Well, it is finally here! Fourteen months after the original auditions, with most cast knowing they had the gig around 12 months ago, the five week rehearsal period for the much anticipated London and Broadway smash hit musical Legally Blonde has started here in Sydney.
Starting rehearsals for a new musical is always exciting. The wait is finally over, the meeting of new cast mates, working again with old friends or the very first day for newbies entering the industry on their first show, meeting the creative team properly rather than in a sterile audition room, first read through of the entire show, seeing the set and scenery photos, the entire company together for the first time – it is a sensory overload and a day that will never dilute for me.
I remember my first ever “first day” which was on the original Boy From Oz some 15 years ago. I was a nervous wreck to say the least! What do you wear? What am I supposed to know, do, act, say? Not having gone to any drama school or been around the industry in any large capacity, I knew absolutely nobody. Starting your first ever show is extremely daunting and very exciting. Even now with some years and shows behind me it is still so exciting and nerves are aplenty. Legally Blonde has a couple of new very talented people on their first ever show, so it is great to remember what they must be feeling.
Our day started with a media call on Monday morning where we had a crash course in the song ‘What You Want’, which we presented to an array of eager media before some interviews. Once the media had gone, we had a chance to chat and introduce ourselves to everyone before settling in for a read and sing through of the show. It was our first experience of the show with our Aussie cast. Our wonderful directors in charge, Jerry Mitchell and Dominic Shaw, filled in the gaps and explained scene changes etc, and by the end of the reading everyone was even more excited about the project. It’s a fun show! Pure fun entertainment!
[pull_left]Each day begins with an hour of skipping for majority of the cast involved in the Act Two opening number[/pull_left]
From Tuesday the jigsaw puzzle of putting the show together had begun. Daily schedules are posted for each day throughout the week with a breakdown of what each day will entail and the scenes, songs and routines that will be worked on. Each day begins with an hour of skipping for majority of the cast involved in the Act Two opening number, which – unfortunately for me – I am not involved in. Instead I had other scenes to work on during that time. However, I do get to see the aftermath of an hour of skipping. There is a lot of sweat, puffing and stretching! Not to mention a few welts from the rope cruelly whipping the skin of someone who did not get out of its way in time. We also got to meet and work with our Rufus’s and Bruisers, the dogs that steal the show and have copious amounts of doggy slobber to give – who are at rehearsals every day to get them used to us and the sounds of the show.
As the week moved on, new scenes, songs, harmonies and routines were learnt, as well as more welts given, until Thursday when the first 30 minutes of the show was run in its entirety! It was the first glimpse of the bullet train of a show that is Legally Blonde! Once the train leaves the station, it is fast! It was also the last chance for us to work with Jerry and the last chance he got to see us as he had to return to New York to continue working in his new show with Cyndi Lauper, called Kinky Boots, which opens the same time we do. Jerry is a wonderful energy and is a clear, open director. He gives precise information, but leaves room and trusts you as the actor to fill in the gaps and make the role your own. Dom takes the reins now. He has a rich history as the London resident director and has an uncanny knowledge of the stage blocking, every harmony, dance step, intention, entrance and exit. He clearly knows every piece of the puzzle so intimately that you cannot help have complete trust in him as our director.
By Saturday, we had learnt majority of the music thanks to our MD Richard John and we are now ready for the second week to start, which will ramp up considerably. All of us are required to be “off book” come Monday morning (meaning no scripts or scores to be held). All lines and music are to be learnt from memory now. I am sure I will paraphrase many times next week as I am a shocker with lyrics and lines. We plan to be running the entire Act One on Wednesday, which will be a huge feat. Half the show learnt and running after only 8 days of rehearsal!
No first week would be complete without celebratory drinks. After Saturday rehearsals wrapped up we headed off to a local pub where we could all finally let loose a bit, socialise outside of the rehearsal rooms and nurse the welts with some cold ale.
OMG! Legally Blonde has started!!!! Bring on Week Two!
David’s Legally Blonde Blog will continue throughout rehearsals… Keep your eyes peeled for week two!
Tickets for Legally Blonde are available now at LegallyBlonde.com.au