So, what does a typical musical rehearsal look like at Ravenswood? First a snack, then the magic begins. At 4pm you'd see the student leading themselves in a drama warm up. It's a simple vocal and physical warm up that the students have been learning in class. As of right now, I could ask anyone in the show to begin warming up and they would all know what to do. It's pretty amazing. We then have a check-in period of about 5 minutes where the students ask any questions that may be on their mind about the show, as well as respond with any research they may have done for the current play.
Blocking or running come next. These are strange words that refer to the director telling the students where to stand and move on stage, and going through the scenes that we've blocked already. Theatre terms can be weird sometimes. This is the meat of the rehearsal where we make discoveries about the characters and the play. All of the really funny or interesting moments that get to the stage happen in this part of the rehearsal.
Then we finish with a reflection of the evenings events and sometimes obtain some new homework (yes, there is totally homework). This process is one that you'd be able to find at any theatrical rehearsal from Ravenswood to Broadway. So what makes our rehearsals so awesome? Quite simply, the cast.
Throughout the rehearsal process for Adventures with Young King Arthur, I had the pleasure to watch the students grow and take the musical to amazing heights that I never even expected. From the beginning the students were enthusiastic and ready to work. If I said that lines had to be memorized by a certain date, they were memorized (mostly). If I told the students to learn something new about their character before the next rehearsal, they were begging to share what they discovered. One of my favorite parts of the process was when the ensemble rehearsals began with the knights and evil minions. One of the homework assignments was to give your character a full name and history. The students came up with the best names! Sir Gutsalot and Adams Wabash stick out presently.
As the students delved deeper into their characters the show began to come to life more and more with each rehearsal. On some of the non rehearsal days I would pop my head down to Ms. Kitty's room and see the fantastic work the set crew was doing. They were always hard at work creating the props, painting the set, and generally making the show look awesome. So, day by day, we got became more and more ready for the big show day.
During the last week we added something very new to Ravenswood musicals. Our live accompanist, Mr. Tom Clear from ACM School of Music came to work with the cast and supplement the vocal work our music teacher, Debbie Sanchez, was doing. Hearing the cast sing along side the piano for the first time was absolutely magical. When I asked the students how it felt to work with live music, their eyes lit up while they exclaimed how magnificent it was. The difference was night and day, immediately. The students, cast and crew, looked unstoppable.
There were a few last minute jitters, sure. But that will always happen, and it doesn't matter. What matters is that the students involved in the play, many of them getting ready to go onstage for the irst time, were able to face whatever fear they had and keep going. It was amazing. I could not be more proud of the cast and crew of Adventures With Young King Arthur. They worked their fingers to the bone, and the end result certainly showed it.