Priscilla 2011 – Broadway – Day 9

Our rehearsal drummer, Warren, was added back to the pit today and the difference it made was tremendous.  Suddenly it sounded like a big musical again – which is odd, really, because it’s just keys and kit – but the show pounded to life and performances picked up everywhere, influenced by the percussion.

Spent the morning collating notes with Simon, all the minor areas that need attention – everything from figuring out how to chop a few seconds out of the Finally animation to match the cuts, to whether we should flesh-colour the straps underneath the Groove headdresses, how to cue “Go Poofter” with the ensemble tightly, how much smoke should be on Benji during the “Prayer” reprise.  Simon’s eye is meticulous, virtually nothing gets by him, amazing after five years of looking at the show.

We picked up at the Dressing Room scene going into the Floor Show.  This features one of our simplest but wittiest costume sets – and you only get to look at it for about 5 seconds!  50s style swimsuits for the leads with stiletto flippers and sunglasses with false eyelashes.  Back at WAAPA my best friend Michael and I did a number in towels and flippers (to Grace Jones’ “Tomorrow) and that idea is brought to it’s natural denouement here.

"Meet you down at Prahran pool?"

Finally the magic cloth lived up to it’s name and was swooping like an ice skater at the Olympics.  A lot of this part of the show was spent teching Ashton in – sort of a backwards process as he hasn’t really had that much rehearsal yet, but it’s the perfect time to make sure he’s aware of how the travelator etc works.  We spent quite a lot of time figuring out exactly at what point the lights should come up on the Cockies flying in, to get maximum bang for our buck.

Then we teched through “Finally” again.  I love this number.  I remember making it up with Spud and Simon in the former Brent Street rehearsal room after we’d finished one day.  A glass of wine in hand, I paraded in and out as the various animals as Spud decided where to chop and change the songs, finally blending it into the harmonic orgasm it is today.  I was always best at the Emu, though still can’t do the actual choreography.  I feel this number is the epitome of wonder and imagination – both visually, I mean who thinks of the idea of dressing adults up as burlesque flora and fauna (Oscar winners Tim and Lizzie) – but also that kind of joy of being grown up but being allowed to be a kid again, playing dress ups in front of your parents, just this time with a shit-hot band and lighting design.  And flying, and a bus and lifts.  I never tire of it.

Finished a little early so Andy rehearsed “Raining Men” for touchups.  Nick was lighting another scene over the top – I kind of love that weird thing that happens seeing the mismatch – it made the number very sculptural and Weill-esque.  Did some work on the break on my shows for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival – blurbs, quotes, etc – then joined our sommelier/writer Allan for dinner at Bond 45.

And then we had our first dress run.  The Broadway engines fired up and the show sprang from the footlights.  It was pretty intense how energised it was.  The hibernation of the month off was completely over and each performer seized their moments.  Everyone was in full makeup for the first time, the lighting was gorgeous and all the work of the last week and a half fully present onstage.  We could’ve had an audience at this and they would’ve been thrilled.  From the moment that giant disco ball dropped down over the stalls the vibe was palpable.

A great run, refinding the heart of the show, and exactly where we should be five days before our first Broadway audience.  Tomorrow is dedicated to adding the band and absolutely calibrating the sound design, and then we run on the weekend.  Retired to Bar Centrale where our adopted Aussie mascot, Lisa Lambert had a stool and a gimlet ready.

Published by bryantandfrank

Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank make musicals. And other things.

One thought on “Priscilla 2011 – Broadway – Day 9

  1. Dean, I’m really enjoying your posts about the Priscilla transfer to Broadway – but now that you’ve mentioned “It’s Raining Men”, I wonder if you might be able to talk about the decision to drop “Downtown” and “I’ve Never Been to Me” in favour of that since “Been to Me” seems better suited to Tick’s character. I know Raining Men has been there since Toronto, but I’d be interested in hearing the thinking behind it – or perhaps it was a rights issue or just a decision to open with a really, really well-known gay anthem?

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