What Goes Into Staging a New Musical?: Rehearsal Diary Week Two

Film crew, band and actor John Guerrasio converge on sitzprobe day: as captured by cast member Ruth Betteridge
Film crew, band and actor John Guerrasio converge on sitzprobe day: as captured by cast member Ruth Betteridge

Film crew, band and actor John Guerrasio converge on sitzprobe day: as captured by cast member Ruth Betteridge

In the second instalment of the Love Birds rehearsal diary, we see the show start to really come together (click here for week one). Production assistant Adam Niemann chronicles the events of the second week as the tireless cast and crew assemble a full-scale musical.

Day Seven (Monday):

After a well-deserved day off, the cast and crew jumped right back into the swing of things. Director Stewart Nicholls and the cast spent much of the day blocking the smaller scenes and songs. Costume designer Gabriella Slade joined us for the second half of the day for costume fittings with the female actors in the cast (Anna Stolli, Joanna Sawyer and Ruth Betteridge). The ladies are looking great in their plush plumage!

Once the cast knocked off for the day, Stewart, Gabriella, producer Kat Portman-Smith and other members of the production team met in the evening to discuss all manner of show logistics, including the price of stage carpeting.

Day Eight (Tuesday):

On Tuesday the rehearsal room was buzzing with people. Writer Robert J Sherman returned from California after unveiling his new song, “Disneyana!” He and music arranger Richard Healey sat in on rehearsals and provided some musical notes. All the while, the cast pushed to finish blocking the show to completion. And in the midst of all this work, filmmaker David Coleman was recording footage in order to show off this song, this dance and this interview.

Day Nine (Wednesday):

After all of the blocking was finished, we spent the day working through the whole show from beginning to end. This gave the cast a chance to review all of the work done so far and fine-tune it with both the director and the writer in the room.

Day Ten (Thursday):

Thursday was exciting; it was our first full run-through of Love Birds! We all started to get a sense of how this musical pieces together and what the production will ultimately look like. After successfully completing the first run, director Stewart Nicholls reviewed with the actors any trouble spots that needed work.

Day Eleven (Friday):

Another run-through on Friday, the cast then reworking with even more attention to detail. We got to a place where we could get a sense of the full tone of the show. After the run, the costume designer returned for costume fittings with the male actors (John Guerrasio, Greg Castiglioni, George Knapper, Jonny Purchase, Rafe Watts and Ryan Willis). Sound designer Andy Hinton also joined us to record some voice-overs for the show while designer Gabriella Slade and her team worked hard to finish costumes and props for the show.

Day Twelve (Saturday):

Saturday may have been the most hectic day yet! We started the day with a sitzprobe—or band call—in which the cast had the opportunity to sing for the first time with the band (Neil MacDonald, James Pritchard and Marcus Pritchard). And David Coleman showed up again with his fill film crew! What a fine reminder of the impressive number of people that it takes to mount a full-scale new musical.

Two weeks down. Now we have one day of technical rehearsal, two London previews and a cast recording–then we open in Edinburgh!