Singin’ in the Rain blog from our cast & crew members

Throughout Singin’ in the Rain, one of our cast or crew has been submitting a piece about how it’s all going from a back stage perspective – the first blog being written way back in January when rehearsals began. They’ve talked about why they were involved, who they were and anything else relevant to share. The final blog has been written after the final two shows and the after show party. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading them and they’ve given you a different take on the show. We’ve had fun writing them.

Week 22 , Saturday 13 June

I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to write the final blog for BMT’s production of Singin’ in the Rain, having been an integral part of the show. But firUmbro Montagestly I should introduce myself. I am Umbro – the show MascoUmbro2t and have played the part of the Umbrella, as used by Don Lockwood (played by Chris Holmes) in the title song.

I joined the society especially for this show, having been recruited by Rebecca Wilson (Zelda Zanders) and wish to thank everyone at BMT who have made the last few months so exciting.  I was amazed to be picked as the mascot for the show and have thoroughly enjoyed my role.  It is the first time I’ve been involved in a theatre production, but it’s been a busy one.  Prior to joining BMT I had been busy keeping people dry on golf courses (being a Golf umbrella) and frequently for large groups of people.  My challenge for the stage was to fit into a smaller costume. (I was fortunate to get to be black, burgundy and blue for the finale songs on different performances)

I have had some fanIMG_20150613_214654894_HDRtastic experiences and met some lovely people.  The cast have made me so welcome and I have become especially close to Liz Wilson (the Musical Director, pictured), who let me in the pit every night for the bows.  As well as being in the show, I have been busy out and about doing Mascot duties – popping up (literally) at various locations and throughout East Yorkshire, Kingston upon Hull and further afield – including a trip to London. (As pictured in the montage).

The final two shows were brilliant – well attended and some great responses from the audience.  The cast and crew worked their magic along with the musicians and front of house team.  I got to meet my alleged number one fan at the stage door (Anne Hopwood, who’d travelled from Cheshire to see me (pictured)and I was even interviewed (see the FacebookIMG_20150613_163849206_HDR


page)!  I must say on behalf of everybody thanks to all of you who have supported us by coming to see the show – we hope you all enjoyed it and feel free to leave reviews on our Facebook page.

So with the show finished I now have to decide what to do next?  Should I try and find a touring version of the show- though I feel it wouldn’t be up to BMT’s quality.  Maybe a holiday to relax after these frenetic months.  I will certainly need work and I’ve looked into training courses to upgrade my skills as I thought I could try out for Barnum! Whatever I do next it will be hard to find something that will give me the buzz I got from Singin’ in the Rain with BMT!!  But now I’m going back to nurse this hangover from last night’s after show party!

Hoping you’ve enjoyed all the blogs and to see you at Panto  – 2-6 December at Beverley Memorial Hall – tune in late August/early September for more details.

 

 

Week 22 – Friday 12 June – Alison Roberts, Props

Week 22 , Friday 12 June

Night four of the show and we here from back stage as Alison Roberts, who is responsible for props, gives a literal behind the scenes take on 25 years of supplying those small but essential parts of the show, how it’s all calmer now the show is four nights in and how making tea is also an essential part of the show!

Hello. My name is Alison (Roberts) and I do the props for the society. This means all the small stuff which hasn’t come under the scenery or costume ‘umbrella’ (excuse the pun!)  Every production has its own set of challenges in order to fulfil the requirements of the director (no mean feat when it’s the visionary Mark Daniels!), but that is what makes the job so interesting.

I got involved with back stage work about 25 years ago, when Hessle did “South Pacific”, a new work colleague being their props person at the time.  I also met my good friend, Hilary Swann for the first time (the first of many good friends – and always room for one more).  I had been a regular theatre goer but had not really given much thought as to how productions came into being.  What an eye-opener!  I was fascinated from the start and still continue to be amazed at how all the disparate parts come together to make a cohesive whole.  I have worked with several local societies over the years, but Beverley (BMT) has been a constant since 1993 (coincidently also ‘South Pacific’), gradually taking over from Barrie Hastings and learning a lot from him in the process.

When it comes to sourcing stuff for a production then I’m happy if I know I already have at least some things in stock.  After that it is  a case of creating or cobbling together, applying the beg/borrow/steal approach and constantly trawling all the charity shops in what Alison Rseems the entire galaxy!  All nowadays done in semi retirement.  Anything of an arty/crafty nature I’m happy to faff about with.  Sewing I’m less keen on and utterly useless when it comes to technology.  Even this blog has been handwritten!  (The webmaster typed it up as opposed to scanning in the hand written version!)  However, I have the support of a brilliant back stage team which, in turn, supports a very enthusiastic society and I really appreciate all the help I get.

Once the props are assembled I need to be organised so that I know who needs what,  where and when.  It all seems so simple, on paper!  Although it is possible for some props to be available at rehearsals, usually, as with the scenery, dress rehearsal is the only opportunity to find out if everything is completely workable.  As a performance week progresses then routines develop end occasionally it’s possible to relax and enjoy what’s going on!  This week has been such an occasion and Friday’s show saw the back stage crew comment how clam it was, with props in the right place and the cast less frantic having worked out their timings between scenes with the reality of how long it takes to get changed etc.  This all coupled with a great response from the audiences we’ve had.

There is always the possibility of being grabbed to help with a costume change or a bit of scenery changing and most definitely never a dull moment.  Tonight’s less dull moment being a loud crash near the end of act one when a piece of scenery dropped too quickly without the usual support.   Of course, it’s occasions like this that can lead to things getting fraught, tempers a little frayed and I will moan and chunter and witter on with the best of them (as my wonderfully thoughtful and patient stage manager, aka Butt man* , John Stones, knows only too well!).  These times (and tonight’s incident as an example) are vastly outweighed by the sheer fun and satisfaction of achieving a splendid production – borne out in the continued great reviews we’ve had again tonight.

As a PS I would add there is one vitality important aspect to my job and that is the provision of tea/coffee and biscuits at regular intervals to keep the rest of the crew functioning at optimal efficiency levels! (and thanks to Hilary for her help with this too).

PPS – and finally, very finally, a question – where will the chicken be this time???  Get to the show Saturday to have a chance of finding out!

*BBC Look North featured the show on opening night (Tues 9 June) and at the end of the item, Peter Levy (Newscaster) referred to John Stones as “Butt man”

 

Week 22 – Thursday 11 June – Russell & Hannah Fallon – Policeman and back stage

Week 22 , Thursday 11 June

At half way through the six shows, Russell Fallon (and wife, Hannah), bring us up to speed on how the show is going as well as being the “Rent-a-cop” and helping out backstage in between teaching people to drive or teaching those of a primary school age – read on for more!

RENT A COP IS BACK, with his wife (rent a wife)

My name is Russell Fallon and this is my 4th show with Beverley Musical Theatre . The first being Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls way back in 2007.  Since then I’ve done South Pacific, in which I was a Cart wheeling sailor, and a cameo cop in Annie.  After hearing that BMT were to do Singin’ in the Rain, (and knowing I’ll never learn to tap this decade), I knew the only way I could tick off another box on my imaginary bucket list for being in the rain scene  was to, once again, don the policeman’s outfit.  So I begged and begged Mark (the director) to let me come be cop again.  His one stipulation was I had to bring my wife (Hannah) to help out back stage.  (see more later) At first I thought I’d rather leave it, but after a bit of thought I decided to ask her.  Luckily, after just three seconds of asking, she said yes!

When not on stage with BMT, (or Hessle, Hornsea, Goole or One Off Productions), I’m a driving instructor for Bill Plant Driving School.  I’m in Into the Woods in July at Hull Truck and then back to Hull New Theatre for White Christmas in November . But back to Singin’ in the Rain! Russ & Hannah

So far the week has gone swimmingly.  I’m loving helping back stage when I’m not rent a cop.  (A name developed for me as I’ve done three cop parts this year alone …..so far and am a Captain in the picture with Hannah).  I’m also, as mentioned, getting to spend time with my wife –  a novelty these days.  My highlight of the week so far has been being part of the thousand strong team of dressers, makeup artists, hair stylists and general minions to Mandy (playing Lina Lamont) and her seemingly million quick changes . Thursday night saw us two crew members down, but with extra help from cast members and crew alike it was actually the smoothest show yet . A highlight being David “Hugh Grant” Press’ hunt for a plank during a very quick costume change for our lead, Chris ……..let’s say David quickly realised Chris wasn’t able to help him find the correct piece of wood!

It’s great to see so many faces I recognise from over the years still supporting Beverley and enjoying being in such a fun and busy show . But also to meet some new faces Tom Agnew (Cosmo Brown), Ellie Hutrchinson (Kathy Seldon) and Alice Buckenham (Chorus & lady in waiting), to name a few.  I hope the audiences keep enjoying the show as the first few night’s have. It’s got some great songs , two of my favourites being Moses Supposes and You are My Lucky Star – both performed brilliantly in this show, I have to say!

Hi all, I’m Hannah Fallon, aka rent a wife.   I have been a part of Beverley Musical Theatre since 2008, joining to be part of the chorus for My Fair Lady.  I am also a part of Hornsea Amateur Theatre, One Off Productions and a primary school teacher . In recent years I have been less and less on stage but more and more back stage helping out where I can with set and quick costume changes. I love the show week and the excitement and camaraderie  that comes along with it.  My only wish now is that I could get on the stage more- if only I had more time and less work, that might be the case!  The guys put in so much time over months and months to get to this polished level  the set is amazing and I am still amazed at how we manage to get it to rain every night on cue with very minimal ” splashage ” – even if it means I have to see rent a cop take all the limelight !

This show is a must see with great cast and crew,  If you are free Friday or Saturday night (matinee as well Saturday) come see this brilliant show at Hull’s iconic New Theatre (before the theatre shuts down for 2016 and a refurbishment) . Bring your brolly and if you don’t have one you can buy them in the foyer ! See you there this week.

Russell aka Rent-a-cop & Hannah (rent-a-wife)

 

Week 22 – 12 June – David Press, chorus

Week 22 , Wednesday 10 June

Performance two and chorus member and newcomer, David Press, talks about how it’s been received as well as his experience of being a newcomer to Hull New Theatre, learning tap dance to complement his ballroom dancing and more.

Hi everyone! I’m David Press, another newcomer not just to the group but to Musical Theatre in general and I’ve had a blast performing for the first time alongside the ladies and gents of Beverley Musical Theatre. I moved to the area with work (an IT company making university database software in Hessle) and have gone for a shorter haircut since the picture! I’ve always loved singing along to songs when walking or David Pcycling, getting the odd perplexed look from fellow pedestrians, but I’ve never done so as part of such a large group or in front of an audience before so, as you can imagine, I was pretty nervous about auditioning. However, when I heard BMT was staging a production of Singin’ in the Rain, with all its great song and dance numbers, I knew I had to try out; and was thrilled to be invited to join the chorus.

It’s been great having the chance to work on my singing with a group of such lovely people, both in rehearsals, sing-alongs and various events we’ve been doing to promote the show. I even got the chance to dress up as a musketeer and try out some fencing when we filmed some scenes from the show’s film-within-a-film “The Royal Rascal” over at the lovely house and grounds of Burton Constable Hall.  I don’t think I’ll be giving Errol Flynn a run for his money but I had a great day out with Chris (Holmes, playing lead, Don Lockwood) and the others, and we’re really pleased how the footage came out.

I’m also really into dancing and was very pleased to discover that the very talented Chris Holmes somehow finds time to teach a beginner tap class on Thursday evenings. I’d done some ballroom previously after getting into it at university but tap was another new experience for me, and I had a great time clattering about and stamping up a storm with some of my fellow Beverley-ites every week. We’ve all improved a lot under Chris’s tuition and one of us even got the honour of being invited to join Chris on-stage for the big title number, so keep an eye out for Marjie Pickering in wet weather gear and tap shoes once the heavens open at the end of Act 1.

Going on-stage at Hull New Theatre was a pretty daunting prospect to someone so relatively new to performing, but everyone worked really hard to make it a smooth transition. Our great wardrobe and makeup team helped get us all ready to go on stage and I’m especially indebted to Anne Start, who gave me a ton of advice getting all my 20’s-era costumes sorted. All the rehearsing really paid off and meant all we had to do once the dress rehearsal arrived was get used to the stage and scenery. Seeing everyone in their wonderful costumes and all the hard work our stage crew has put into props and scenery has really tied everything together and encouraged us to give our all on stage.

We are two shows into the run and it’s really great how well things have gone so far. I’d heard beforehand that dress rehearsals can be pretty tricky but everything went very smoothly on the Monday night with only a few minor glitches from getting used to the stage, and opening night went brilliantly with a packed house and great reaction from the audience. Now after our second performance I can say we’ve only improved from that starting point, using our experience and nightly feedback from our excellent director, Mark Daniels, to make sure each night of the run is better than the last.

I’ve had a really great time performing for the first time with BMT, so if any of you have an interest in singing or dancing I strongly recommend taking the plunge and trying your hand at musical theatre. I didn’t fully realise how vibrant the arts scene in the area was until joining up with BMT and it’s been a real pleasure to have all these new experiences among such a friendly and supportive group of people. “Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face!”

 

 

Week 22 – Tuesday 9 June, opening night – Nichola Wiley, chorus & social media

Week 22 , Tuesday 9 June – opening night

Opening night and Nichola Wiley, who has joined BMT this year in the chorus, shares how the opening night went as a Hull New Theatre first timer. Nichola also talks of how she got involved with the society, new friends, ligament injuries and being the fingers behind twitter.

Hello humans! My name is Nichola Wiley and I am one of the chorus members in this year’s production of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. This is my second production with Beverley Musical Theatre since joining up for last year’s pantomime ‘Babes in the Wood’. Having moved from Bradford to Hull in the last 18 months, I wanted the opportunity of making some new friends and my parents suggested I go back to my old roots of performing. I have made some amazing friends since joining the society and love the constant lauNicholaghter and fun we all have at each rehearsal. I was approached one evening after a rehearsal to become a member of BMT’s main committee and help do the publicity for upcoming shows and events through social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. How could I refuse?

I am a qualified beautician during the day and specialise in ‘Pamper Parties’. This constitutes me and my business partner, Amy, carrying out different types of treatments and organising events that are an alternative way for people to celebrate their special occasions. During my spare time I volunteer as a police officer (Special Constable) with the West Yorkshire Police Force. I have been in post eight years and have many interesting tales that I could tell but I’m sworn to confidentiality, tee hee! I come from a very musically gifted family. My mother has toured in many different productions and I used to accompany her to many rehearsals from a young age. Now that I’m back to being involved in theatre, my own daughter now accompanies me. It’s history repeating itself. I’ve spent numerous hours chaperoning my own children, back stage, through various dance festivals and productions.

So the show week is finally upon us! Tonight was the opening night and the atmosphere was amazing, adrenaline was pumping, having settled in to my dressing room. This is my first ever show at the Hull New Theatre and I’m so overwhelmed with excitement. Finding my way to the stage from my dressing room through the labyrinth of corridors, the size of the stage, the dark corners, scenery stacked up everywhere; all these elements fill me with a nervous excitement. Trying to find the correct costume for each different scene and having to try to remember dance routines whilst nursing torn ligaments in my knee and having to have my own personal dresser, dressing me in the wings certainly has been a challenge but still fills me with an infectious delight. My two very good friends, Richard (Dexter Roscoe) and Rebecca (Zelda Zanders), have been helping me learn the ropes backstage, with me being a New Theatre Newbie – but we’ve been split up because we can’t be trusted together as we are far too naughty!

The reviews have been really positive and the laughs and response from the audience really helped boost everyone’s confidence.  There has been a real sense of friends helping out friends amongst all the cast. These people, from all walks of life, for this week, have become my family. I’m honoured to be part of this amazing adventure and have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I hope you enjoy watching this show as much as I have being a part of it. It’s never too late to follow your dreams. As my Father has always told me “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, you only get one shot at it, so enjoy life to the full.”

Take care out there humans and I’ll see you all at the next show!

Nicci x

 

Week 22 – Fri-Mon (5-8 June) – Alice Buckenham, Chorus & lady in waiting

Week 22 , Friday – Monday (5-8 June)

Show week starts with Alice Buckenham, fan of all things purple, who has lines with a mic for the first time and part of the chorus. Alice reviews how the final few rehearsals have gone and how her love of dance and family led her to join the society.

Hi! My name is Alice Buckenham and I am a member of the chorus for this year’s production of Singin’ in the Rain. This will be my third main show after rejoining for Sound of Music in 2012. I have previously starred with the society as Polly Plughole in Robinson Crusoe pantomime in 2007 at Beverley Memorial Hall, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I have been involved in the theatre arts from around 8 years old where I learned ballet, tap and jazz and was part of Stagecoach Theatre Arts School on a Saturday morning, where I have been part of the choir in the touring production of ‘Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat’ at Hull New Theatre three times. I still remember every word! I have a BA (Hons) in Dance Studies from Liverpool John Moores University and my original hope was to become a musical theatre dancer in the West End but to be truthfully honest, I’m extremely family orientated and don’t like being away from them too much. Now I work at East Riding of Yorkshire Council where I love my job to bits (honestly!) and I’m happy getting my buzz from two shows a year with the Society.

In my spare time I’m also a BAlicerownie Leader (known as Tawny Owl) for 4th Beverley St Mary’s Brownies and I love it! (My picture is me from a few weeks ago at a Brownie meeting with an external visitor holding a Giant African Land Snail!) I’m doing a Leadership Qualification which means that once I’ve completed it, I can run a unit myself. I have a brilliant friendship/working relationship with my Brown Owl and a planning meeting for the term usually takes about 3 hours as we have so many ideas that we want the girls to do! The girls all know I enjoy being on stage and have been to see me in several productions including Sound of Music and several pantomimes where they love getting on stage and joining in the singing!

I’m very excited for Singin in the Rain for several reasons. The first is because I actually get to dance! Chris Holmes (our Don Lockwood) has choreographed our big numbers and I think he’s done a fabulous job. The second is because this year Mark Daniels (our Director) has given me lines and a microphone!! I’ve never had a microphone before so I’m nervous as well. The third reason is because I get to wear my favourite colour – Purple – and not just once but twice!! Ask any of our cast members and they will tell you I turn up to every rehearsal wearing some form of purple! I fell in love with a (purple) dress that someone had brought in to use for our ‘Beautiful Girl’ sequence. In January I decided I wanted to lose weight and when I saw this dress I knew I had to wear it. However it didn’t quite fit so week by week I tried it on until eventually it fitted perfectly – now it’s too big! As of show week I am 2lbs away from losing 1.5 stone!

On Friday, Mark requested an extra rehearsal. It was to be a technical rehearsal and if anybody needed to ask anything this was the time. Sunday was our dress dress rehearsal as we run the show with our costume changes at our rehearsal space – after the orchestra have had their first call in the morning so the principals can hear how the music will sound with more than just a piano. For this show this is very important as Liz Wilson (our musical director), has told us how intricate the score is and the music can sound different from what we have been used to over the past few months. Monday was our big dress rehearsal at the theatre and the first time we have all seen the set. This rehearsal is run exactly as a show and is very exciting as we can see everything finally coming together.It’s the only time the back stage crew get to rehearse, giving them a challenge after they’ve set the Theatre up all day Monday and Sunday.   It highlighted a few last minute adjustments  from problems that cannot be foreseen until the set is involved. However, these are quickly resolved so for those at opening night it will run without  a glitch!  There’s still a chance to get your tickets so don’t miss out!

 

Week 21 (31 May) – Richard Gorton playing Roscoe Dexter

Week 21 (31 May)

Our lead from last year’s show, Richard Gorton, who will play camp director, Roscoe Dexter, talks of his attention seeking behaviour that led him into both amateur and professional acting as well as how the final week in the run up to the show is going.

G reetings & salutations, I’m Richard Gorton and in this year’s production of ‘Singin’ in The Rain’ I’ve somehow found myself press ganged into the role of Roscoe Dexter, the rather camp film director. It’s a great character part and gives me the chance to play a nice little fun cameo role. This is my third outing with BMT, having performed as Billis in ‘South Pacific’ and the lead role of Tevye in last year’s BMT show ‘Fiddler on the Roof’.

Billy Shakespeare once wrote ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exitRichards and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”  This quote I feel, more than any other, sums up my love for performing but also probably my life as a whole.

I started acting at the tender age of five, when I got the lead role of Joseph in the school nativity. I thought this was brilliant because rehearsing it meant I got out of maths lessons and I had a crush on the girl who played Mary. I obviously wowed the critics with my performance as I was then relegated to playing the part of a lady elephant in the school production of The Jungle Book. I was always the class clown at school, and would constantly annoy the teachers by being the one that made students laugh to get attention. This over confidence pushed me towards the local am-dram society and I’ve been hooked ever since. Over the years I’ve performed in far too many shows to mention for societies all across the county. For a while, my friend and I were a double act called ‘Bat & Ball’ and would entertain holiday makers at various caravan parks and functions. We updated our act to more adult comedy, calling ourselves ‘Slap & Tickle’ and toured theatres in the North of England, performing with such showbiz legends as Jim Bowen, Basil Brush and Sooty!

My love of acting, led me to doing my degrees in Drama and Media at Hull University. This led to a jobs such as Broadcast Journalist at the BBC as well as Media Arts Project Manager and Multimedia tutor within education. I also enjoy ‘dipping my toe’ into the world of professional acting, playing parts in TV and film including Casualty, Doctors, CBBC, Get Santa and Emmerdale. I often seem to end up playing the role of a vicious thug or inmate. No idea why…

This is now the nerve-wracking final rehearsals week, putting the final touches together, ready to perform the show next week. Things can get a little….shall we say ‘fraught’, as there are so many elements in bringing a show of this magnitude to the New Theatre. Costumes that don’t quite fit, wigs that itch, trying to remember lines, tap routines, song lyrics or just simply where you left your umbrella last. Plus where on earth do you store 10,000 litres of water for the famous rain scene? Mark, our director, must really be feeling the pressure building right now and that’s just from me constantly showing off.

Although the Show, in all its glory (and it will be absolutely fantastic) will be seen as the most important part of this journey, it’s actually the strong bond of friendships formed through participation in these productions that keeps me coming back time and time again. I love all these people, from their little quirks, (Nichola’s selfie obsession) idiosyncrasies’ (Rebecca’s love of wigs, wine and wardrobe) and eccentricities (just Mark (Director), Liz (Musical Director)  & Chris (Lead as Don Lockwood/choreographer) in general). (Nichola and Rebecca pictured with myself and Umbro hiding behind us).  They’re just a great bunch of people wanting to perform in a show that they and the audience can be proud of. So why not give your ears and eyeballs a treat and enjoy a night at the theatre supporting this talented bunch. You won’t regret it.

 

or by calling 01482 300300

Week 20 (24 May) – Lucas Meagor, Chorus and webmaster/social media

Week 20 (24 May)

It’s the turn of Lucas Meagor, who brings us up to speed on rehearsals and being the webmaster, social media “man” and fitting it all round a degree, job hunting and the odd marathon.

Welcome readers!  I am Lucas Meagor (which I need to state is pronounced May-ger and has a silent e – long story for another day/forum/website…), one of the chorus in this year’s show, my fourth with the Musical Theatre since joining in 2013 as a would be musician who got talked into taking part in the panto as they needed more males. (Our Chair, Alison, is very persuasive!).  I play the Tenor Saxophone and was looking for a group to join and after seeing the excellent production of “The Sound of Music” in 2013 thought I could be in the band side of BMT.  The Saxophone has never appeared (yet) but I had such a laugh learning the dance routine at my first rehearsal I returned!  It was 22 years since I’d done any amateur dramatics, when I played a lead role at the age of 16 as a big blue book called “Psalty” in a kids musicaLux finishl. I have made some great friends since and enjoy the camaraderie between us, which helps make each show so brilliant.

I now find myself looking after our social media and became the webmaster this year – so I am the fingers behind the Facebook updates, some of the tweets (with Nichola) (@BevMusicTheatre) and updating this page each Sunday, along with helping with some of the publicity.

By day I have just completed a full time degree at Leeds Metropolitan University in Events Management – and am now looking for work in the industry to supplement my part time bar work at Leeds Arena. (I do actually live in Kingston upon Hull despite the Leeds theme – but am from Somerset originally – oh arr!)  In addition to all this, I couple BMT with my other main hobby of running/keeping fit – often learning songs as I run!  By running, we are talking marathons and as I type this I am on route to Luxembourg to run my 39th marathon. (Picture is me after I’d finished) I have been known to run a marathon in the morning and be at rehearsal in the evening (as you do!), but this weekend was a bit of a challenge to do both!

The rehearsals this week have seen a complete run through of the show and the rehearsal hall filling with back stage crew, who are now plotting lighting, scene changes and the 10,000 litres of water and all the issues it will present in finite detail now they can see where the cast will be when.  (Assuming we’re all there for rehearsals which does present it’s challenges when we’re not).  I do not envy their challenges as we get over 4 months to rehearse whilst they’ll only get one dress rehearsal!  Our director, Mark, has done well to bring everything together along with our lead, Chris Holmes (Don Lockwood), who has tirelessly choreographed us as well as learning his own role.  The good news is we can really see it coming together and it promises to be a great show which will richly reward all who take the opportunity to come along to Hull New Theatre and witness first hand how 10,000 litres of water turns into rain without electrocuting anyone. Make sure you book your tickets now!

 

Week 19 (17 May) – Rebecca Wilson, playing Zelda Zanders

Week 19 (17 May)

Rebecca Wilson, who plays Zelda Zanders and is daughter of our Musical Director, Liz, shares how it runs in the family, music practices and how the show is coming together.

Hi to all have been reading our blog, my name is Rebecca Wilson, and the idea of this blog was mine…..I hope you’ve all been enjoying it. I just thought it would be a good idea so you loyal supporters of BMT and new ones could learn about the cast and crew and the effort we put in to producing a fantastic show for you all.

RebeccaI’m 37 and this is my 4th production with BMT and I am playing Zelda Zanders. (In the picture with Nichola Wiley (I’m on the left), taken during our Panto, Babes in the Wood, last year) I have been singing, dancing and acting from a very early age, which is inevitable seeing as I come from a very musical family. My grandma was the musical director of Hull Ladies Choir and was also an accomplished soprano. My Mummy is Liz Wilson, who not only is the Musical Director for BMT, but also conducts the Beverley and Driffield male voice choirs. She is also an accomplished Soprano heaving taken leads in 100’s of productions. My Daddy is the President of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra, plays the violin and will be in the pit for this production.

As I said with a family like that it would be rude not to be involved in the arts. I myself am an accomplished singer and actor and have toured America and Canada singing, performed at the Royal Albert Hall and sung for the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. My first time treading the boards at Hull New Theatre was in Little Shop of Horrors 20 years ago when I played Crystal.

So rehearsals are going well. Mark (the director) and Mum (Liz) are now in the final stages of polishing the show and it’s looking great. This week we had a singing rehearsal, prior to which some of the cast had been to sing and promote the show at a charity concert, Singing for the Brain, in aid of The Alzheimer’s Society . We needed to put the final tweaks on the harmonies. Having a Mum as MD is very strange; I feel as if I have to put my hand up and say “Mrs Wilson, please can we just go over that again?” as it would be weird for others if I just said “Oi Mum, can you do that again?”

The rehearsal went well and we got to hear all our talented principles perform their solos. The entire cast did a fantastic job and those harmonies are sounding great. With only 2 weeks now until curtain up the excitement is palpable and we are all just raring to go on opening night.  Look forward to seeing you there!

Rebecca

 

 

Week 18 (10 May) – Hannah O’Brien, Pianist

Week 18 (10 May)

Hannah O’Brien, one of our pianists, changes keyboards and gives the view from behind the piano keyboard  as the first full run takes place.  Read about her background, how her important role fits in and the joys of a busy life and reading handwritten music score!

My name is Hannah and I have the privilege of being one of the two piano accompanists for Beverley Musical Theatre rehearsals, along with Sue. I also play in the band for the performances. This is the fourth BMT performance I have been involved in, since moving to Beverley 2 years ago.

Hannah HMy role is to help the cast get to know the music really well and ensure they don’t have too many surprises when the live band comes in for the performances. The pace of the rehearsals means this is sometimes no mean feat, as I need to read many lines of music at once whilst listening to the singers and creating the right musical atmosphere for each song. And for a show like Singin’ in the Rain there is an added challenge that the music was handwritten in quite a hurry so a bit of guesswork is required!

I enjoy having the chance to test my experience from many moons ago of working with a Broadway accompanist in America whilst studying for my music degree – and it makes a welcome addition to being a mum to 2 lively boys, being a trustee for Dalcroze music and movement charity, other musical performance work and the day job in the Education department of a University.

It is awesome to see the show develop as everyone works as a team to bring the different strands together. During the first few weeks rehearsals are about the cast learning the song tunes and words with Musical Director, Liz, who is a ball of energy and fun to work with. Then work starts on dance routines with the tireless Chris and practising scenes under the experienced and exacting eye of Mark the director. Finally, we put it all together and start to run the whole show . Tonight was the first run through – my favourite kind of rehearsal as we don’t play through any of the songs more than once! It is beginning to come together but is always daunting at this point to think about what still needs to be done. But we always get there in the end!

The cast of often unsung volunteers working alongside the chair, Alison, providing costumes, devise scene changes, plan lighting and sound, publicise the show and provide many other vital roles really get to see what remains to be done at this stage.

From the perspective of the piano stool I can see it is not always easy or comfortable for the cast to take constructive criticism. But everyone understands that this is needed to create a great show. It involves more than memorising the script and choreography – it needs timing, chemistry and communication with the audience to create something magical on stage.  It is a joy to see the confidence cast members gain when they realise the audience are enjoying their performance. And there is plenty of fun had in rehearsals too – so come along and enjoy all the hard work in June.