Posts Tagged ‘ Lights Up Productions ’

A week in the Tower – Day 1


Day 1 of the week in the Tower began at 11.30am, arriving in the dressing room and hanging up the small collection of shirts and trousers which makes up my set of costumes for the show.  In all, I get through one t-shirt, three shirts, four pairs of trousers, two jackets, a waistcoat, a tie, a bow tie, a hat, a pair of boots and two pairs of shoes.  This requires quite a bit of organisation!  It transpired that the technical team had been there until 6am, somehow surviving on a break of about five hours.  Naturally very tired, they still continued to work hard throughout the day, which was mightily impressive.

As there were still some stage-related issues to be sorted, the cast had an extended lunch break, with our hard work beginning in the afternoon with several hours of spacing.  This meant going over and over the big dance routines, checking each and every new formation to ensure that we were all in exactly the right place in relation to the set and to each other.  For the first number, I was not required, so helped the stage crew put up some safety rails on a raised portion of the stage, but I was soon kept busy on spacing for several hours.

After a shorter meal break, we had our mics fitted and checked, and all sound issues were explained to us – exactly when each mic would come on and when it would be switched off, so that we would know when we can talk backstage and when we can’t.  Then began a stagger through of the show, stopping to deal with issues of traffic, set changes and so forth.  We didn’t make it all the way through, which is fairly normal.  The stage crew have a lot to deal with and will need a lot of help from the cast, which is fine with me.  A detailed list of which actors need to help with each set change will appear this morning.  It also became apparent that the sound guy really has his work cut out for him balancing our vocals with the amazing band.  I’m sure this is more than possible.

Today we’ll be in from 10 to 10 to work through the remaining set changes and traffic issues as well as to polish up the staging issues which we’ve not had a chance to look at.  The show is starting to gel together as a complete entity, and by the end of the day all aspects – sound, lights, set, costumes and people – should form a coherent whole.

Getting All Shook Up


Once again, I’m on countdown to show week.  In one week, I’ll be at the Tower Theatre, Folkestone, for the start of technical rehearsals for All Shook Up.  This show is an insane comedy inspired by Shakespeare (largely Twelfth Night, but with dashes of the others thrown in for fun), with a score consisting of two dozen numbers from Elvis Presley’s vast repertoire.  ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ and many more songs are merrily whirling around in my head, several freshly laundered shirts are waiting to be ironed before our first dress runs, and soon more than half of my waking hours will be devoted to the show, spent in the company of the good people of Lights Up Productions.

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Striking Midnight


In addition to racing with the clock in The Pajama Game, I am also rehearsing for another production which couldn’t be more different, at least as far as musical theatre goes.  The other project is a much more recent musical called When Midnight Strikes, a 12-character affair set on the night of the party of parties, as 1999 became 2000.  By Charles Miller and Kevin Hammonds, it features broad comedy and emotional drama as a disparate group of people gather to see in the new year and wonder whether the millennium bug will strike.  Although it has seen productions in London and New York, it was never a major hit, but certainly deserves attention, if only for the wonderful score which gives each of the characters a revealing solo or duet and features some tricky harmony work for the whole cast.

I auditioned for this show on my birthday (as you do) and was delighted to be offered the role of Chris, the host of the party who is soon discovered (by both his wife and the audience) to have recently ended an affair.  Needless to say, this leads first to a certain amount of tension and then to rather a lot of drama.    This is a very different part for me, playing someone who is extraordinarily unsympathetic who does little to redeem himself during the course of the evening.  Aside from a few barbed one-liners early in the show, this is a character who is not comedic – straight acting will be required for once.  During the second act, he has a song which will be a challenge and a privilege to sing.  Named ‘Like Father, Like Son’, it is a chance for some empathy with Chris as he delves into the reasons he has done the things he has done.  Part of the challenge is the chorus, where the same words occur three times, but mean something different each time they return.

The show is on for one night only at the Tower Theatre, Folkestone, and is produced by Lights Up Productions.  This is one of those occasions where I am the oldest cast member, but only just – it will make a change not to be either the baby or the old man of the show.  In a first for a show I’ve been involved with, a teaser trailer, filmed at an early rehearsal, has been uploaded to YouTube and can be seen below:

This is an exciting departure for me – a different group of performers, a different theatre, and a chance to really stretch the acting side of my performance in a small ensemble cast.  As we sing at the close of Act One, I can’t help thinking that “it’s gonna be a great year, ’cause from here on out it’s the sky!”

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