Our first audience came on dress rehearsal night: some people from HITS Theatre, which had lent us some costumes, showed up. It's fair to say they were not impressed. Had to stop the show during "Ya Got Trouble" to work out timing with the orchestra, still hadn't gotten the lyrics for "The Sadder But Wiser Girl" solid in my head. Too many pauses of the "what line comes next?" variety. Microphones were failing to work more often than they worked. In general, it was just not ready for public consumption. That'll teach 'em to buy a ticket!
Opening night was much better, although microphones and "The Sadder But Wiser Girl" continued to be problems. This was the night the Houston Press sent a reviewer (see the Reviews page). I'm glad I wasn't aware of that at the time. I was still mostly focused on remembering what to do and say, and didn't have the spare brain cells to really "act". It was fortunate that my character did not have to carry the show: the barbershop quartet, Mayor and Mrs. Shinn, the pick-a-little ladies, the Paroo family, and the dancing chorus all provided plenty of good entertainment for the crowd.
Having gotten through one performance, I worked more on getting into character for subsequent shows, and fixing some stubborn problems. I'm happy to say that "Sadder But Wiser" settled in my head, so that I never flubbed it again. There was a bit of harmony I sing with Marian that gave me no end of trouble, and that turned into a tradition of rehearsing it with Deborah during intermission each show.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each improved over the previous day. On Sunday, Randy Lacy, a friend who is a professional singer, came to see the show, so it was very important that the harmony be solid. And it was.
Then we had Monday through Wednesday off, which gave a lot of things time to slip in our minds. Choreography, in particular, is my bugaboo. Thursday was rough, Friday better. On Saturday, my parents came, and the show was great. I think that was about the time I finally got the ending to the "Marian The Librarian" sequence right. On Sunday, my brother came, and the show was great again. Woo-hoo!
Another few days off, and Thursday rolled around again. This time, as a special bit of extra fun, the "Rock Island" group on the train at the opening of the show all were reading the new Harry Potter book instead of newspapers or playing cards. Unfortunately, one of the cast (who shall not be named here) actually started reading the story, and our number derailed for several very uncomfortable seconds as he picked up his entrance. Ouch.
This was the show that some people from work came to. One of them said, "When you were doing 'Trouble', I thought, 'I have never heard Roy say that many words before!'"
I don't remember anything special about Friday's show, but Saturday was the final day, with a matinee and an evening performance. And one small but memorable change: at the very end of the show, Marian and Harold move toward each other and kiss. We'd had a little difficulty with excess momentum with it, so I suggested that I'd pick her up and spin around with her to put that momentum to good use, rather than absorbing it with our teeth. We did that at the matinee (which was the show that was recorded for our DVD), and got several enthusiastic comments about it, so we did it for the closing show, as well.
One other thing I remember about the closing show was that "Ya Got Trouble" was almost too fast to get a breath in. Some other "that's live theater" moments from the run: