Monday, July 14, 2008

Julia is covered with rats!!

Okay, so that was an intentional teaser headline. I am sitting at rehearsal and they are working the moment when Julia is chased off stage by rats. It is a fairy tale after all.

Today's rehearsal marks the beginning of our fourth week in Manila. This is our halfway point. One more week in the rehearsal space and then on to the Cultural Center of the Phillippines for 10 days of Tech, previews and finally opening night. We are in very good shape and right on schedule for a great opening.

Yesterday (Sunday) Julia and her partners in crime (the stepsisters) did a meet and greet and photo op at the Dusit Thani Hotel in costume. I'll let Julia tell you all about it but from what I observed of it, it was a hit. Sales are already looking good for our run here, which is extraordinary in that most events in Manila are not reserved in advance but on the day of performance, so a healthy advance ticket sale is especially good news here.

I realize we haven't said much about our recording studio experience. On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week we recorded the Cast album. Since this was originally conceived and produced as a televised special, the only recordings were lifted directly from the TV show. So this is the first time that a Studio Recording has been made of the cast of the show. It will be sold in the lobby at the show of course, but will also be for sale all around the world. That's a pretty big deal for this Minnesota farm boy!!

For the last 30 or so years I have been making jokes about my singing. "I may not be good, but I am loud!!" I have always felt a lack of confidence in my ability to sing. I never got the solo's in high school choir or the Musicals in high school and college. I avoided auditions for Musicals, I did not seek out further vocal training because " I am not a singer". All this because I decided that a couple of critical comments made early on discourage me from thinking that I could sing. And I loved to sing. I wanted to be Davy Jones from the Monkees when I was a kid. And I don't mean LIKE Davy Jones, I mean BE him. I traced his face off of an album cover, colored it, cut out eye holes and wore it as a mask!! I really wanted to be a singer.

So fast forward to last Wednesday. I sing on a couple of big choral numbers with the rest of the cast, I speak sing on another song that is mostly comic operetta, and then The Queen and I sing a very sweet duet called "Boys and Girls". Boys and Girls is only difficult for me because I can hear when I am off pitch or out of rhythm but I don't always know how to fix it. So here I am in the studio with Janna who plays the Queen and has an AMAZING voice, and we listen to the first playback and I am amazed at how good I sound but of course there are a few bits that need to be fixed. Enter Anxiety. But thanks to the kind and patient encouragement of our musical director Michael Duff and Gerald Salonga the Conductor, I got through it and when we were invited into the booth and sat down to hear the rough cut I had to fight back tears and say, "You sure made this farm boy sound good" It was a dream come true. I am singing on a cast album of a musical that is going to be sold all over the world. Wow!

So,at age 46 I have finally decided to stop making excuses and self deprecating jokes about it, and instead apply myself to learning how to use my singing voice. That is just the first of what I hope will be many profound transformations that I will experience on this tour. I owe a great deal of appreciation to all those who got me here, most of all Julia for getting me to audition, and Bobby, Michael and the rest of the production people who saw some potential in me that I had lost belief in long ago.


McSwain said...

That's awesome about the singing! And thank you for clarifying about the rats, 'cause Julia's status message had me kind of creeped out. I was wondering what kind of hotel you guys were in.


Otto said...

Jefferson - you rock! You also, apparently, Rogers & Hammerstein! I was where you are and have been - and it's mostly due to a lack of confidence (or having the confidence laughed or teased out of you. The best revenge is to do it and dig it - and, I suppose, be on a cast album available worldwide! So throw back those shoulders and sing, my friend! And remember - it's supposed to be fun!!

I'm quite proud of you. Love to you and Julia!