A special entry from Harris Doran, lyricist of Bleeding Love, about their first (ever) rehearsal for their Festival show.  

After months of watching hundreds upon hundreds of youtube videos, our six person Broadway dream cast —Damon Daunno, Robin de Jesus, Nicolette Hart, Nancy Opel, William Ryall, Sarah Stiles— stepped out of youtube, walked through the door, and were casually chatting and snacking on the honey wheat pretzels I had bought for them. 


We didn’t know what to expect, because BLEEDING LOVE has the great fortune of being chosen for NAMT after never even having a table read, so the first time the cast was reading the script was the first time we had ever heard the script read out loud other than the one day we spent recording songs for our demo—or that time Jason and I read though the script in a rehearsal studio. We were decent.

I’m sweating, couldn’t sleep the night before, nervously eating the organic black licorice bits I had also bought for the actors. We had worked very hard to get a cast that was as bold and unique as the piece. Each of them a shining star all in one room, and I had lost my sunglasses earlier in the day, so I happily accepted the glare. Back to the sweating… the script is cracked open and John Michael Crotty, our fantastic stage manager (highly recommend), is reading the stage directions. So casual. Having no idea how he’s the first one to read our stage directions, which of course would have no significance to anyone else in the world but us. And our mothers. And we’re off.

One by one watching these actors feel as if they had walked off of the page and were suddenly sitting in chairs around the table.

Arthur Bacon, our composer, and Jason Schafer, our bookwriter, laughing, crying, and sharing shocked faces and thumbs up as each of the actors opened their mouths and gave life to the characters for the first time. Our piece has a tricky tone because it’s both dark and light at the same time. Like a Tim Burton movie. It has to be both very real and very big at the same time, very funny and yet very emotional, and although I knew the actors we had gotten were capable of doing it, I didn’t expect them to nail the tone in that first read thru. Nailed it, they did. Jumping through the script like an obstacle course, fearless, funny, moving. Needless to say, we got to the end, and if I had the skills, I would have done a one-legged triple axel back flip for each of them.

We had met with Stephen Brackett, our smart, smart, smart and warm director a few times beforehand. It was very important to us that we found someone who was a real actor’s director and Stephen is just that. But still, as with everything, you never know. When the day was done, and he had commanded the room with such egoless ease, we stayed after and he gave us some notes. The exact right notes. Jason Wetzel, our musical director, who we’d never worked with, but heard was wonderful (and the rumors were true) played the score effortlessly and taught the music with confidence and efficiency.

It’s a funny thing, expectations. And balancing them. You never know on the first day what you’re going to get when you’ve never worked with people before. But what I do know is there are extraordinary, talented people out there, who shine if you just let them. It is a miracle to us that such incredible people have all come together in order to make BLEEDING LOVE happen. We feel tremendously lucky.

And that was just day one.

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