Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wait, I'm confused--Is this supposed to make us feel good or something?

              After two preview performances here in San Francisco, we finally opened this evening.  Now, this is where the original Broadway revival cast had their out of town try-out only two years ago, so there is some back story here.  Basically,  they got terrible reviews--this city was not kind to them.  In fact, one of their reviews was titled, Dance:10, acting:3 (which is a somewhat clever play on the title of one of the show stopping numbers in the show, Dance: 10, Looks: 3).  So, fast-forward two years and the same production company has another go at the same city, but this time with another cast. 

             Baayork Lee, our choreographer, has been sent out here to clean us up.  Again.  So, at about 30 minutes before curtain, she has the whole cast gather on the stage for a pep talk, of sorts.  I am sure she was aiming at getting us on our game.  I am sure she was trying to rile us up in a good way.  However, that's not what happened.  She looked at us seriously and said, Company, this is a very important city for us.  Reviews in San Francisco are critical.  Tonight's show is extremely important.  I need you to be on in your turns, aware of your spacing, dancing technically, and mindful that you are at an audition.  Keep your intensity up.  You need to be amazing.  

    Oh really?  You want amazing?  Cause we've just done about 70 shows already and what we were aiming for this whole time was passable.  Just fine.  Nothing spectacular.  We didn't know our turns were supposed to be good or anything like that.  And spacing?  Was that actually set? Because we thought all those numbers your gave us was more of a suggestion, but whatever.  And this is a--how did you put it? An audition?!?! Oh, well, if only someone had made that clear.  Sigh.  We would have had a whole different take on the show.  Sigh again.  And now--now you say you want amazing?  Oh, well--gosh, why didn't you say so before?!  Okay, now we'll aim for amazing...And reviews?  Goodness, what's that?  

    Really, all sarcasm aside, to be told something that well, obvious, was a little insulting.  We are all professionals and this show is very difficult.  We do not go on stage without bringing everything that we have.  Otherwise, we just wouldn't survive; it's that simple.  We all work so hard to be on--in our dancing, our singing, our acting.  This is why we were hired.  This is what we do.  

    And afterwards, a lot of people felt that we were a little jinxed.  See, we had more technical difficulties tonight than ever before--even when were actually teching the show in Denver.  The lighting was wonky and late at points.  And the sound!  Wow.  Three different actors were trying their very darndest to sing and speak above the orchestra without the help of a microphone. Uh-huh, the board froze or crashed or something in that unfortunate vein, and left three actors very exposed on the stage.  They were pros, though, and soldiered on.  

    On a personal note, I actually had a great show.  I nailed the opening combos.  Al and I had great chemistry in our song.  I felt good in my monologue.  So, that's nice.  However, it was not our best show, technically, that's for sure.  But, that was out of our hands.  Hopefully the reviewers won't be too turned off by the technical difficulties they observed.  Hopefully they will see that we tried to tell an honest story; a story that mirrors our own lives as aspiring performers on a Broadway stage. And hopefully they will see all the years of nothing but hard work that has gotten us here.  And if not? Well, who needs them?


jason said...

just keep doing your best and pray that it's blessed and he'll take care of the rest.

Peaj said...

This reminds me of singing high notes. If you want to sing a high note, you don't reach up for the high note. If you reach up for it, you will sound like you are straining for it. Instead, you sit on the high note, you stand above it and reach down for it, you say, "This is mine, I belong up here, I own this high note." Then you aren't straining for it.

It sounds like your choreographer was saying, in effect, that you all needed to reach up (beyond yourselves, it seemed to be implied) for a great performance, when, in reality, you all have been sitting up there on top of great shows for months. I agree, it sounds like a better pep talk would have been along the lines of "you guys own this show, now show them that you know that it belongs to you."

I wonder if there was a spiritual fallout from her attitude that affected physical things during the show?

Jonathan Latshaw said...

Make my life a prayer to You,

I want to do what you want me to,

No empty words and no white lies,

No token prayers, no compromise,

I want to shine the light you gave,

jason said...

the ground opened up and ate some of them for lunch.

....that golden cow.

KathieK said...

I like PJ's pep talk better. Maybe he can fly out there and actually encourage you, instead of bringing you down and causing to second-guess yourselves.

Jessica Latshaw said...

thanks for those insights, Peaj!

jase and jonathan--uh, thanks? any more Keith Green lyrics you guys can quote at me?

Peaj said...

Gee, I thought I had left a comment on the wrong post, what with all the Keith Green stuff.

Anonymous said...

my first keith green lyric was VERY appropriate.

KathieK said...

Jase, why are you anonymous? Jonathan, is that really you...or is it Charis or Selah?

Anonymous said...


I am anonymous so I can say nasty rotten things and no one will know I said it!


KathieK said...

"my first keith green lyric was VERY appropriate."

Yes, Jase, I can see why you would not want anyone to know you made this comment! ;-)

Anonymous said...


I thought KATHIE Krakowski was the person who asked why you were anonymous! Who is "KATHY"?