We have finished our first two rehearsals for Gargoyle Garden. On Tuesday (7/15) and Wednesday, the cast met and began the long, hard work of learning the music to the show. Everyone was high-energy and enthusiastic, and we made alot of headway into the score. But, after three grueling hours on Tuesday, I could see that the cast was a bit worried about how slow things were proceeding. And, of course, they were right: it was slow going.
But that’s absolutely nothing unexpected. I’ve never attended a first rehearsal of my music where I didn’t walk away thinking, “oh my god, what was I thinking!? That was a trainwreck! I’m doomed! I’m doomed! …well, at least I won’t be the one on the stage being laughed at! I can sneak out the back…” or some such thoughts. After this first rehearsal, I was actually fairly pleased at how far along we were–especially the children–Patrick Henney (playing Edgar Allen Densmore) and Emily Bordonaro (playing Annabel Lee). The kids are so excited and so energetic. They just melt my heart–even when they make mistakes. They have more work to do than the adults have yet to do, but that’s also expected, since children take longer to “get it right” but take less time to learn it in the first place.
The rest of the cast–the adults–are in various stages of the process. Al Gillespie (singing the starring role of the Chimney-man) is re-creating his performance from two years ago, so he still has much of the music in his memory. He’s got a HUGE broadway-style voice and has tremendous stage presence. We’re lucky to have him again. He is perfect for the role in my opinion.
John Taylor (reprising his role as the villain Brother Keyes) missed the first rehearsal due to personal commitments, but came in the second night and had every note almost perfect. He’s got the music and the words memorized. And his voice has the kind of sound that could fill the grand canyon. He also plays the villain with a bit of camp, which I find rather endearing.
Elizabeth Mondragon (playing Gritchpoo, the Gargoyle) is also reprising her role from the original production. She’s the consumate pro. She can almost sight-read her entire part. And she’s funny. Not “funny for an opera/classically-trained singer”… but FUNNY by any standard.
The other two adults, Brian DePetris (Grindl the Gargoyle) and Josh Allor (Grokk, the dim-witted Gargoyle) are both new to the music. They’re both wonderful comedic talents and good singers. But, of course, they’re struggling to keep up with the folks who’ve performed the show before. I’ve reassured them that all will be well. And it will be. They’re going to be great.
The worst news for me is that our music director (and my friend and colleague) Silas Huff is headed off to Texas for a few days to work with the Round Rock Symphony. That means that I’ll have to run musical rehearsals next week. I haven’t done this kind of thing in a long, long time. I’m a bit worried about taking on such a role. I’m insecure about all this, too. I’m just no good at being demanding of performers of my own music. I want them to like me too much. I want them to like me, and, therefore, enjoy performing my music. I’m always afraid that if they think me a demanding, insensitive jerk that their performances will suffer. Unfortunately, I am often demanding. And, occasionally, I’m a jerk. Note to self: don’t be a jerk.
The good news is that I have a few days before I have to take on that task. The next two rehearsals are all Jeff’s, who is the stage director. He’ll be working on blocking and staging exclusively. It will be nice to be able to attend rehearsal without worrying about the music.
Keep checking back in for more details and thoughts. By the way, tickets to the show go on sale this Friday for $15 each. Go to the Fringe NYC homepage to purchase tickets!