Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lynnwood Stake's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: Part I - Auditions/Rehearsals/Backstage

This past November our stake (group of local church congregations) held auditions for our first musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." It was a good opportunity to get to know other stake members and for families to perform together. The Morrison family above were all a part of it. Bryan was cast as Joseph, Amy was cast as a Canaan/Ishmaelite, Kayla was an Egyptianette, and their younger daughters were in the children's chorus. The show was also meant to get to know our greater community. We did not charge for tickets but instead asked people to bring canned food for the local food bank.

Some of us had to bring our nursing babies to auditions and rehearsals. I can't think of another production I could be a part of that would allow me to do this. They also helped provide childcare for Tyler and Allison during rehearsals.
We had our first rehearsal on December 19th then didn't hold anymore until 2016. The brothers and narrators were in the gym with the ensemble in the relief society room and the children's choir in the primary room.
This is mostly a movie collage of our December 19th rehearsal, but there's a random picture of my kids sitting on Santa's lap. Google just automatically makes movies of pictures taken from the same day, and I don't have the vaguest idea if/how I could take the Santa pic out. 

Later that day we combined everyone together and trudged through a run thru of the show. That was interesting! There's me in the corner with my opera singer face!

Childcare hadn't been set up for that rehearsal, but luckily Alli slept the entire time in her car seat. Tyler enjoyed getting 3 hours of YouTube kids while sitting on daddy's lap or shoulders.

Rehearsals got fully underway at the beginning of January with main stage performers called on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and all cast and crew called on Saturdays. The gym was constantly filled with people working on sets, lighting, sounds, costumes, puppets, etc. I've been in many shows where people are paid or given college credit to do all these backstage jobs, and it is a LOT of work that doesn't always get appreciated as much as it should. I was astonished at the incredible quality produced from volunteers working out of the goodness of their hearts purely out of the desire to serve within their church.
While the kids were typically singing from the bleachers off to the side, we blocked all or some of them onstage for several of the scenes. Many of them were children of main stage cast members, which was fun for them to get to act with their parents. They sounded great and had a great opportunity. I look forward to Tyler and Allison being old enough to do a show with us someday.
Bryan Morrison, our Joseph, was very interactive with the cast and the children's choir during rehearsals, and with the audience during performances.
We cast three narrators though it's only written for one in the score. It's an exhausting role to take on for just one person, so much so that a former voice teacher of mine had to put her student on a semester of vocal rest after her run as the narrator. We split up the lines and added harmonies, and I came to prefer it done with three of us. We all kind of look alike with matching hair and outfits, so it was like we were a three generation narrator family telling the story together.

Our scheming brothers were talented and hilarious. They always kept us well entertained at rehearsals. Oscar was cast as Judah and took on the solo role in Benjamin Calypso. It was fun to be in a show with my husband for the first time, though our characters aren't scripted to act directly with each other. That was probably for the best since he would have been constantly making me laugh.

Rehearsals got a little intense sometimes with staging getting figured out as we rehearsed and all the choreography being incorporated into the new blocking. "Jacob and Sons" and "Joseph's Coat" were songs that really took a long time to work out, but in the end they went from being a complete train wreck to really awesome.
It was fun to watch it all evolve.

 I also really enjoyed working with an orchestra throughout rehearsals. Typically the shows I've been in get a sitzprobe run through with the orchestra and then they don't perform together again until tech week. We, on the other hand, were able to work with the orchestra weekly. We also benefited from new technology with Sid's sounds and microphones and the show being broadcast throughout the building while we were backstage. 

Constant work by our producers was going on backstage to make sure we were all on stage on time and that we looked the way we were supposed to. We and the audience had to keep our cell phones on airplane mode since our WiFi signals interfered with the wireless microphones. This was announced to us regularly as part of our pre-show meetings and announced to the audience before each show started. 

We only had a couple of months of rehearsal, which made me a little nervous, but in the end it all came together and looked fabulous. I especially enjoyed getting pampered by our hair and makeup crew. We had a few hairdressers and ladies in cosmotology school volunteer their services, and all the cast and crew members with experience helped out too. Wendy, a professional clown, did awesome stuff with my eyes.

Part II - Cast and Crew