October 21, 1999
The first day of rehearsals was good - low key for those of us (read all) still suffering from jetlag. After we arrived at our little hotel here in town, we were released for lunch to explore - Since it was Sunday, there was a street market with all kinds of local produce, meats, cheeses, etc, for us to buy to eat later. Mayumi, one of the girls in the chorus, and I went to the Konditori (pastry/coffee shop), where we've discovered that though most of the people in the tourist industries speak English, most other people over the age of 30 do not...so we quickly became fluent in "point, gesture and smile" sign language. After a Kafe and a chocolate croissant, as well as picking up some smoked edam and baguettes for later, it was back to the theater for a read through.
The cast seems to be really together, and even on the read through, with everyone sight-singing, the voices sound really glorious. This will be a fun project to work on. Betty Ann Hunt, with whom I have toured twice before, has finally found her perfect role as the aging Diva - she's always been larger than life and now she doesn't have to hold back onstage. (and vocally, she is a powerhouse...even outside the theater, through masonry walls and closed doors, she can be heard from across the stream - she's a little bit Merman, and a little Bette Davis in All About Eve)
I didn't realize how small my part actually was until the read-through - I have the entire second act off...so perhaps that's when I will be typing on my laptop backstage - that was a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but I got over that quickly when I saw all the chorus with bleeding blisters on the way to another tap rehearsal.
By Friday, the 21st, the entire show has been blocked and choreographed, with nearly two weeks left to clean and tighten the show. Jeffrey Dunn, our director, is wonderful to work with. He is a master of rehearsal scheduling, so no-one's time is ever wasted, and the scenework has been great: he is truly an actor's director, approaching everything from an acting standpoint, and pulling out surprising and good performances out of everyone. All of the solo songwork was approached from this standpoint as well. This comes as welcome relief from some past shows, where the directors were more concerned with going from stage picture to stage picture, regardless of the throughline.
This evening is our first Costume Parade. The producers bought the entire production from a Swedish production, and while some of the costumes are good, others are god-awful (Mine included, as of this typing). Mr. Dunn has been good so far when stopping by the costume shop during fittings in nixing anything that didn't look good, and the producers have not yet denied "shopping excursions" to replace many of the costumes that were beyond awful. We'll see. I'll either look great, or I'll continue to look like David Byrne in a Talking Heads video.
Tomorrow is Saturday, and it's our day off. Most of the cast are piling into a van or taking the train into Berlin, and I'm very much looking forward to this.
My German skills are improving, albeit slowly. At least I can order off a menu, at a bar, and ask for the check.
Attached to this is an HTML version of our tour itinerary, as far as we have now. We have dates through mid-March, and hotels to the end of November. If you need to get ahold of me, you can try the hotel, or you can go through the main office of BC & E. I have not included any addresses for the hotels because we are not guaranteed that they will reach us in time. Please send all mail care of the main office in Hannover, and it will be forwarded.
Ciao (a lot of Germans say this here...go figure)
Marcus