Cinderella update

It’s been almost three weeks since I last posted anything. Anyone who is still checking this blog has undoubtedly concluded — quite correctly — that I’ve been so busy with work and Cinderella that I’ve had no time for blogging. When rehearsals for Cinderella started, I intended to keep up a steady stream of posts, chronicling the whole process from start to finish. And I managed to do that for a while, but eventually I lost my momentum and fell behind. So let me try to quickly bring you up to date.
In my last post on this subject, I described how week 1 of rehearsals was spent learning to sing the show’s musical numbers, and week 2 focused mostly on the dance steps. In week 3, we worked on the blocking of specific scenes, and in week 4 we put all the pieces together and began running through the whole play from start to finish. (It was at about that point that I fell behind on blogging, because run-through rehearsals mean that nobody gets the night off, so my schedule became more demanding.)
Week 6 should have been something of a breather, because we only had three rehearsals scheduled. Sunday (November 23) was a planned day off. Rehearsals were planned for Monday through Wednesday, followed by the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. But I started feeling ill on Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning I was incapacitated by flu: coughing, sneezing, fever, and aching all over. I was too sick to go to work or to rehearsal on Monday or Tuesday. By Wednesday, I was able to get up and drag myself to work for a few hours, but the Wednesday night rehearsal was canceled. (I hoped to at least do some catch-up blogging from my parents’ house over the Thanksgiving break, but that didn’t work out either. Although I was ambulatory, I was still rather sickly and spent much of the weekend in bed recuperating.)
So week 6 of rehearsals was a total loss for me. I began week 7 not having been to a rehearsal for ten days. Not good. But I managed to catch up. The week ended with a makeup workshop on Friday for those who needed it (I did, since last year’s Cinderella was my introduction to stage makeup, and I was ready for a refresher) and a music-only session on Saturday to polish our singing.
Week 7 — this week — is the big one. Tech Week. It began on Sunday with Load-In, the all-day session in which we moved the whole production (sets, costumes, props, everything) to the Fletcher Opera Theater at the BTI Center in downtown Raleigh. Monday was the first dress/tech rehearsal: we ran through the play in costumes (but without makeup) with the technical crews (sets, props, dressers, lights, sound, and orchestra) for the first time. Tuesday we added makeup to the mix, and Wednesday was another full-dress rehearsal. Last night, Thursday, was the preview performance — technically a dress rehearsal, but in front of an audience of friends and family members.
The preview performance took place in spite of a rather serious setback. When we arrived at the theatre yesterday evening, we learned that Sandi Sullivan, the actress who plays the Fairy Godmother, was in the hospital with a fever of 104 degrees. But when the same show is staged annually for twenty years, it tends to build up a local reserve of actors who have appeared in the play before and can serve as understudies for the major roles. Jo Brown, the actress playing the Wicked Stepmother, has been in Cinderella every single year, and she played the Fairy Godmother for over a decade. For the preview, she became the Fairy Godmother again, and Becky Johnston, who played the Stepmother for three years, came out of retirement to step back into the role. If the audience reaction was any indication, the performance was a huge success. Jo and Becky both handled the last-minute substitutions beautifully, and the show went incredibly well.
Tonight is opening night, the first show for a paying audience. I’ll post more as soon as I can.

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