On Saturday, Robby and I spent the day at Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston hearing our songs and scenes performed by a completely new group of kids and adults. It was a fantastic day, and for all you writers out there developing your musicals, I can't recommend doing something like this enough. We learned so much from one day of work with these talented individuals.
Here's how our day went:
11:00 - 11:45 - We worked with our Vita, Marjorie and Richard on their solo pieces (One of those Days, Letters, The Face)
11:45 - 2:00 - We worked with ten additional young performers (most of them had been orphans in Wheelock's recent production of Annie), and Russell Garrett (who is in Wheelock's current production of The Secret Garden) on four songs and scenes.
2:00-3:00 - Lunch, fun, cast bonding.
3:00-5:00 - We all stayed and watched Wheelock's beautiful production of The Secret Garden.
5:00-6:00 - Pizza, fun, bonding.
6:00-8:00 - We put all the scenes and songs together in a "reading" format and ran them.
8:00 - Showtime! We shared this mini-performance of Helen with friends and family.
So what did we learn?
1. Actors (young and adult) really enjoy performing our material and singing our songs. The respond to it and that makes them perform it really beautifully without a lot of rehearsal time.
2. Audiences respond to this material. We shared just a quarter of this show with a completely different audience who had little knowledge of this show, and they loved it.
3. The show works with all types and levels of performers and doesn't require anything but chairs and a space to be moving, interesting and enjoyable to watch.
And wait until you see the video I'm going to post tomorrow. You would think that we had been rehearsing with this group for weeks! They jumped in, committed to the material and brought it to life beautifully.
Our deepest thanks to all of the young talents who participated in this workshop, Russell Garret for jumping in and being a hilarious Mr. Dodd, and Jane Staab who welcomed us to Wheelock, gathered together this exceptional group of actors, coordinated all the details with me and the cast, and who continues to bring meaningful, high-quality, family-friendly theatre to diverse audiences throughout the greater Boston area.
If you live in the Boston area, I encourage you to check out what's happening at Wheelock Family
Theatre. It's a very special place.
Check out the photos from our day at Wheelock here. And pop back in tomorrow to see the video!