I slipped in to one of the rehearsals of Manhattan Serenade last week and watched “renaissance man” Greg Brooks
direct, choreograph and act all at once. He would watch a scene and tweak it with directorial advice, making vast improvements, then put on his dancing shoes and dance with the actresses present. Finally, he ran a section of the play and I watched Greg in action, acting with the cast.
One funny rehearsal moment occurred when Greg tried to demonstrate a feminine sultry dance move for one of the actresses. The actresses onstage started giggling because it was so out of character for him!
The actors are off-book (all parts are memorized and they are not hanging on to scripts) and the show is taking shape nicely. The show is now in tech week and they group will run through the show, from start to finish, with few interruptions. This is so that the cast and crew can become accustomed to the flow of the show, musical introductions, and discovering their cues for entering the stage. This is the scariest part of putting on a play. Nerves are on edge because everyone is fearful of making a mistake. Luckily theater people usually have a great sense of humor, the butterflies subside with experience, and the play morphs into what the audience will see beginning next weekend.
I plan to sneak into one of the dress rehearsals this week to see how things are going. Keep your eyes out for my next post!