Next to Normal – MTC – Final Days on the Floor

The last two days in the rehearsal room were lovely.  The set had gone, so full attention could be given to the actors and not our diva trucks.  The room felt massive without the Goodman house in there.  It’s currently being reassembled on the stage of the Playhouse, where it looks amazing.  And huge.

Worked through Act 1 on Monday and finally had a chance to nuance the beats in the first ten minutes of the show – it’s such a huge and technical piece that it’s taken a good four going overs to get it to perfection, but it’s lovely and effortless now and all four Goodman family members are set up really well.  The tone of the opening is really important because you want to ease the audience in and slowly introduce the actual subject and themes of the show.

The cast have bonded in such a lovely way.  They now sit and watch each other’s scenes and are really warm and supportive.  When we did Henry and Natalie’s duet they were so absorbed and just glowing afterwards.  It is delightful.  Continued through the show – at lunch met a potential Anything Goes cast member to talk about our take on the role we want him to play – and finished early as we had the subscriber briefing to get to.

MTC briefings are a chance to the hard-core subscribers to meet the cast and creative team on the bare bones of the set and hear about the process so far and what we have planned for the show they’ll begin seeing next week.  The audience was large and very focused – I got the cast to talk through the themes and their characters, and then Richard and Matt spoke about the design of the show.  I gave a run down on the amazing history of the show and how such an unusual show made it’s way to Broadway.  We then opened the floor to questions – people always have such interesting things they want to know about – and the cast answered with charm and heart.

Final day we worked Act 2 on the floor, which is much swifter and flowing, apart from the massive “Wish I Was Here” and then ran the show for the last time before tech.  I asked the actors to play it lightly, speedily and to try new things, to see what they might discover for the last time.  I had thought the show was wonderful before, but it really came to life – “Just Another Day” was utterly delightful and funny, and it continued that way throughout every moment of Act 1.  I was so thrilled by it, especially as I’m worried about the six days we currently have off before we really get back to the show again.  Act 2 is more emotionally wrought and really hurdles on and we finished early.  Thanked Christine, Jess and Sally for being such a wonderful SM team and the props team came and took the final furniture pieces out of the room.

Down at the Playhouse the Goodman house was coming together and looking pretty swish.  Did an interview for the Arts Centre and then prepped for the huge day tomorrow – Matt has the cast and band for sitzprobe and we begin plotting the AV, automation and the show, generally.

Published by bryantandfrank

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

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