September 2! It’s Fall! Our company of CATS will have their final run-through at The Elks Rehearsal Hall this afternoon moving onto the set tomorrow. (This production will have its first preview on the matinee of September 10th). Watching a bit of the work-through process yesterday, I’m privileged to witness the contrast from start to finish in the rehearsal room. Rhett Guter, the handsome leading cat, “Munkustrap” is a study in calibrating words with steps, space and sequence…carrying this weight like a young Atlas he sees I understand as he looks at me and remarks, “It’s enormous! It doesn’t stop”! I quip to myself, “Well, you wanted to do CATS”…but he is deadly serious. No worries, Rhett, in return for your greatness of effort here, this performance will bear your magnificence! Lizzie Mackenzie’s white cat “Victoria” has a smile and sparkle in her eyes, effortlessly navigating the choreography’s terrain. Joe Musiel, magical “Mistoffelees,” cerebrally moves through a sequence and then goes to the side before a mirror to check out his form as he whips out a triple pirouette…a taste of what will be when nothing is held back! Labor Day indeed! These “thoroughbreds” are in the throws of a “labor of love” working through, analyzing, repeating, refining this daily practice of rehearsal and learning! “Putting it together…bit by bit…art isn’t easy”…the Sondheim lyrics bounce along within as I remember the long ago…when I was dancing in front of Pat Birch, Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse; how the precision of their demands bring about a change in me doing something so difficult in its newness and originality, challenging me to do something I’ve never done before, be someone I’ve never been before…did I realize any of this this then? Nah. My greatest hope now is that these sensational dancers have the time of their life here at Paramount…just as I did on Broadway. As the end of rehearsal is announced, they are shining and applauding. I walk over to the theater with Director Shawn Stengel and Lighting Designer Jesse Klug and enter the Stage Door into the mammoth, cavernous setting reimagined for this production by Set Designer Kevin Depinet and built by Jason Pikscher’s titan crew of men and women. The anticipation of this afternoon’s final rehearsal room run and the first hours on this set tomorrow evening is almost too much!
Off now to our Paramount Staff Meeting. What a month at RiverEdge Park completing with Jennifer Nettles! And Donny & Marie here at Paramount all week! Much congratulations to our hard working, tireless teams continuing with The Broadway Series beginning in just 8 days!!! “It’s enormous! It just doesn’t stop!” Right on, Rhett! Labor Day indeed!
Love & thanks,