FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: Day(s) away...
A guest entry from Valerie Vigoda, Lyricist of Sleeping Beauty Wakes, about final preparations for the Festival.
Okay, technically it’s one day away – but that’s because the whole process of NAMT is such a whirlwind; time seems to go faster than usual, and it feels like we have just started rehearsal.
We’ve got one more two-hour runthrough-plus-notes session today, with the full cast + Brad Haak on piano + our wonderful Gene Lewin on drums – and then that’s it! Performance Thursday morning (we kick off the festival at 10:30 AM)…and after yesterday’s terrific rehearsal, I feel really good about the whole thing. I can’t wait!
Gene, Brad, Nicholas, Olli, Mary Jo
and Katrina at sound check,
photo by Vigoda for NAMT
These actors, some of whom came in at the very, very last minute (for instance, Christy Altomare, who is starring as “Rose”, came in to save our butts two days AFTER rehearsals had begun!) – they are ALL AMAZING and doing something truly heroic, which is learning these roles in 25 hours of rehearsal – actually even less, in most cases -and then portraying them as if they’d been in production for months.
Yesterday felt like a turning point – where the nervousness seemed to vanish and the whole cast started relishing and enjoying what they were doing, really sinking in to their parts…and the energy in the room truly started to pop. Brad the music director smiled more and more, and so did Marcy the stage manager. Always a good sign.
There are some pretty tricky close harmonies for our four patients – and I’ve never seen singers learn their parts so fast and so accurately. There’s a wall of energized, perfectly in tune,
GORGEOUS sound coming at us from Nick Cohn as “Murray” the snorer, Olli Haaskivi as “Leon” the insomniac, Mary Jo Mecca as “Hadara” the restless legs sufferer, and Katrina Rose Dideriksen as “Cheryl” the night terrors patient…and Brendan and I are ECSTATIC listening to them.
Nicholas, Olli, Bryce, Christy, Peter, Tonya, Mary Jo and
Katrina at sound check, photo by Vigoda for NAMT
Tonya Pinkins as the “Doctor/Bad Fairy” is tearing up the place with her sizzling, beguiling, volcanic wickedness…Peter Friedman is absolutely breaking all our hearts as Rose’s father the “King”…Christy Altomare is finding unbelievable edge and depth in our non-princessy princess…and Bryce Ryness, our only returning cast member, continues to outdo himself with his brilliant characterization of our narcoleptic/cataplectic clinic orderly, the unlikeliest of princes.
Our new opening number IS WORKING!!! This is the first time we’re seeing what we have recently wrought – and I think we have finally cracked it. We made a few trims to songs later in the first act to make sure we don’t go over our 45 minutes…and I feel like we’re in really good shape.