Rehearsals Day 8 – Scrunchy

That’s a reference to our harmonies – and nothing to do with our costumes (I hope…).

We spent the bulk of today revising the work we’d started with Leigh yesterday on ‘Destination Dance’, and on our close-harmony ‘ Nightingale’ – which is going to be awesome (even if I do say so myself!). Dominic is involved in this one, with Steph, Sara and myself. So we disappeared off and learned our individual lines separately and then slowly built it up, adding each of us until we were all in the mix. And it’s fab; and tight; and scrunchy – mmmmmm!

The dancers had been working on the next number to follow the carnivalistic (I believe I may  have made that word up!) opening, which is a slightly sexier one – you’ll have to wait and see what it is. Needless to say,  Valerie is once again doing her special ‘thang’, and the boys are doing their utmost to keep it sexy. No comment.

Rob asked us to take a look at the finale of the show (which involves the stuff the dancers had been working on during their trip away… and no I’m not bitter) which will eventually involve all of us flinging our legs – but I may be foregoing the pleasure in this case, and leave it to the youngsters. We’ll see… perhaps I may be flown in for it… 🙂

For some reason, I didn’t take any snaps today – so I’ll try and remedy that tomorrow.

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 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!