Yesterday, the last day of rehearsals of The Joker's Game, was a classic "stumble through" with frequent stops for cuts, changes, and new cues. It reminded me of a shaggy dog story, the actors being the narrative, and the creative crew frequently stopping them for edits, comments, and deletions; with the goal of turning it into something faster and sharper. Ba-da-bing!
Fun was watching most of the cast hear the "Hot Hot Girls" numbers for the first time, they, like me, enjoyed it with nods and grins. Big number songs sent good little chills up my spine. The ballads are also sounding great... I really appreciate how much work it is to learn a musical in 4 days! The staged reading will only be an approximation of what the final show will be like, but with such professionals involved, they sound like they have worked together for far longer. The actors ask smart questions too.
Tony had only three hours to get through the whole script. He knew that the concerns of the music people and the word people all had to take second place to the time constraints and the reality that the rehearsals must end in a few hours. Equity rules. This is what a director does, sees the big picture. "Let this or that go," he would say, "we haven't time, let's do it more simply for the reading..." And then he would suggest ways the actors could make their moments more powerful.
I finished the playbill and sketched the creative crew (got autographs) and photographed the non-equity folks. I was exhausted when I got home. All that creative energy is both addicting and tiring. In a good way.
Best of all, both daughters are home and will be able to come to the reading.