Rehearsals – Dog and Pony: Part 3

Bringing a new musical to the stage for the first time is quite a bit like launching a rocket into space for the first time. You plan, you research, you work, you create, you revise, you wait…and on and on for a period of (usually) years. But when you finally get the rocket on the launch pad and the engines ignite, you don’t really know what you’re going to find out there! Okay, yes, with a new musical there is considerably less risk of running out of oxygen and suffocating, but, for me at least, there are definitely moments where you have trouble breathing!

And so, today, marks the beginning of our second week of rehearsals for the world premiere (*gasp*) of Dog and Pony and The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego! I can only speak for myself, but being in the rehearsal studio is one of my favorite times in the life of a show. It’s amazing what we learn as writers even from the first few days of studio time. Even as our amazingly talented group of actors is still learning the score, they inform changes, improvements, tweaks, rewrites and more. By way of example, in the first week alone, I’ve done rewrites ranging from changing a single word to turning a duet into a full company number to completely rewriting the last section of a solo. It is exciting and daunting and inspiring and a bunch of other “ing”s all at the same time!

Heidi Blickenstaff, Jon Patrick Walker, Nicole Parker, Eric William Morris, and Beth Leavel

Heidi Blickenstaff, Jon Patrick Walker, Nicole Parker, Eric William Morris, and Beth Leavel

At the same time, once we’re settled on keys and the basic format of individual songs, they start to be sent to the orchestrator – the amazing Larry Hochman – so he can begin his work. If the actors bring the show into the third dimension, the orchestrations expand those dimensions in a way that can’t help but make the composer smile and the actors jump up and down – at least, that’s how I picture it happening when we get to the sitzprobe!

I know this update has been a bit shorter than the last few – but I think you’ll understand why – even though May 28th still sounds like it is “far away”, it is coming fast and furious and there is a lot of work to do between now and then. Even so, I know we’ll be ready, on that day, for the first time ever, to share Dog and Pony with a paying audience! Now where DID I leave that extra oxygen tank?!

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