Welp, it has been a helluva month (two months? three? seven?) working out the kinks in Little Shop, but tonight's the night we finally see how people like it. It has been wonderful working with Colin Roybal, Deb Flomberg and the entire cast. It is a great, fun group of people and an immensely talented bunch of singer/actors. There are layers and levels and tweaks and twitches in each character that I never would have imagined back when we first started walking through this.
To me, the biggest difference in working on a musical versus a straight play (insert musical theatre/homosexuality joke here) ) ((haha, he said 'insert,' haha)) is that, while there is of course somewhat less depth to the characters in a musical, that doesn't mean it's any easier than doing a Serious Drama.
That is to say, it is true that in order to be effective as an actor--at least for an emotional train wreck like myself--I have to struggle with someone like Dr. Dysart from 'Equus' or Roy Cohn from 'Angels' in order to tease out every nuance of his motivations and the layers of his past. It is a challenge and raw, emotional, exhausting work scraping the veneer off the various internal engines that drive these characters, in order to attempt in some small way to honestly expose the truth of them without being obvious or false about it.
And while musical theatre characters may not have, ahem, quite so much depth to them, I'm finding that the challenge is equally intense, at least for a noob like me.
Of course you have to find a way to play a character during your spoken parts, remembering your lines and characterization, just like in a straight play. But you also have to remember song lyrics, listen for musical cues, go off the band even when you're not quite on the same page as them--not to mention singing on key--and remember and execute movement (I dare not call what I'm doing 'dancing' for fear of causing actual dancers to rise up en masse and burn me at the barre in a fit of--no doubt graceful--rage).
Essentially you have to spin plates, juggle, recite the Gettysburg Address and do a little Rockettes dance number all at once, while staying ever-so-intense--yet casual--about the whole thing.
Our Divas: Kansas, Chachi and Celia, spinning plates, juggling and looking fabulous all at once.
So I admit it: I have a much greater respect for musical theatre actors than I did going into this thing. The two types of theatre, while posing different challenges, are, to me, equally difficult.
Looking forward to playing for an audience tonight. Hope you can make it! Info follows.
May 27 through June 18
Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30
At The Bug Theatre 3654 Navajo Street
Tickets: $15 for Adults or $12 for Students/Seniors! 720-984-0781