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Our First Christmas from ALL THAT HE WAS - performed by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

Wednesday February 10 - 'Now and Then a Hero' at the Secret Rose

Tonight's the Night!  If I'm not too exhausted, I will blog all about the show at about Midnight PST.  See you then!


Well, it's 11:30 and I'm living up to my promise.  I am totally exhausted, but it was a good night!  The show was really quite a hit!  The applause at the end went on long and hearty, it was a good solid house (nearly full) and many people came up to me to share their thought and feelings about the work. 

With the cuts we came in at 100 minutes, and while I still want to lose another 10 minutes or so, it was a big step forward from the previous draft.

Some big hits tonight... Jennifer Chu as Sue Koh Lee was a huge audience favorite.  I'd like to take a look at streamlining this sequence, but Jen really sold it and her character was so lovable and sweet.

Jimmer Bolden got the biggest hand for his portrayal of Archie George and his moving take on 'Sittin Here a'Waitin'.   And there was a lot of audience response as well to his Wes Autry sequence.

And Elise Dewsberry got a huge hand for both of her numbers as well as quite a few laughs.  It will be difficult for me to see anyone else in this role after her aggressive and passionate take on it. 

Selah and David were both solid as well, they definitely rose to the occasion and were very charming and entertaining.  After the War, their big duet, was lovely and bittersweet.

The biggest problem with the script at this point is still the linking devices, which are on their way to working but are still completely overwritten from my perspective. 

Jake and I are planning to meet next week to decompress, and discuss what the next step is for our script.  Until then, I am going to wrap this chapter up and call it an unqualified success!  Now off to bed to catch up on some sleep!



Tuesday February 9 - Final Dress

Elise Dewsberry and Selah Victor (as Captain Maria Ortiz)

Elise Dewsberry and Selah Victor (as Carmen Lozano)

Tonight was the final run-through before tomorrow's reading.  It went very well, with things gelling into place, but it was still too long for our purposes.  After much soul-searching, I sent out a list of cuts which should bring it down another 4 minutes.  I wish I could have done this earlier, to give them a chance to rehearse the cuts, but last night was the first time everyone was there for a full run-through, and so it was the first time I knew the cuts were necessary.  Sort of the nature of the beast when you're doing a reading, with so little rehearsal and a talented cast who understandably has a lot of other committments.  Wednesday is the big night!


Monday February 8 - We Have a Show!

Jimmer Bolden as Archie George

Exhausted tonight after another long rehearsal for Now and Then a Hero.  We spent the first half working individually with Jimmer and Jen, letting each of them have some more chances to work on their songs and get used to the structure.  Both are doing well.  Then we had a full run through (we skipped one song) which was about 93 minutes. 

Definitely had some real breakthroughs tonight.  Jen is finding her character voice of Joanne and is excited with the process.  David Holmes, who has been doing double duty at ANMT, rehearsing for two readings at once, really started to settle in to his roles tonight at last.  His commanding voice was on-point tonight, and I'm excited for an audience to hear him on these songs.  And Jimmer is so strong on his songs that I get goosebumps at every rehearsal.  Unfortunately, we chose to skip them last night and tonight, leaving him a bit confused by the transitions having never rehearsed them!  We'll have to solve that tomorrow.

Tomorrow night is our last chance to pull things together.  Tonight I'm not sending any notes at all... just letting the show settle in for everyone.  That way, too, I can get to bed at a reasonable hour and get some sleep!


Sunday February 7 - Stumble-Through

Tonight's rehearsal for 'Now and Then a Hero' was a big step forward, but we still have so far to go!  We attempted to run our 90 minutes, but still had two scenes left when we did.  So, committed to making the reading 90 minutes come hell or high water, we cut two songs (which still might not be enough.)  What we left in is looking and sounding pretty good.  In fact, there were some flashes of brilliance.  But it's so hard to see past the fact that everyone is still pretty unsure of what they are doing.  (With the exception of Elise, who could do the show tonight if we asked her to.)

I took about a page of notes, and emailed the cast with them at midnight tonight.  I think that's pretty minimal, all things considered.

Hopefully, after tonight, everyone has the tools they need to learn their parts.  Tomorrow, unfortunately, will be a challenge because there are conflicts which keep us from having the full cast until 8:30.  Hopefully, we can get another run in, and hopefully it's closer to 90 minutes!  I'm going to remain positive, and 'trust the process.'  Today, we stumble, tomorrow we walk, Wednesday we run.



Saturday February 6 - Marathon Rehearsal

Due to the specifics of everyone's schedules, today became a 3:00-10:00 rehearsal for 'Now and Then a Hero'.  The rehearsal went very efficiently, Jake had scheduled it on a micro level, and all the 'blocking' is done.  It remains to be seen how this all will work flowing together.  We'll see that on Sunday when we have our first 'stumble through.'

So today, I admit, was quite tedious and I won't bore you with the description of the specifics.  I remain, of course, impressed with the cast; all of them have moments and flashes of brilliance.  But it's hard for me to see past how much still needs to be learned, and I hope they find the time to go over their music between now and Wednesday, or else we're in for some train wrecks.

Of course, this is always how one feels at this point, and then things always miraculously come together, as I'm sure they will again.  More details tomorrow.