes but as soon as you talk to him or approach him, you realize he is so thought-ful and kind and warm and I’m getting a bit of . . . what? Not shyness but something like that. He just isn’t all in your face trying to be funny or working for your approval. I really think I’m going to enjoy being around him and getting to know him. Plus it’s really great watching him rehearse. He is the real thing. Searching for truth, realism in all of the kookiness. I really enjoy him. Here is a shot of Will in Hair. (I just like including a photo of each of the guys in some kind of show mode.)
Which brings us to the truly extraordinary Tony Sheldon.
Tony is a star in Australia. Then he did Bernadette again in London – again huge hit for him. And here he is 6 months after he left the show. He is an amazing man. Always chatting to find out about people. He did all kinds of research online about people and he will talk about bits of info he’s found out. My God. Truly. Plus he is amazing to watch. He has done this show for 3 or 4 years in total. And he is still so fresh and open to the ideas of his co-stars and the director. It’s quite fantastic. But what is so wonderful is that he is completely open to helping me with little hints as his understudy. A true marvel. Here is a shot of him as Bernadette. It’s my favourite (or favorite, for my new and old American friends).
Now about rehearsals. So what is very exciting is that there are several significant changes in the show so if anyone has seen the show before, you’ll be surprised to see many new things. Several songs are gone. Several new songs are added. Now I won’t lie to you, this bodes well for a Broadway recording of this production (oh please, oh please, oh please). But what is great for us and the creative team is that there is a real newness and freshness to the piece because of it. Plus some new and some altered scenes. Apparently, a lot of the beginning and end have been rewritten. I won’t tell you what has been taken out or what has been added. You’ll have to come and see the show and find out out. We’ve choreographed about 3 group numbers so far and almost finished the fourth. The are pretty fun. One is not my favourite yet but that’s only because it feels so relentless but once I get it under my belt, it will be fun . . . I think . . . I hope . . . kidding, it will be fine (or I wouldn’t write about it – my momma didn’t raise no fool)
What’s been really fun is when the creative team tells us about things that will be happening during a certain moment . . like. . . “oh, so this is where the bus is revealed and comes downstage and it will be almost the whole width of the stage so be careful grapevining around it.” or “you won’t be able to stand so close to him because your skirt will be too big.” or “why don’t you sit down on that line and watch the roadkill go by on the travelator.” Come on . We get to do this for a living. What??!!
As for the rest of the cast. I love getting to know each of them day by day. A lot of them know each other already. But they are welcoming and lovely. I gotta be honest, not everyone has been instantly ready to welcome a newcomer but even that one or two people are coming around. I never worry about that kind of thing. I’m usually pretty good at bringing people around eventually. It’s going to be fun to spend all of this time with them in the next 6 months to a year.
As for New York. AAAAAAhhhh!!!! Love it. I walked home yesterday; the whole 19 blocks. It was great and fascinating. You pass through what feels like 4 or 5 different neighborhoods. Cause you start with . . heehee . . . Broadway which is where we’re rehearsing (43rd street) then you hit 38th-ish which feels like a little less glitzy but still business-y; then you hit the sudden upscale looking 34th street which feels like Eglinton and Cumberland combined; then you hit 29th/28th and it becomes local neighborhood but with uptown perks, then you hit my area around 26th which feels like Rosedale meets Church and Wellesley meets a lick of Queen Street. It’s awesome. All of these little restaurants and big stores along the way. I haven’t done much extra in these past few days as we have had 9 hour rehearsal days for the last 5 days. But tomorrow, though still a rehearsal day, most of us aren’t called – me being one of those. But I’m still going to go in in the afternoon as I want to see Bernadette rehearsals. I love watching Tony work and hearing what our director has to say about the scenes.
And for now, that’s it. I’m ti-red, my peeps. More to come.