What Goes into Staging a Musical? Rehearsal Diary Week Three


Okay, it’s a little bit of a stretch saying that last week in London was all part of the rehearsal diary, given that we abandoned the rehearsal room, had two public performances and made a cast recording. But given that’s it’s all preparation for our WORLD PREMIERE in Edinburgh, we’ll stick with the “Rehearsal Diary” banner for now. Production Assistant Adam Niemann covers the daily elements that are required to stage a full musical in this third weekly instalment (following Part 1 and Part 2).

Day Thirteen (Monday)

Monday started with a full day of Technical Rehearsals. This was our first day in our lovely, albeit highly temporary, London home, the LOST Theatre in Stockwell, and we had to work quickly. The crew met in the theatre at 10am to start rigging lights, wiring in speakers, setting up the set—basically preparing each and every technical piece that goes into a musical. After lunch, the cast arrived, got into their feathery costume and started running through the full show bit by bit. This way the tech crew had time to programme and plan for all of the different moving elements. After hours of piecing this together, the cast and crew braced themselves for the only fully complete “show-conditions” run-through before a live audience was thrown into the mix.

Day Fourteen (Tuesday)

Tuesday was the day! Our first performance in front of an audience: also known as our first of only two ‘London previews’. The crew spent much of the day finalising details of their design. The cast prepared for their first group of onlookers. As the hour neared, we took a breath and crossed our feathers… And the show went brilliantly! (See our separate blog with audience Twitter reactions.) All the elements coalesced as the final ingredient was added to the theatrical stew: the audience. With viewers in seats watching the show, the piece could finally come alive and soar.

Day Fifteen (Wednesday)

Wednesday was the night of the second and final performance at the LOST Theatre. Based on audience reactions from the night before, director Stewart Nicholls effectively incorporated a few last-minute changes before the second performance. Once again, the show shone luminously. Although the cast may have liked to have celebrated afterwards, their job wasn’t over—they needed to rest their voices and prepare to record the cast album the next morning…

Day Sixteen (Thursday)

Thursday was spent at SimG Records, where the cast recorded all of the Love Birds songs. Thankfully, there was no dancing required. However, it takes more to record an album for a show than one might think. The full musical is only one hour long, but it took more than an entire day’s work to complete the full recording. It’s a precision effort to isolate instruments, voices and sound effects in order to properly mix them all together for the optimal sound. In fact, the recording took so long that a handful of people had to return the following day in order to capture just the right sound effects.

With that, the cast and crew spent a few well-earned days off before taking a train up to Edinburgh the following Monday (and Sunday for some folks). As soon as they arrive north of the border, they will hit the ground running with more previews for Edinburgh audiences (on the 5th, 6th and 7th) leading up to the official Love Birds opening on Saturday 8 August 2015 at 12:35pm at the Pleasance Two in Pleasance Courtyard. Buy your tickets now!