I meant to keep a Journal

I really did mean to.  I had good intentions that began with a typed “About to land in LA” almost three months ago, and two days before we started rehearsals with the Broadway cast of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.  Every night before I went to bed I’d force myself to flip open the MacBook and transcribe some semi-witty observations on the day that had been.  Here are some choice quotes from that halcyon period of disciplined transcription;

First day of rehearsals:

“Rehearsal venue is a bit grim.  No windows, a bit small, American bagels everywhere…The cast are the usual motley Priscilla crew – hot tall boys, camp women…caught up with Carmel at Therapy – watched Rachelle Rak perform her new single Sass.  She was…full on.  Looks like she could eat the entire room.”

Next week:

“Moved onto the Funeral, which looks good as ever.  The boys here have an interesting way of being both built but with brilliant line, too.”

“Did Les Girls today – Steve (Young Bern) is amazing, so feminine and supple…James wore a green cut off catsuit today.  Kyle, fluro green legwarmers.”

“We had a drummer in which helped a lot with vibe, but not a lot with hearing the actors.  He is very enthusiastic.”

And that’s when I stopped.  Literally ten days into the rehearsal period.  Before we even had the first act done, or the first cast party.  Which is a shame, because Priscilla: PreBroadway ended up being a brilliant trip and experience that I would’ve loved to look over as it evolved daily.

But without that, what’s left is the highlights.  The grabs of memory that won’t ever disappear.  There’s a ton of these from the last couple of months:

  • Playing Benji opposite Will Swenson – he never phones in even a single rehearsal run through.  Playing his eight year old son as he sings Always on My Mind, tears streaming down his face…to quote Tom Cruise; made me want to be a better man.  Actually, that was Jack Nicholson.  Though Will did have me at hello.
  • The first time the curtain flew up and the Divas flew into “It’s Raining Men” at the Princess of Wales.  The audience went nuts, and continued at every evolution of the number; the men bursting through the flitter, Tad stripping off his coat, Will being revealed in full drag, the puppets – it showed that trying a new opening number, while terrifying, can be a wonderful thing.
  • Boating on Central Park with Andy after twelve days in a row of rehearsal.  We basically had to fit an entire NY experience into 48 hours.  Which we did – Margaritas at Ariba Ariba, drinks at the Park, bloody Marys at brunch, the boating then the Boathouse bar, the Brooklyn Promenade, Chelsea, Fifth Avenue shopping and a BBQ up in Harlem.
  • Walking past the Spiderman set every day…the rat taxis?
  • Chipotle – best lunch ever.  Though we did overdose.
  • Bar Centrale – best bar ever.  Celebrity central, though I still don’t think we saw Chris Rock.
  • Keala coming down the shoecase as the most radiant showgirl koala ever (though in good company with the gorgeous J Elaine and Jess)
  • Making the Priscilla “It Gets Better” video.  A week in and we’ve had over 10,000 views.
  • Luke and Trek – utterly delightful Benjis and utterly delightful boys.
  • The warmth and connection between Tony, Will and Nick.  Nary have three actors worked together so joyfully.
  • Taking notes on an iPad – finally a method that I can read later and doesn’t get me abused by an audience member.
  • The clothes appreciation society – the fashion conscious amongst us in the group always ready to appreciate an outfit.  Or makeover a burgeoning fashionista – good luck, Steve!
  • Finding Dark Horse – thanks to Nathan, coffee in Toronto that made me stop yearning for Jungle Juice, Brother Bada Budan or Sparrow’s Nest.
  • David, Mahlon, Megan and team – so lovely, funny and never complaining about pushing that stupid wooden platform around the room.
  • Nick’s two split offers – first in Material Girl; Cast: Gasp!  Second in “Come on Grandma, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do”…walkover – Gasp! – Jump Splits – Applause!
  • Bryan’s psychologically complex third Backing Slapper.  When he trailed Kyle and Jeff through the flitter curtain after Material Girl you really felt a fourth lead had just entered.  Sadly without dialogue or story, Third Backing Slapper’s arc never went anywhere.
  • Stace’s ever changing hair.  Really the most versatile thing in that room.
  • Ricola candy/lollies.  I had never heard of these things.  But they became an addiction so swiftly.  Without Josh’s intervention my teeth would now be a thing of the past.
  • Bob’s exhaust pipe dance.  When the tyre shoes were delayed, we needed something for Bob to dance with in I Will Survive.  Super-producer Garry to the rescue – a visit to a wreckers and some glitter from the props team and Bob now has half a muffler to baton-twirl on with.
  • Cynthia’s complex relationship to dance – as evidenced by her poignant attempt to get into a split, while the queens and Bob look on with bewilderment.
  • Country Boy’s animal mascots – how lovely of the cast to name the two animals in the cages Dean and Andy.  They were so fond of us.
  • The accent.  Oh, the fun we all had.  G’dye, mite.

There are a million more things I could write about the wonderful people that made up the Priscilla:Pre Broadway experience, and maybe next February I will have learned the discipline to.  By that time, the Backing Slappers might have learned their rhythm as well!

For now, it’s the end of the travellator.



Published by bryantandfrank

Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank make musicals. And other things. www.bryantandfrank.com www.mybrilliantcareermusical.com www.deanjamesbryant.com

One thought on “I meant to keep a Journal

  1. Really sorry I didn’t get to meet up with you while you were in Toronto. Glad you found some things about our city to love! Thoughts on our Toronto boys Thom and David?

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