Opening night has arrived at last. Last night was final dress rehearsal for Annie and, in typical fashion, it was rife with mishaps. I was hanging around after the rehearsal when director Cyndi Atkins talked through the evening with a handful of production crew. There was a clear consensus among the veterans: It is not unusual for the night before opening to be rough.
Sometimes, when a cast is sick of rehearsing and ready for an audience, they respond with low energy and lack of concentration. I can personally attest to my own issues last night. I struggled to remember lines that I’d never ever dropped. I was late on an entrance simply because I spaced it off back stage. Arggggghhhh.
Then there were the random occurrences that simply leave you scratching your bald head. Warbucks precious Degas painting fell off the wall and thunked loudly to the floor right in the middle of the sentimental song he sings to Annie. For the sake of propriety I won’t go into detail about our star canine, Maggie, who portrays Annie’s adopted stray, Sandy. Let’s just say Maggie felt a little frisky on stage last night. Nuff said.
Biggest Cast Ever?
After rehearsal we took a cast photo. It was amazing to see all the cast and crew on stage together. There has been some quiet debate among our USP stalwarts as to whether or not this is the largest cast we’ve had in a show. Let me provide more fodder to fuel the banter. Based on the credited cast members recorded in the program, here are some cast counts for other big USP shows (to cloud the issue, the count may include individual actors credited for multiple roles):
Music Man (2007): 77
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (2003): 64
Fiddler on the Roof (1998): 77
Music Man (1997): 70
Let the debate resume. I’ll let you make a head count when you get your program and find out how Annie compares.
It Takes a Village
If you’ve never been in or worked on a large stage production, you can’t possibly comprehend how similar it is to herding cats. There are so many moving parts that it takes a conscientious army of people to pull it off.
Last week I was running down the back hallway to make a quick costume change. All of Warbucks’ servants were huddled together in the hallway. Suzi Jones and Scott Burns were taking the initiative to drill their fellow servants and make sure they had their choreography right.
That’s how it works in a show this size. A director can’t manage every detail. Everyone has to take responsibility for themselves and their fellow cast and crew. Pitch in. Talk about it. Work it out. Make it better. If you don’t do it, no one will.
And, it’s not just cast and crew. A special shout out to parents who have gone above and beyond simple taxi duty to pitch in and wrangle our army of orphans. Huzzah!
There are plenty of General Admission balcony seats available this weekend, though the floor of the auditorium is virtually sold out. Balcony seats are $8.00 and are perfectly good seats for viewing the show. We recommend that you get to the Community Center early as the seating in the balcony is first-come-first-serve.
Finally, to all my fellow cast and crew members: Break a leg!