Monday, September 3, 2012

Off and Running!

The first weekend of Sweeney Todd has past, and I am amazed by the sheer quality of the show, not merely through my own observations but also based on comments attendees make in the parking lot afterwards. In a full-length show like this, a lot of little details come together for an overall success in the pit, on stage, and backstage.

From my centrally located perch in the orchestra pit, I have a good view of the audience. I look out and see old friends, important people, and thankfully, not very many empty seats. Watch people who scramble to turn their cell phones off when the announcement is made, and those who sit calmly. Hmmmm. My details for a successful and safe show include leaving my phone in my car. I don’t trust myself to remember every time, and it’s just one less thing on my mind. Other details include earplugs and baby powder. (No, not used together!) The earplugs are obvious, as the brass’s sound can be, ummm, razor-sharp at point blank range, but baby powder, you might ask? Let me tell you, Sweeney is a very pizzicato-heavy show, and towards the end of Act 1 there is a number with a bunch of high A-string pizzes that turn my right fingers into, um, mincemeat. (The A-string is the smallest diameter string, which digs into your skin the most. HIGH A-string playing shortens the string even more, so there is EVEN MORE tension on the string). I learned from playing a lot of basslines with my jazz groups, baby powder on the right index finger sure takes the, ummm, edge off of that pain. A little dab'll do ya.

Upon perusing our Sweeney book the first time, I noticed a song entitled Johanna, and one entitled Pretty Women. Immediately I thought of the Kool and the Gang song, Joanna, and wondered, jokingly, if this was the same song. Well, it isn’t. Neither is Pretty Women the same song that Roy Orbison made famous in the 60's. (That was Pretty Woman, singular). After a few times through the musical, I do notice that there is a slight resemblance, VERY slight, of the Pretty Women we play to the CHORUS of the Kool and the Gang song. Maybe it’s just a certain chord progression or something, but that’s how my mind rambles when I play in a pit orchestra.

Okay! Time to go out and enjoy the beautiful Labor Day weather! Not...

No comments: