Auditions and Cast List!!!

The first week in February was all about auditions! This will be my ELEVENTH show with the students at Fort Dodge Senior High and it’s a REALLY different choice for us.

The show is “Bright Star”, written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. It was nominated for several Tony awards in 2016. Unfortunately, that was the same year “Hamilton” was nominated for several Tony’s. (I’m just kidding – I LOVE the score of Hamilton and hope to actually see it someday!). The music has a very folk music/bluegrass sort of feel and it’s much more of an ensemble show than a “star vehicle”.

Usually our audition week goes like this – Auditions Monday through Wednesday (kids just pick one day to sign up for) during which everyone must sing and dance and then they may choose to read for a speaking part. Thursday is reserved for callbacks with the cast list going up on Friday right after school.

But we don’t need to hold callbacks this year!

I’m totally serious. The cast list is complete (with the exception of a few one line type roles from the chorus and assigning specific portions of the chorus to songs that don’t need the whole cast.) It will feel REALLY weird not to stay after school tomorrow – Thursday – and watch more auditions. The cast list will get posted in a couple of different online places and then we meet for the first read-through on Monday!

My favorite time of the year is about to begin!

Showtime . . . Almost

My favorite time of the year is almost upon us! The first week in February will see students from Fort Dodge Senior High auditioning for the annual Spring musical. This will be my 11th musical as the theatrical director for FDSH and I look forward to the experience every year.

This year we are doing “Bright Star” written by Steve Martin (yes, THAT Steve Martin) and Edie Brickell. It was nominated for several Tony awards . . . the same year as Hamilton, The Color Purple, Waitress . . . it was a big year for great shows that year!

This show is a bit of a departure for us stylistically. It’s definitely more of an “ensemble” show, providing numerous actors with featured moments on stage. I’m excited to get the process started . . . even if auditions and casting are super-stressful! So here’s to another exciting Spring watching students share their passion onstage!

Acting Up! – 9/19/19

Today’s post is going to be a bit . . . random. Couple of things to share that don’t really relate but also don’t necessarily need their own posts!

I’m a bit of a theater nut and I’m just goofy enough that I have occasionally been known to have shows overlap. This summer was no exception. I was in “The Big Meal” which was onstage in July which was followed immediately by “The Movie Game” in August. Once again, I shared the stage with family – this time it was my hubby, my youngest daughter and her hubby! As someone who tends to play the villain or the sassy sarcastic character, it was fun to play a ditzy character for a change!

The story is all about Jack, a 30 year-old who loves classic movies and still lives with his parents. His therapist – who isn’t all together sane himself! – believes that Jack wants to live a movie and suggests that he do just that. Add a wacky director, a woman that Jack thinks could be the love of his life, and his best friend – Samantha – who is done waiting around for Jack to get a clue. Lots of movie references, some great comedic moments, and the happily ever after you knew you wanted. It was a great way to end the summer and I loved spending so much time with family doing something I love.

At present, the head choir director and I are working to choose the 2020 FDSH Spring Musical. It’s never an easy job! We have to take into consideration so many variables – What are the strengths of our talent pool? How difficult is the instrumentation? Is there one set or multiple locations? Dancing? Featured roles? Vocal ranges for the various characters? It’s a chore and sometimes takes us several tries to make the final decision, but the work is always worth it when the kids bring the show to life each Spring.

I’m very excited to be preparing for the Cabaret concert with Stage Door Productions in October! It’s a great night of local talent singing songs from musical theater productions past and present. I’ve participated before and had a blast so I’m looking forward to doing so again! This time around I’m singing “Ireland” from Legally Blonde and loving it!

The Best Job Ever

Multiple times this week, I got to hear some of our community’s young people singing together in rehearsal as we continue to rehearse for the December show at the Hawkeye Community Theater – “The Nutty Nutcracker”.  The kids in the cast range in age from Kindergarten through high school.  Academically, they could never be in the same class.  Athletically, it wouldn’t be safe to put the little ones on the same team as the older kids.  Instrumental music?  As much as I love it – and as much joy as playing instruments has brought to my own life! – the wide difference in skill level would prevent all of them being in the same ensemble.  Choir?  Now we’re getting closer.  But let’s be honest – the music that would be a challenge for the littlest in the cast would be boringly simple for the older kids.  To keep all age groups challenged, we once again would need to separate them.

But the world of theater?  Ah!  Now THERE is a jewel.  With multiple characters that require different levels of acting skill, different vocal music abilities, and different amounts of time spent on stage . . . the most novice actor can share the memories of a show with a veteran of the stage.

I’ve also begun listening to the soundtrack for the show that I will be privileged to direct at Fort Dodge Senior High this coming Spring.  It will be my tenth at FDSH and I’m just as excited about this title as I have been about the other nine!  But don’t ask what it is because we aren’t quite ready to reveal it just yet.  (Contracts to be signed and such!) And no, I WON’T give you a hint!

I had an unexpected day off work today – an all-school field trip took all the kids off campus! – so I spent the time reading, running errands and listening to the music that I will be writing staging and choreography for very soon.  Every so often a snippet of inspiration would hit . . . an idea for a set piece or clever scene change; a dance move that absolutely MUST be included in a particular song; a fun transition to move actors to different spots on the stage mid-song . . . you get the idea!  I simply listened to a musical soundtrack all day and got to call it “work”!

Working with young performers from varied levels of experience and watching them grow in their art or getting to listen to a gorgeous score and honestly tell my hubby “I worked for a good chunk of my day off” . . . I really do have the best job!