Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Openin' Another Show!

Oh, by the way, you have a show tonight... this was what I heard upon getting on board.

Thankfully, the show was only the Welcome Aboard show, so it was a whole six minutes of my life, but it went well, and the cast is very friendly and very talented.

So now we are in rehearsals for tomorrow night's show, Save The Last Dance. It is going well, though my leading lady is a bit green, but she'll do fine. She has an awesome voice, and is absolutely beautiful to look at. Kind of a cross between Anne Hathaway and some Silent movie star vixen who sizzles on the screen.

So far, the only downside has been the fact that all of my clothes have had to be let out. I guess those three months off did more for my waistline than I had expected. No more HoHo's for me next time. I will lose the weight, though, and then all those clothes that were let out will then have to be let back in. I hope so, anyway.

So we are en route to Honolulu, Hawaii, where we will have a late sailaway, apparently. I am looking forward to it. The box I spent 60 bucks on to arrive on time in LA didn't arrive... well, it did make it, just not to the ship. So much for my soap, deodorant and peanut butter. They don't have Jif in Australia, just in case you are wondering.

It is supposed to be forwarded to Honolulu, so we'll see if it actually makes it there. Odd, since there were so many people from the home office, you would think that one of them could have easily just brought it aboard. More later...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Annie Junior, day 10: Opening Night

I can't believe I found myself getting choked up over Annie Junior. There was a moment in the beginning of the show where Annie sings "Maybe" while the other orphans gather around her, and I actually got va klempt! I don't know what it was, maybe I am just hormonal about leaving the country for another six months, but I was definitely tearing up at this simple moment onstage done by a group of pre-adolescents!

I was proud today. Very. That I was able to pull off a totally "bare bones" version of this musical, and have it actually work! It didn't matter that we had no set. It didn't matter that the theatre wouldn't let us use lights, so there I was calling "Blackout" as I started to move blocks around to represent Warbucks Mansion, or Hannigan's Office, or the NBC Radio studio. It worked.

Then I got pissed off. Of course it worked. Mary Kathryn and I put our hearts into this to make it work without the help of the "powers that be." And that has now set a precedence that it can be done, and these kids after us will again be cheated of the chance to do a show with any sort of technical elements. I made the props. I did the costumes. I got help from an outside source so the kids could have something to use as set pieces. And I was working AT A THEATRE!

I'm not going to dwell on this. The show was good because of the kids. All that technical stuff didn't matter in the long run. The kids pulled it off. Their voices filled the stage, and the audience was enraptured from the downbeat of the Overture. My idea of making it an ensemble show really worked. It was an ensemble show. And Annie was awesome, too.

I feel good leaving the country now, knowing that I was able to affect someone's life today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a similar experience, though from my own experience, I find that the second performance never reaches that first night excitement or polish. I hope they prove me wrong.

I'll let you know.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Annie Junior, day 9

Hello everyone!  The day has arrived!  Tomorrow is our opening!  All are very 

excited, and though we had a rough couple of run throughs, we did get a lot done
today and we all learned a lot about what it takes to be a performer!

We had two special guests to watch today. First was Kathleen Rudolph from RLT,
who was very enthusiastic about the performance. Second was Paul Orsett of the
Wakefield Theatre Company, who will not be able to come to a show because of
prior commitments. He also was very positive about the work the kids have done.
His and Kathleen's main comments were that the kids cannot be heard. Not to
worry. We are working on this!

I was a little dismayed today to find out how many actors wore their costumes to
the dress rehearsal, when yesterday's email asked that they specifically NOT do
this. I know I sent the email late last night, and for that I apologize.
Tomorrow, please do not make the same mistake. Please have your actors bring
their costumes with them so they can be kept at the theatre until Saturday. I
don't want anyone to forget their costumes and then have to sit on the sidelines
watching their other actors do their work.

Once again, for those of you who didn't get the info...

Doors open tomorrow at 5:00pm. Please do not try to sneak in and watch what
happens beforehand. We will be working right up until showtime, so please do
not add to your actor's stress level by trying to get a quick look.

The show starts at 5:15, and should be over within an hour to an hour and
fifteen minutes.

Saturday's show starts at 1:00pm, and all actors should be at the theatre no
later than 12:00 Noon. Doors will open at 12:45.

At this point in the game, we have everything we need. Costumes, props, the
works. Please do not add anything to your actor's costume, thinking "This would
look real good..." It won't. We have worked on all our changes and anything
else will now be a hindrance. If you would like to help, please remind your
actors about their blocking, dance steps, and that they need to PROJECT so that
their deaf grandma in the last row can hear them! That would be most helpful.

Parking again is available in the large lot by the mainstage theatre, adjacent
to the amphitheatre. The show itself is in the Goodwin Gaddy Teaching Theatre,
which is the smaller black box where you have been picking your kids up this
past week.

Thank you, parents, for being so supportive these past two weeks, and I know you
will be pleased with the final product.

Please have your camp evaluations filled out and ready to turn in tomorrow when
you get to the theatre.

I think that's everything. I am in the process of finishing up some last minute
props that needed to be wrapped or fixed, and then I am off to bed to try and
get a good night's sleep. We will see you all tomorrow!

Thanks so much,
J. Michael Beech

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Annie Junior, day 8

Okay folks, here we go!  Tomorrow is dress rehearsal!  This means that all

actors should BRING WITH THEM (NOT WEAR) their jeans and plain white t-shirt.
They should have their clothes labeled, so that they can leave them at the
theatre. Not that I don't trust you, but I have seen too many shows where the
day of, someone shows up saying "I forgot my shirt... or I forgot this or
that..." This will not be the case if they have their clothes with them tomorrow
and they are left at the theatre, right?

Okay. Nuff said about costumes. Jeans and plain white t-shirt. Done. Just
for your own clarification, so there is no confusion, a "plain white t-shirt"
consists of just that. A white crew neck t-shirt without any printing, no
pockets, etc. Just a plain white t-shirt. Thanks.


Friday is without saying... 12:30 pm. We will be having camp and doing last
minute cleanings of numbers, etc. The show starts at 5:15pm. DOORS OPEN AT
5:00. They will not open earlier, so please don't try to sneak in. We will be
working up until showtime to get ready for you.



Your kids today were given a camp evaluation. Please take the time to fill it
out. It is part of the life line of the theatre, and an addition to their grant
program. If you would like to continue to see quality theatre starting at your
actors level and age, please fill out an evaluation form. If not, fill it out
anyway, please.

Okay. Next thing. Today.

Today was a step backward. Not a huge one, but just a small one. Big enough to
set things back nonetheless. I think in everyone's concern and excitement to
make sure everyone else was doing what they were supposed to do, the actors
forgot their own jobs, and therefore we had more than a few hiccups. It was
disappointing, but I think we learned a lot about what to expect come Friday.

We all ended up taking a big deep breath and then got back to work and then
things seemed to iron themselves out. This is normal, actually. Kind of a day
7 slump thing. Happens to all casts for all shows, professional or "junior."
Trust me. I've seen it happen. I've been there PLENTY of times. Things will
be better tomorrow.

Each time we run things they do get better. Unfortunately, an actor only gets
ONE chance to do it right for that performance. I think that reality hit today
when they realized that we can't necessarily go back and re-do things during the
middle of a performance.

Even with the hiccups, things went well, and we were able to finish the run
through from yesterday, and do a complete run through from the top. Every
number is choreographed, and we have most of the props... (I will be finishing
those tonight.) and things look pretty darn good if you ask me. I am very
excited for you to see the finished product.

I think that's about all I have to say for tonight. I have props to fix, and I
should try to get started on my packing for my six months in Australia.

Just as a side note... I DID take some time for myself tonight and go see the
new movie The Help. My brother is the Art Director for it, and it was really
good. I know that was a SHAMELESS plug for it, but it is a good funny,
heartwarming story of life in the 60's. Go Curt!

Okay, I've said too much. I will see everyone tomorrow, where I am hoping to
get at least two run-throughs of the show in. One starting at 1, the other at
3:30. If there is any confusion, please re-read the first paragraph of this
email. Thanks!

J. Michael Beech

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Annie Junior, day 7

I'll be honest. There are days I dread going to work. So far I have not dreaded ANY of the days I go to "play" with your actors. It has been exciting, new, fresh, eye-opening, funny, and thrilling to see the growth and potential of these young people. I think they will blow you away with their production of Annie Junior.

With that said, there were some bumps in the road today. Mostly due to lack of focus and simply having some "brain farts" and forgetting stuff we blocked or some of the dance moves. There does seem to be an overall lack of (believe it or not) SINGING!!! I can't reinforce enough to your kids that they need to sing out! There were times today where there were supposed to be 20 people singing, and it sounded like only 2. This is a musical, folks!!!

With that aside, we did manage to finish all the blocking, work on some of the musical numbers, take a break, and then start a run-through form the top of the show. We didn't get to finish, but we did bite off a major chunk of the show, ending with Scene 7, where Annie is on the radio. We will pick up here tomorrow where we left off, and then start another run shortly thereafter.

I may have mentioned it before, but when the kids are ON, they are ON! It is so exciting! But when they are off... well, not so much. I've tried to make this an ensemble experience, and I think you will be pleased with the amount of stage time your actors have. It is truly an ensemble piece.

Please remind the kids that since they are onstage the whole time, there is always someone watching them. They should try to focus on the scene going on onstage, not on their texting or on their neighbor's fingernail polish.

I hope everyone got the last email about costumes, and finding a plain white t-shirt and jeans is not too difficult. Please let me know if you are having difficulty so I can start to put a contingency plan in place.

OH!!! Today was their day to be off book! They did FANTASTIC!!! They stayed in character during the run and called for their lines like any pro in the business. Man, they learn quick! There were hardly any missed lines, by the way. Again a first in my book.

Props are coming along, and there are just a few more that I forgot today but will hopefully remember to put in my car tomorrow morning. Thanks to you parents who brought in costume pieces. Some will work, other might not, but we are working to make this as good a show as we can, and so far, I am really pleased, obviously form these gushing emails.

Attached is another picture or two from rehearsal today, and NOT cover art from the world's worst musical flop in history. Enjoy!


J. Michael Beech

Monday, August 8, 2011

Annie Junior, day 6

Dear Parents, today was a milestone!!! I felt like I was at a professional rehearsal. Your students were so well behaved, so attentive, and so eager to learn! Not once did I have to ask for people to pay attention or to settle down. HOPEFULLY this will run into tomorrow's rehearsal as well, but I wanted you to know how well they behaved and rehearsed today. It was amazing. As a result, we got tons done, too!

I am getting ready to head back to Australia for a job come Sunday, so today I tried to put a box in the mail to meet me there. Instead, I got the slowest person alive trying to help the single-most confused person alive. Needless to say, I ran a few minutes late today. I apologize again to your actors. Nate and Katie were there to jump in with the check-ins, and Mary Kathryn was there to help with getting all our props moved from the lobby to the performance space. Thanks, guys! Today's check in (courtesy of Nate) was what type of dog would we be. Lots of interesting answers yet again. We then did a vocal warm-up and then we jumped right into blocking and some bookwork.

Let me start right off by saying that blocking and bookwork is the SINGLE MOST BORING part of the rehearsal process. It has to do with a lot of sitting around doing pretty much nothing but watching your fellow actors work while you sit and glaze over.

Can I just tell you that we were able to block pages 39-83 today? That is amazing! We only have about 15 more pages and then we are finished blocking the whole show! I have three more musical numbers to stage, and then we are finished! Who knew? It is because of the patience and talent of your kids that we were able to accomplish this today.

We finished doing the choreography to "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile" as well as "Easy Street." Both are numbers that are a lot of fun for me. I hope they are for your actors.

Mary Kathryn worked a bit with Maddy's "NYC" solo also.

We took a long break form 3:10-3:45 and then worked on the musical numbers. At 5:00, we stopped for a discussion about costumes.

Your child should have brought home with them a list of things they will need to wear for the show.

Our "base" costume is jeans/jean shorts and a white t-shirt. I don't mind if the girls want to wear a woman's fitted t-shirt... but no tank tops, and nothing with pockets or any kind of print on them. The reason for this is to use the shirts/jeans as a type of "uniform as well for the servants/butlers/cooks/housekeeping staff scene.

Without going into too much boring detail, you should have the info needed from your actor as to other "embellishments" they will need. Some of the guys, for example, will need a jacket or an overcoat. Some of the girls will be using hats and coats for their other characters.

I have been working on props all weekend and I am trying to finish them up tonight. I am trying to keep it as minimal as possible, but if anyone knows how to mount a paper poster to a piece of foam core without it getting wrinkled or bubbled forming, please let me know. I have about ten large poster sized postcards to be mounted to foam core, and I don't want them to get all wrinkled by using spray adhesive.

Tomorrow's goal is to finish blocking the show, finish staging the musical numbers, and starting a run-through! This way, we will hopefully get a few run-throughs in before you get a chance to see it. I am looking at Thursday as a full dress rehearsal, so all costumes will be needed by Thursday.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Annie Junior, day 5

We made it through our first week!!!  And we still have another one to go!!! 

Wow! What a lot of work we got done today. It won't seem that way to your
actors, who will probably tell you "we did a couple numbers and went over some
scenes and music." But we got heaps of work done today.

Our check in had to do with a kind of fruit we would be. Kudos to those mangoes
out there! YUM!

Then we jumped right in to a review of the NYC number which we tweaked and
polished a bit. Like I said the other day, it is going to be a great number.
For you parents, please reinforce to your child on how confident they need to be
onstage... it will help with their overall, well, confidence on stage!

We started to review "Hard Knock Life" but I got distracted, as I easily do...
adult ADD, go figure. And when we had finished, it turns out we had blocked 9
pages of script and 2 songs! We were able to block the scene coming out of the
Overture and into the first scene of the play, and it carried us through to
"Hard Knock Life". It was great! We were acting and a show was starting to
form in a great way!

Earlier in the day, I had been able to go borrow some cubes for use as set
pieces, and I also was able to purchase the orphan shirts for their costumes. I
think this helped in the acting department, as it made them feel like they were
actually "doing something productive" rather than sitting around on the floor
pretending to be an orphan. So we got through "Maybe" and "Hard Knock Life." We
then got kicked out of the lobby because of an open classroom and we moved
downstairs to the studio where we finished "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here." and
then took a short break. It is going to be a FUN NUMBER!!!

When we got back upstairs, our concentration was a bit off because of the room
switching, so we didn't get as much done on "Never Fully Dressed" as I would
have liked, but with several people heading out early, it was bound to be a
little "off" anyway. So, MK worked solos while I taught the start of "Never
Fully Dressed." Then, because of our 80's day celebration... 80's to these
kids was like the 50's to my generation... man did I feel old today, we went
downstairs to the greenroom where we enjoyed some ice cream and 80's tunes.
Sorry to give your kids back to you on a sugar high! My favorite quote of the
"party" was "I wish this party could last for three years!" I don't make this
up, parents!! These are YOUR kids!

Over the weekend, please don't let your actors forget that they have some stuff
to learn! They should each now have an accompaniment CD, so they can sing along
without the voices. This is the same CD we will be using for the presentation,
so they should know it and know it well.

Next week, we need to knock through (quickly) the rest of "Never Fully Dressed"
and the solo numbers choreographically. Then we really need to focus on the
scenework. I let the actors know they should be off book by Tuesday, and
hopefully they will be able to get most of their lines out.

One of the things you can do to help when they are practicing is to remind them
that their lines need to HEARD and their faces need to be SEEN! Too many times
in rehearsal I have had to remind them that I am not interested in seeing their
backsides acting. The front side is much more interesting!

Have a great weekend, and thanks again for the donations you have given, be it
whipped cream or orphan shirts, or blank CD's!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Annie Junior, day 4

The good news is that we got a lot done today.  The bad news is that... well, 
there really isn't any bad news, so I guess that's good news, too.

The only downside to getting so much done as far as music and choreography is
that we have not had much, if any, time to work on the scenes! These are really
important in order to string the songs together, and I am hoping to get to those
on Monday. I have asked the actors to be "off-book" that is, memorized, by
Tuesday. It is a lot of work to do, especially for a camp situation, but in the
long run, we do have a show to put up as well. Please help your kids in
memorizing their material over the weekend.

KUDOS today to Kiara, who came in with her song parts totally memorized and they
sounded fantastic!!! It was so exciting to see this little girl who yesterday
was so timid to get up there and belt these parts out. Total change from
yesterday, and what an incredible change it was, too!!! Thanks, Mom for helping
her out!

So what did we get through today? All sorts of stuff!

We started the day again with our check in, and the kids told us what type of
music they would be... we had several very cool and unexpected answers,
everything from Pop to Ragtime, with some Jazz and Heavy Metal thrown in...
mine of course was show tunes. Can't leave those out when working on a show
like this!

We then got to work right away by reviewing the numbers we did over the past few
days. We had some traffic issues in the overture that we cleaned up and it is
in really good shape now. We then did "Hard Knock Life" with all props, and
what a difference a prop makes! We had to run it a couple times because of prop
issues. It also will be a great number. We added a tribute to another comic
strip character, so see if you can pick it out when you see the number!

We then jumped into finishing the "NYC" number, and it is going to be very very
cool!!! It, too, has a tribute to another famous musical (perhaps a little
ahead of it's time), so there is a chance to spot that too. I like to put those
moments in choreographically, not only to give the "older folk" in the audience
a chance to giggle, but also to use them as teaching moments while teaching
choreography. A little history goes a long long way, right?

We then took a small break where MK and I chatted about costumes and then Mary
Kathryn worked with Sandy and Annie on "Tomorrow."

I have to put a special thank you out there to our TA, Katie, who kept notes on
blocking and choreography today, as well as CD maker extraordinaire! She was
able to multi-task like you wouldn't believe! She is the one who made most of
those extra CD's your kids came home with today. Thanks, Katie!

We then did a sing-through of the entire show, and I gotta tell you, even though
I have heard these songs umpteen times, it still excites me to hear these young
voices belt out these melodies!

Blocking-wise, we got through some of the script, but we have tons yet to do as
I mentioned before. We got through pages 62-66, 34-35, and 57-58.

At the end of the day, we started to work on the choreography for "I Think I'm
Gonna Like It Here," which is a huge group number where everyone is either a
maid or butler, and is welcoming Annie to the Warbucks Mansion. We will be
starting with this number tomorrow, and then we have only one more group number
to finish, and only the solos to stage!!! Moving right along!

So, what did MK and I talk about as far as costumes were concerned? Well, we
did get a donation from a parent to help in this department, so as of tomorrow,
we will have the orphan outfits! I am going to the Goodwill near Wakefield to
pick up some mens button down shirts that I saw the other day that I think will
work very well as somewhat drab, institutional orphan outfits! Thanks to our
MOM who did that!!!

The basic costume that everyone will need under their other costume(s) will be
either jeans shorts or jeans, and a plain white t-shirt. I want to do this
simply because if they are in all black, our actors will disappear against the
black walls of the theatre, and in their white shirts, they will also resemble
the "servants" and "other persons" of New York City. It is much easier to
supplement something basic with hats, coats, and other shirts, than having to
worry about full costume changes in a short time when everyone is playing more
than one part.

I am looking for a plain white apron for our Cook, a feather duster for Cecille,
and some kind of "disguise" for Rooster and Lily. It might be a jacket, a pair
of glasses, a strap on beard, or a different hat. I will keep looking and
hopefully I will be able to find my one box of hats and assorted props that is
lost in one of my closets from my teaching days.

Overall a really great day. Tomorrow we have 80's day planned with a surprise
for the kids at the end of the day. No worries, all kids should stay in one

Thanks again, and your kids are really working hard!!!

J. Michael Beech

A side note... I had mentioned to the kids that I was thinking of using milk
crates instead of the cubes I wanted to use at the start... well, I got a way
for the cubes to be transported to the theatre and used, so you can ignore the
request your child may give for milk crates!

Annie, Junior, day 3

Another very productive day!  I tell you, these kids are working HARD!  I threw 
a lot of stuff at them today, and not only did they retain it, they looked like
they were actually enjoying it!

At the start of the day, we sit in a circle and do a "check in." Today, we
reinforced our names and what character we were playing, as well as "if you had
one superpower, what would it be?" Let me tell you, there were some very
interesting answers! And it is so true when you hear that phrase "Kids say the
darndest things!" My favorite answer came from one of the boys who very
emphatically said his superpower would be the power to self-destruct! I could
not stop laughing. Unfortunately, you only get to use that superpower once!
But laughs aside, we went straight to work, incorporating one of our new
actresses into the overture. She had been absent for the last two days, and we
put her in quickly. It changes the entire scope of things when one person is
absent, and I do implore you as parents to make sure your kids are at camp!

As for self-destructing, become a director!! It comes naturally!!

I really worked the kids really hard today. If they messed up we went back and
started over. If they messed up again, we started over again. I hope it wasn't
interpreted as my being angry at them. I told them I get really excited and
then my voice changes and it sounds like I am angry with them... I will do my
best to try and change that. But again, they are doing wonderful work, and it
is definitely a notch above what you are probably expecting.

I know this coming Friday seems to be THE DAY to leave early, and whatever the
reason, I would love to know where the huge party is! If you could please
remind us tomorrow if your actor has any conflicts between now and the time we
perform, that would be great! Also on a side note... there are TWO performances
of Annie Junior. One next Friday at 5:15pm and again on Saturday at 1pm. We
are still having camp at the regular time that Friday, as it is out last chance
to finish off things and do a run through of the show.

So. Onto our daily report. As I mentioned, we worked on the Overture again,
and then we sang through some of the music. We then worked on "It's A Hard
Knock Life" for choreography, and the kids were AWESOME!!! Please remind them
to look at their words and listen to their music each day as much as possible!
Remind them that even though they are not necessarily "in" the number, they are
still to sing offstage... everyone is onstage, so there really is no offstage...

I just found out that the CD's they got do not have the instrumental tracks on
them. If your student wants a CD of the instrumental tracks to practice with,
please have them bring with them a blank recordable CD, labeled with their name,
and we can burn copies during rehearsals tomorrow.

Whilst I was working choreography, Mary Kathryn worked with Miss Hannigan,
Rooster, and Lily on "Easy Street" and other pieces of solo material. She also
did some work with Annie on her solos.

We then took a break, had a snack and then we jumped right back into it.

We started the "NYC" number, which uses the posters I was talking about
yesterday, and I found a place to get them done! Thanks for all your

We also got to sing through "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here". I am hoping to
get to that number tomorrow for choreography as well as finish off the NYC
number. Again, you will be so impressed with the work they are doing.

A note on costumes...
A note on costumes...
A note on costumes...

Mary Kathryn and I are still debating what to have the kids wearing, so please
do not assume that we are going to have them in full "orphan gear!" If
anything, we are leaning toward finding some old button down oxford shirts and
dirtying them up to use for the orphan outfits.

Of course, no Annie would be complete without the red dress and wig. I looked
at the Party store by Triangle Town center yesterday and could not find anything
that even resembled the red dress or even a red permed wig. So, if there are
either of these items stashed away in a closet somewhere from an old Halloween
party, please let me know. (Annie's Mom, please let me know what size she
is!!!) Please do not go out and buy anything!! I repeat... DO NOT go out and
buy anything!!!

Ok, not sure if I am forgetting anything... I'm sure I am, as I didn't write it
down when I should have. I have buckets and mops for the orphans...

I have some of the props for the mansion scene... I am trying to get some
blocks for the kids to use as scenery items as well... they make great desks and
chairs and pedestals for the statue of Liberty... Who knew?

More tomorrow! I may send an addendum with the stuff I forgot. Thanks for your

J. Michael Beech

Annie Junior, day 2

Hello parents, and here we go!  Annie Junior is now in full swing!  We got so 
much done today, and it was such a pleasure to see the incredible talent you
have given Mary Kathryn and I to work with!!

When Mary Kathryn and I first got news of the camp's subject matter, we got
together and said to each other that we can't let this show be the "star
vehicle" that it tends to be. It is not fair to the kids. Though the character
of Annie carries the show as a "lead" it is not a "starring role". We concluded
that our version should add as many roles for everyone as possible, and I came
up with the idea of a semi-"concert version" of the show, where all cast members
are onstage the entire time. The actors will serve as Orphans, Servants,
Townspeople, and in some cases, the Statue of Liberty and other historic New
York City landmarks. Not an easy task when you have to get a show up in ten
days! But it could be done, and Mary Kathryn and I are dedicated to the piece
and to giving your child as much to do with the script that we have. I would
not want to have the job of rewriting these shows into their "Junior"
versions... how do you cut a script down and make it equal for everyone? You
just can't.

So, we learned today that acting is not just about the amount of lines that you
have! Non-verbal communication is just as important, if not more so, than
verbal. Think silent movies... how were they able to convey all their emotions
without sound?

But I digress...

At the start of the day, we worked on the choreography and musical staging for
the Overture, which gave all of the cast some extra character work to do, and
even some new characters they didn't know of! It is a four or five minute
movement piece that gets us into "depression era" New York and gives us some
background information as to where Sandy and Annie came from. (I'm not going to
spoil any surprises by telling you.)

We then worked music, and got tons done! We worked on "Hard Knock Life," "NYC,"
"Tomorrow reprise," "Maybe," "Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile" and we got a
head start on "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here." That is a lot of information to
cram into those young heads in a short amount of time. I think you will be
pleasantly surprised at the level of the voices that we have. It was very
exciting to hear these tunes that, even though you may get tired of them in the
next two weeks, came out sounding fantastic!

While Mary Kathryn was working music, I worked with some of the cast on blocking
(staging). We managed to get through several scenes, pages 72-73, 85-88, and
77-79. It is time consuming, and the kids were able to retain the information
and take direction! A director's dream! Thank you so much for having these
awesome kids!

On tomorrow's docket, I would like to get through "It's a Hard Knock Life"
choreography, and possibly get started on "NYC" as well. We will also review
everything we did today, in order to reinforce the work we did today.

On a side note, I know there are tons of question about costumes and props, and
I urge you to give me a few days to get a list together so you have the weekend
to go searching through your old clothes.

As far as scenery goes, if anyone knows of an inexpensive (VERY) way to get
posters made, I have some images of vintage postcards that I would like to get
blown up to use for part of our background. Unfortunately, my financial
situation does not allow for much. Any help would be appreciated.

So. Until next time, thanks again, and I hope this is useful for you. I will
try to get one of these daily reports out each day.