Post Show Wrap – Les Miserables

And so another show has come to a close.

This is late by about two weeks, but I needed some space from the experience.

Playhouse Theatre’s Season of Les Mis ran for three weeks, plus two weeks of rehearsals in the theatre, and a less intensive run of what must have been 10-12 weeks of build up prior to that. Information that has flowed back to us after closing says that the show was a solid success. Attendance was high, with the resulting box office payoff, and audiences are said to have made some very positive comments. Not bad for a show which audiences hold to such a high standard.

Musically, this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, by some distance. It also turned out to be at a difficult time of year for me. A couple of weeks out from pack-in, having acheived very little to date, I finally managed to closet myself away and get it mostly sorted. I never quite managed a flawless show, but I was really really close in the final few. To anyone who attended in the first week: sorry about that. With any luck you didn’t notice anything. I didn’t quite get there until the second week of the show.

Naturally the show had it’s ups and downs. Here’s the highlights:

Top 5 moments:

  1. Closing night: Free at last!
  2. My solo at the end of The Robbery on closing night wailed
  3. The first night that we really nailed the Attack on Rue Plumet
  4. Breaking a string on the last note of the bows, final night. Best stringbreak ever.
  5. Generally just working with such a phenomenal Orchestra and Cast.

Worst 5 moments:

  1. The night they blew up the lighting desk. That was awesome.
  2. The glare I got from our conductor coming in a bar early on one occasion in a really bad spot.
  3. The night I couldn’t even see my score at points because the crew went nuts on the smoke machine and filled the pit. Thanks guys.
  4. The missed cue at which we stopped, reversed 8 bars and started again. It’s hard to do that subtly.
  5. After about three shows, when I realised I was going to have to do this for another 13 more.

Most Amusing 5 moments:

  1.  “When that puke did that duke” from a principal. Nuff said.
  2. Dropping my guitar on Vanessa (Oboe) in mid-number and the resulting aerial leap.
  3. The endlessly amusing variations of one song or another during mic checks. It developed a serial quality from night to night.
  4. A flag waving cast member connecting with a light.
  5. The nameless person who knocked over a whole platter of silverware backstage during a particularly quiet bit.

Most exhausting moment:

  1. All the bits in between that I wasn’t sleeping.

So, in summary, this was one hell of an experience. It absorbed my whole life for around two months, outside of working hours. I now need to gradually wean myself back down off the resulting caffeine addiction.

What’s next? Well, I have been asked to do Grease in march, again at playhouse. While I am tempted, it’s quite a hike out there. Doesn’t seem to be much else on around that time, so looks like I’ll be doing it. You’d think I’d had enough retro with Fame, but I guess I could go back yet another decade.


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