Yesterday was the first day of rehearsal for our Paramount orchestra for Jesus Christ Superstar! I sat in for just a little bit and was blown away at the sound coming out of the pit under the direction of Tom Vendafreddo and Kory Danielson! I’ve never heard anything like it because nothing we’ve ever done rocks and grooves quite like this (as I hope you will soon see by reserving your seats asap)! I shouldn’t say I’ve “never” heard anything like it because sitting in got me remembering the first time I heard the brown album with the gold angels in my dorm room at Loyola University circa 1970. How I treasured that double 78 LP! Wore it out! Spinning records back then seems like a ritual compared to today. Opening the album cover, carefully handling the vinyl (no finger prints!) while removing its sleeve, carefully placing it on the four speed turntable, switching on the play button, delicately setting the needle (no scratches!) and cranking up the two big, boxy speakers…yesterday took me back to my “days of future passed” listening to symphonic rock bands; The Moody Blues, Yes, Queen, Pink Floyd, Genesis! Remember the movie soundtrack from Shaft?! I could hear bits of them all, all live, here and now!
This afternoon, our cast of 26 sings with our 15 piece orchestra, the “wandelprobe,” with sound team Adam Rosenthal and Tiago Velho mixing voices with instruments and balancing technical sound levels. I am so excited for all of them to experience this reward for their hard work in tech rehearsals last week on Kevin Depinet’s monumental set! 18 actors here are making their Paramount debut. To see them, and the artists returning, sing with the Paramount orchestra for the first time is what I live for! The inspiration, the expression, the pure joy and celebration of it!
Your support, dear reader, is what makes this caliber of opportunity possible! I got the wind knocked out of my sails yesterday hearing the disappointing report of a tiny sector of our audience having a problem with this work featuring an all African-American cast. I suppose this is to be expected but I want to embrace those very individuals to please put politics aside, and come with an open mind and heart and attend the artistry of this live performance intended for everyone to enjoy and bring us all together! You will understand why and how Andrew Lloyd Webber, then 21 years old, and Tim Rice, at 25, composed a spectacular 70’s rock opera that picked up where Hair and The Who’s Tommy left off, creating one of the most enduring musical theatre events of all time!
My love & thanks,