Musical Theatre Diaries Pt.3

This week we got back underway with our Beauty & The Beast production. We now have a cast of 85 and all of the parts have been firmly cast.

I believe the goal of any show is to not only entertain several full audiences, but give as many students the opportunity to be involved as possible. A musical is a perfect way of getting students involved because you can in many ways have as many as you want in the big choruses. But of course it does take some thinking and with B&TB we will need to look carefully at how we are going to get the best out of our large cast.

Our starting point this week was to have a complete read & sing through of the show. I believe this is called a “Sitzprobe” – Germain for Seated Rehearsal. Anyway, the technical term aside, it is basically a chance for everyone to get to know the story and the songs. I thoroughly recommend this approach and sometimes in the past we haven’t managed to squeeze one in. This year we did and the great thing now is that everyone knows the story and the principles have had a chance to sing their songs. For me this proved as a an opportunity for them to get over nerves and get singing in front the cast. It was great to see the characters coming to life and great to see the dynamic between the cast. So if you are planning a musical production, make sure you allow time to read and sing through the show. If you can, then make notes along the way as there are likely to be things that will jump out at you that you may not have considered before.

This week I was also reminded of how a musical production can really bring together students and create a lovely community. It brings together all year groups and it is also a great chance to work with colleagues from other departments. This week we welcomed new year 9 students to come along and get involved and I know that they found it all very exciting.

So what is next? Well today, Sunday, we are having a rehearsal with the principles. We have always worked on the odd Sunday afternoon as we find we get a lot done. It is a tight turnaround to get a show ready by November, and so we need all the time we can get. The thing about a weekend rehearsal is that everyone comes to the session with a different mindset. Students & Teachers are giving up their time at the weekend, and so they want to make it count. The atmosphere is more productive and you often get a lot more done. You might not like the idea of coming in at a weekend, or it might not be possible, but I do recommend you try it. Even just one additional day at the weekend might be all your production needs. Students are always asked to bring work with them so that when they are not being used for a scene they can be working. Obviously it takes some planning with your school site team, but try it out.

We are also now looking at set, props, costume, marketing and sponsorship. We are selling sponsorship in the programme and I have a parent team working behind the scenes on this. It is important that you get money in so that you can make your show even bigger and better. Students deserve the best production if they are going to put so many hours in to rehearsal. We are also starting to look around for lovely bits of furniture that we can use to dress our set. I am always on the lookout for bits and bobs that you can use in a show.

I won’t even begin to work out how many weeks we have until the show, that would be too scary. All I am doing is remembering that we have been putting on shows in Windsor for 10 years and we have always pulled it off. The cast are amazing, the staff team is brilliant & experienced and we will do it! Rehearsals are fun and enjoyable and so all it takes is everyone coming together – and this week we have already started to do that.

If you are putting on a musical this year I would love to hear about it. Get in touch and let me know what you are doing and how it is going. I always love to hear about shows and what teachers think about them pre & post production!

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