On the Town and Music Assisting, Part 2

Things are really picking up again. Yesterday was the first Gumbo rehearsal! I taught some solos to people a lot older than me for the first time, and it was terrifying but rewarding. I’m looking forward to going back in tonight to do some more work for this production. It’s a long, difficult score with very minimal rehearsal time so it is taking a lot of effort from everyone to make everything happen.

I just observed On the Town from the orchestra. It was the largest pit I’ve observed so far, with 22 musicians (down from 28 a few weeks ago, due to cutting back costs). The show is closing in less than 3 weeks, and I think that is actually helping the energy of the show as everyone who works on the show realizes that the year-long run is coming to an end. The musical quality was, of course, excellent. I kept thinking to myself how ahead of its time these orchestrations are. This production uses all of the original music and orchestrations of the original, and it still somehow sounds fresh and exciting today. The whole team of writers were in their mid-20s when they wrote it, the beginning of long and successful careers for Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. I enjoyed meeting and chatting with the music director and conductor James Moore, a Chicago native himself. We realized we had similar high school experiences, playing a brass instrument in the band while studying piano and singing in choirs. I am getting a good idea of how many different educational backgrounds the music directors of Broadway have. There is no “one path” by any means, and there is also no path that disqualifies one from becoming a music director given they have the talent. It seems that school is best used for connections.

Tomorrow, I am meeting with Chris Fenwick, music director of Fun Home. Then it’s another Gumbo rehearsal!