Today was a busy day for our cast and crew! We dismantled our entire set and packed it up, along with our lighting equipment, sound equipment, props, costumes and instruments. Everything fits neatly in two 53' semis. Thanks to some very extensive planning by Mr. Jump and our technical crew, everything has a specific home in the trucks and we were able to get everything loaded without any snags. It took a lot of hands to strike and load up our large set. Lighting had to be removed, cables coiled and packed away. Sound equipment had to be loaded up. Drops had to be folded. Marquees had to be de-bulbed. Scenery had to be disassembled and secured inside the trucks. Costumes had to be wrapped in plastic and labeled. And our portable floor had to be taken up and stowed in one of the trucks. Needless to say, everybody was pretty worn out by the end of the day! The trucks are now on their way to Lincoln, where they will meet us on Monday so we can unload them into the Lied Center shop. It just got real...we are going to Nebraska!
Almost time to fill those seats for our benefit performances on Thursday and Friday! We had a great dress rehearsal last night and welcomed our full orchestra back into the mix. They will be traveling all the way to Nebraska with us, too! We are grateful for this talented group of musicians for the huge role they play in our production.
It is hard to believe that our cast and crew have been working on this show for nearly a year now. The cast began learning choreography for auditions last July and the creative team and crew has been working hard ever since. If you haven't experienced a production from the perspective of cast or crew, it is hard to imagine everything that goes into it and the magnitude of working parts that have to come together to form a seamless show. Here are a few unique perspectives of the production from the vantage point of the actors and crew.
Spoiler alert! Here is a perspective you will never get from the audience! A little theatre magic, good timing, and magnets go a long way...
Most of our audience members probably don't realize just how much is going on backstage during any given show. Our crew is constantly moving around backstage preparing for the many scenic shifts, not to mention our lighting and sound operators who's fingers rarely stop moving on their perspective control boards. Each shift in lighting and scenery is assigned a "cue number" which is called over wireless headsets by our Stage Manager to our lighting and floor crews. With a total of 319 lighting and deck cues in the show, everyone stays very busy. On top of that, our Sound Engineer is constantly turning body mics on and off throughout the show while also adjusting the sound balance in the house. There is a whole army backstage making it all happen!
Planning to produce a large musical in one location is complicated enough. Add the extra element of taking the show to a completely different performance venue and you will find a whole new level of complexity! Our cast and crew spent most of the day yesterday focusing on working out the kinks and figuring out how to run the show in both venues. At our "Dry Tech" rehearsal, we worked through every scene, lighting, and costume change in the show. We typically do this rehearsal without most of the actors but because there is so much business going on behind the scenes throughout the show and lots of traffic, we had our entire company present. We worked out traffic patterns, scenic spacing, and scenery movement along with quick change locations and some last minute lighting adjustments. It was a long day but went very smoothly thanks to the dedication of our crew, cast, and parent volunteers. Now we are ready to put it with music and tap dancing tonight as we do our first complete tech/dress run thru. Keep up the great work, everyone!
Last night's Company Meeting and Run Thru was the first of many gatherings with our entire cast and crew. Mr. Steiner and Mr. Jump briefed the group on the details of our trip, including the logistics of loading the show up at FC, unloading and setting up in Nebraska, and reloading the trucks after our performances there. With two semis, over 2000 light bulbs, massive set pieces, tons of costumes, a transportable stage floor, lighting equipment, sound equipment, musical instruments and more...it is a lot to keep track of! Thank goodness for spreadsheets! The cast, crew, and parents learned about their individual roles in the load out/in process.
Because not all of our original tech students can make it to Nebraska, we have some dedicated parent volunteer stepping in backstage to help with quick changes and scenery movement. Most actors in 42ND STREET have multiple quick changes so nearly every performer has a dresser backstage to help them change from one costume to another. Our new parent volunteers learned the ropes at our rehearsal yesterday. Great job, everyone!
It takes lots of organizational meetings to get everyone on the same page and to ensure a smooth production, whether at home or on the road. Our leading tech managers always have a "paper tech" meeting before every production begins dress rehearsals to ensure that everyone knows exactly how all of the technical elements will work together during a show. This includes the set, lighting, sound, costumes, and sometimes even special effects. Here are a few photos from our 42ND STREET Paper Tech meeting:
In order to perform the many tap numbers in 42ND STREET at the Lied Center in Nebraska, we have to bring our own floor. The floor at the Lied is too soft to handle tap dancing so our crew whipped up a transportable stage floor that we will take with us. Thanks to our painters for their hard work!