Rehearsals Day 9 – Will drive you Maaaaaaad!

Today has been an odd one, it has to be said. More snow traumas for everyone trying to get into rehearsals for a start. It’s tad boring now! And it really makes you yearn to be sailing away on the Azura somewhere warm…. ahhhhh.
Also,  our Ashley has moved onto a different ship (no, not ‘The Great Cruise Ship in the Sky’ – it’s not THAT serious!), so we had our Neil joining us today. Bless them both. But I guess things in life are sent to test you, so you bite the biscuit, pick yourself up, wake up and smell the coffee, knuckle down, buckle under, shake rattle and roll, and weave a tangled web. No… wait – I think I’ve mixed my metaphors somehow…
Anyway. On with the show. Rob is putting the dancers through their paces this week (well, it is the dance show after all!) and we got some time to go over stuff with Neil – as he has a week’s worth of material to catch up with. We’ve got quite a way through “Destination Dance” now, and covered a fair few dance styles already. (Shimmying-around-in-an-oversized-head” style is currently my personally favourite!)
(La, la, la, la, la, laa-la… etc. the guys having a little ‘rest’ after the Can-Can)
Our “scrunchy” vocal version of ‘A Nightingale Sang…’ will be gorgeous (when we nail the lyrics!) and the girls are gliding around behind us – almost literally – and making us look pretty, which is never a bad thing! Should be a lovely moment.
And then they up the ante when Emma & Neil and the rest of the gang with something a little more up tempo. I think we’re busy changing into Laderhosen at that point (don’t ask!)
(Neil & Emma giving us their routine)
We finished off the day with a run-through of everything we’ve done so far on this show. Quite exciting really – until it hits you how much we’ve still got to learn, as we’re only on show 2!! Eeek….

Rehearsals Day 7 – A new week – a new show!

So that’s it – we’ve moved on! Hitsville USA is in the “ongoing” pile, and our next show – Destination Dance is at the top of the agenda. (Don’t believe what hear that where the Singer’s dancing is concerned it has been nicknamed ‘dance disaster’ – that’s a cruel rumour!)

(Valerie doing what she does best!)

The Dancers have returned from their sojourn to the outer reaches of Greater London and are back from their extended weekend break. Not that we’re bitter… It’s great to have people back in the same place – Alford House was a little empty last week without them. Quieter, true, but empty nonetheless.

And today is the FIRST time the whole Azura Headliners cast has been together. Daniel has finished his Panto up in Derby (yep – it would have been a little too far for him to travel each day!) and Natalie has joined us ( – having only auditioned and got the part on Saturday… good girl!) we we’re complete. Hurrah!

And no sooner had we all met together at last – than we all scampered off our separate ways to start working on the new material; singers to your singing room; dancers to your mirrors.

(Steph takes to the stage, have done a shimmy or two with her ‘dancer boys’ [and doesn’t she love it!] and the girls join to do her number.)

There is a little less material for us singers to do in this show, as it’s the dancers’ showcase. So it’ll great to have the chance to see a bit of what they’ve been doing as well.  The show combines some classic dance music, some musical theatre, some film music and some good ‘ole Rock & Roll 🙂 We will be getting the chance to do some really exciting close-harmony work on a version of “A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square” … but we’re saving that for tomorrow!!

(The dancers get to grips with some Carnival…)
And to finish off the day, Ashley and I were put into the opening number… and forewarned about the big Brazilian Carnival costumes we will have coming our way – comedy! Shimmying to my heart’s content 🙂 I can’t wait until there are some photos of that to show you!

Rehearsals Day 6 – It’s like a Heatwave…

OK – so it’s NOT like a heatwave, it’s still blinking freezing – but anyhow!

Final day of the first week, so we’ve been adding on the choreography for a few numbers in Hitsville USA and smartening up the bits we’ve already learned.

(Here’s Charles and Sara ‘bumping’ their way through “Heatwave”)

Charles has been given a chance  to make use of his long legs, and has been taking over the mantle of ‘dancer boy’ for the girl’s numbers. Lucky him (and lucky them, of course!)

We’ll be moving onto a new show next week, which will be quite weird when it feels like we’ve only just started on THIS one! There’s still a bit more to learn, so we will no doubt be coming back to it again soon… fingers crossed!

(Sara getting the low-down on some of next week’s music from Leigh)

The Dancers have had the day off today (lucky buggers – school trip, hotel stays, exciting “off site pre-production work” (are you getting the idea with that yet?!), meals out, comedy paint effect… for some of them anyhow 😉 Sounds like lots of fun to me – when’s our trip away?

Following the now almost daily trip to Tescos (eeek – that has got to stop!) we spent some time during the afternoon working on the Smokey Robinson section, which gives Ashley the chance to do his ‘thang’.

(If you look closer it’s easy to trace the tracks of his tears, ya know!)


With a quick look at the last number, the whole show is finally coming together. It’ll be fab once we can get the last few bits sorted and try the WHOLE thing. We’ve also been working with some tracks of the original artists, which has been helpful to get the feel of the styles and rifs and ‘interpretation’ – so now we need to do our versions. I am sure they will be definitive… in one way or another!!

And yet again, to end the day, I got over excited by some of the material in the next show – Destination Dance. Admittedly the ‘dance’ bit will not be down to us so much (!) but there are some great numbers in it – and a little bit of comedy to boot… watch this space 🙂

(Charles and Sarah discussing the finer points of the Motown era…)

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 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!