Rehearsals Day 5 – Reach out for Meeeeeee!!

Us boys got done with Stevie’s section this morning (that’s Stevie Wonder to you and me), in a suitably macho way… well, as macho as we could muster on a Friday morning 🙂 and then we all hunkered down upstairs with Leigh (our MD) to hammer out some more harmonies.
(Some serious (!) work around the paino…)
It’s all very well us thinking we’d learned certain sections just because we vaguely knew the steps and could sing-along, a la Karaoke. But no – we really DIDN’T know them very well at all.
Along with a little uncertainty with the harmonies ran a wee touch of uncertainty over the TUNE of some songs as well.
(“Are you really SURE that’s a G#?”)
It’s a case of hearing the tune from one line in the chorus; thinking “Oh, I know that one…”; then trying to actually sing it and realising what you know was just that – one line of the chorus! Hey ho. All part of the process I guess. It’s great really though, as it means we’re spending time listening to some great classic tracks, which is no real hardship.
Following a quick trip out for lunch, we finished off the last bits of harmony – so in theory we’ve learned it all now. In theory. Wait and see what the revision session tomorrow brings to light!
And of course, as it’s Friday night, we thought it best we pop over to the “local” for a quick drink after rehearsals. Mine was a quick drink, but I left Jerry, Sara and Charles in the Pub… where they may well still be for all I know!
And we’re planning to get t-shirts printed with our respective ‘gender’/’number’/’pertinent comment’ emblazoned on the front… mine would currently be “Boy 1 – I’m smokin'” (don’t ask!), Ashley could be “Boy 2 – Tango” (a visual gag more than anything…) and Charles would be “Boy 3 – [something not to be written on my blog!]” But we’ll see….

Rehearsals Day 4 – Signed, Sealed, Delivered

With More Snow. More late trains. More Dancing. More Singing. Apart from the first two, what more could you want from a day!

With the dancers away on their “pre-production” mission (- don’t ask me about it, because if I told you I’d have to kill you! -) we had Alford House to ourselves today, and got down to it straight off the bat. Most of the material we’d worked on during Tuesday had stuck… with just a few ‘pointers’ needed from Jerry & Sarah.
(Ashley & Charles discuss the finer points of Motown, whilst Sara and Sarah bevel their socks off as the Supremes)
Steph & Sara took over the mantel as they ‘became’ the Supremes for their section, so we boys hid away in another room and howled through the new BVs and harmonies we’d got yesterday. Perhaps ‘howled’ is a little unfair 🙂 To give the girls a breather, and Steph the chance to head off to be a wicked queen, the boys began making friends with Mr Stevie Wonder’s material on the dance floor. I’m sure he’d be impressed!!

Slightly scary is the fact that we only have 2 days left this week, and will need to have basically completed work on Hitsville USA, to be ready to move on to your “next” show on Monday. But exciting too, as it means a whole load more new material to work on. Bring it on, I say.

Oh – and although this won’t mean much to many of you, today – for the record:
Ashley: “No way”
Jerry: “Ask me again in 6 months”

I’ll explain this another time!

Rehearsals Day 3 – Stormy Weather

Clearly that’s not a reference to the title of a song we’re doing, or with any internal cast politics and more a reference to the fact that half the company struggled to get into rehearsals today… the snow is pretty enough, but a pain when you’ve got routines to learn!

(Our rehearsal space – Alford House… pre-snow!)

More work on Hitsville USA today, with some consolidation of our dance learned from yesterday (and yes – we pretty much remembered all of it… we even ran it WITHOUT mirrors….ooooh!) and then heading on into the mass of BVs (backing vocals) we’ll be doing as well. Cool 🙂

Us singers were left along today as the dancers headed off to do some ‘off site pre-production work’. Which is a way of me saying “I’m not telling you what they were doing”! Suffice to say it’s just another part of one of the exciting staging pieces that will be in our shows. Plenty more where that came from as well it seems.

Sadly, as Steph is still working hard as the Wicked Queen in “Snow White” at the Thameside Theatre (you can still catch it if you hurry!) and had to dash off early, she missed out on a little preview the producers gave us of the set drawings for the stage in the Playhouse Theatre onboard. They looked awesome, and I can’t wait to see how it looks ‘in the flesh’ when we get to Italy.

Fingers crossed the weather gets no worse and we can actually carry on learning the stuff to put ON the stage!

Rehearsals Day 2 – Dancing up a storm

I must admit to being a little but “achy” this evening, following a good solid day of dancing. OK – maybe even more than a little bit, but it’s a good ‘ache’. Clearly my “youthful” outlook on life is not one shared by my ageing body! But it’s all good exercise, so I can’t complain.

(Here’s Steph taking a bit of a breather…)

We spent the best part of today working with Jerry (one of the choreographers who is working on the shows with us) on the first section of one of our ‘singers’ shows “Hitsville USA“. It’s a FAB collection of songs from the 60s & 70s with a Motown influence- with some stuff from the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas, and a whole load more to boot.

We revised our vocal stuff first thing just to get our heads back into what we’re learned yesterday. Yes, it may LOOK like sitting around, texting, gossiping etc., but it was in fact singing! Honest 🙂

(Charles giving us his “Buttercup” while Ashley & Sarah look on…)

There’s plenty of the show still to learn, but we got through the first medley of songs, with a fair amount of dancing for a group of “singers”! I even managed to get appointed “Funk Dance Captain” – who’d have thought… if you want the proof, you’ll have to come onboard and see the show 😉

(Ashley & Charles holding court … discussing lyrics no doubt!) 

So – it’s a hot bath tonight I think, as there may be a whole load more of the same tomorrow. And then another 7 shows to learn after that… easy. Bring it on!

Rehearsals Day 1 – Over Excited!

Which is exactly how I felt as we were talked through the array of shows we will be doing onboard the Azura from April!

Today was the 1st day of rehearsals, and – a la the first day of school – we all gathered in the playground….ok, the green room – and introduced ourselves, compared mutual friends, discovered jobs we’d all done etc. and all this whilst being filmed for the documentary that is being prepared of the whole process.

Once all together, we had an little “introduction” to our rehearsal space, the choreographers and MD we’ll be working with, and then we were shown some little snippets of material for our onboard shows – which is where it really got exciting!

Not only does Azura boast an 850-seater, two-tiered theatre, it will be fully equipped with all the latest technology, so the shows can include all the staging effects you would expect to see in a West End theatre – and more.

There are a number of shows that are more dance-based, and a couple which are more singing-based so today the dancers focussed on one of their shows, and the singers set about learning our songs for our Motown show. It should be a good ‘un! This one will be performed in the lounge (we get to perform in the theatre, in the lounge and also up on deck on the outdoor stage around the pool – how cool is that!)

I’ve spent the evening pouring over my lyrics and music to start the process of getting it all in my head – wish me luck!

Bright eyed & bushy tailed…

Well, it’s early in the morning and I’m heading down to London for the 1st day of rehearsals – and really looking forward to it.

It seems an age ago that I did the auditions, and since then we’ve had contracts to sign, forms to complete, itineraries to check through… but now I guess the real stuff starts.

In addition to a generally “excited” feeling, I had the added bonus of hearing last week that my friends and colleagues in The WestEnders will be joining the ship during it’s maiden voyage, so that is going to be one fun cruise!

So. Pencil in hand. Leg warmers in place – off we go!