So, I produced a successful musical…. whaaaaat? (First year Lauren would be very confused at that)
I can’t believe I’m finally writing this post! I was putting it off because it’s going to be a mammoth of a post, and I really don’t want to forget anything! However, it’s been over for a week now, and I really want to start posting more so feel I need to address this first! Also I was waiting on some more photos, but I got too impatient and figured can use the photos I get for like a yearly round up or something! I wanted to make this post so I can look back on it on the future, and it would be weird to not acknowledge it on my blog as it was such a huge part of my life!
This post will be l o n g and also have lots of pics!
So, around August, Adam asked if I’d like to produce a musical, and I kind of just laughed him off at that ridiculous suggestion. To be honest, I didn’t even know what a Producer of a musical had to do, but it sounded fancy, and I didn’t know anything about Musical Theatre, so just forgot about it, thinking I was not qualified enough. Also, I wasn’t confident enough to waltz into a group of musical theatre lovers and attempt to try and organise them!
After some a lot of persuasion from Adam, and looking into what the actual role was, I decided to really step out of my comfort zone and say yes- I’m so glad I did that looking back now! But I agreed to step in and help, and here we are today! The Musical in question was Jekyll and Hyde!
I remember my first meeting I had as Producer, and it was with some of the other members of the production team, the presidents of SMuTS (Sussex Musical Theatre Society) and the Treasurer. The meeting was to buy the rights to the musical- and I honestly felt so out of my depth. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t really know what I had to do and I had no idea what anyone was talking about and I felt really stupid for thinking I could do it. As Producer, it was my responsibility to sort the buying of the rights to the musical- something I hadn’t even thought about before!
But, I persisted, and after meeting the other members of the production team, who made me feel so welcome and convinced me that it would be fine, I felt at ease, and kind of like I knew what I had to do. We had some meetings to arrange what we would ask people to do at the auditions, and then the audition process began!
|Me, Adam (Musical Director), Shannon (Director), Charlie (Director ), Megan (Vocal Coach) and Poppy (Choreographer)|
I actually loved the audition process, and honestly I thought everyone who came and auditioned was so brave for standing in front of 6 strangers and singing and acting in front of them! I know I could never put myself out there like that! I feel like after auditions was when I really started to ease into my role, and I felt much more comfortable, as i’d met everyone now, and knew what was expected.
We cast the show which was really exciting, and then we got all the cast together to do a read through of the script, and get to know each other a bit.
|Everyone at the first rehearsal/read through!|
The rehearsal process was long! But all the other production team members who were in charge of running the rehearsals were all so talented, it was actually quite fun to watch them work, and teach the cast how to sing the songs correctly, or getting the cast all into character.
My role was basically organisation, and making sure everyone was doing their jobs to ensure we’d be able to put on the show in time! I also was tasked with making the programmes for the show, which at the time I hated, and cried over a stupid amount of times because I just felt I couldn’t do it! I didn’t mind organising the casts bios, and headshot days, but the actual construction of the programmes I found quite hard, but with a lot of help from Adam, and George (President) I got them done in the end!
After a slight hiccup on printing quality, when we got the programmes delivered I was so relieved, and pleased with how they turned out. Our production manager Malcolm, filmed me opening the delivery they came in because he thought I might cry with relief!
|It took SO LONG to get a headshot for me, because I kept awkwardly laughing and moving all the time…*|
I feel like I’m waffling a bit so I’ll speed this up! I was doing stuff for Jekyll more than my degree/work at some points! Especially towards the end of the process, with three rehearsals a week, and Production Team meetings left, right and centre it was definitely a big commitment! I did thoroughly enjoy it though, despite the stress!
|Our promo material!|
|The cast must have thought I was so miserable when I looked like this in rehearsals, but to be fair this was in the midst of my programme creating breakdown phase… Promise I was nice to them! *|
|The rehearsal where we put the show together with the band for the first time!*|
I have way more rehearsal photos, but they all involved close ups of the cast so I don’t want to plaster them all over the internet without their permission, but the cast were phenomenal and worked so incredibly hard. If any of them are reading, thank you so much, I know I said it during teary eyes on our last show but honestly, you were all so great to work with!
We actually all went to an I heart Consent workshop run by Uni, and most of the cast came as well, and it was so great to talk about a topic that is so important, and it was actually quite refreshing to hear peoples opinions! This isn’t show related, but I just wanted to include it as it was a different, but needed cast bonding activity and actually everyone who came to it said they found it interesting.
|I Heart Consent Workshop|
Our last rehearsal before Show week was our dress run, and it had actually snowed on that day, so we dragged the cast out in the snow for a photo shoot (sorry guys, but it looked cool) It was so exciting to see everyone in costumes and it made it feel so much more real! Back before Christmas I had gone to a costume place to help find the costumes and it was nice to see the ones we picked on everyone!
So, show week rolled around before we knew it, and it was by far the most stressful, but definitely the most fun part of the entire process! We had access to the theatre all week, so Monday and Tuesday was spent helping set the stage up, and getting all the costumes to the theatre.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday were show days, so every night me and one of the directors, Shannon, would sit in the audience and watch the show- every night I cried because the cast smashed every performance, and after seeing them work so hard I just felt so proud. Especially when thinking back to everyone at their auditions, to seeing them on the stage.
The show also got two reviews! I had reached out to some of the student papers and asked them to watch the opening night and review it! We had some technical difficulties, but it was our opening night, and it only got better from there!
Saturday was very emotional! We got the cast in early to say our thank yous and honestly if you ask anyone, they’ll tell you I was a crying mess all day! I just felt so overwhelmed and proud that the show had gone well, and I was also proud of myself too, for stepping out of my comfort zone and it going well!
|Saying cast thank yous! (Emotionally)|
All the cast and crew were so lovely to us all, and they had got me a huge bunch of flowers and some Prosecco and they’d all signed me a card saying thank you for all my hard work, and I cry even now reading the card because they were all so nice! WHY ARE PEOPLE SO LOVELY. Also the card had a cat on it, which made me laugh because I actually do come off as a crazy cat lady to people… woops.
We all got up onto stage after our last show to say thanks to everyone, and my Dad actually took the photos of me on stage! I also was proud because both my Mum and Dad said they enjoyed it, and I really didn’t think they would.
I couldn’t say this to anyone on the last day, because every time I tried to thank people, I started crying, but to anyone involved who may be reading this, thank you so much! This experience has honestly been the best thing I’ve ever done, and it’s helped me gained so much confidence in myself. I have made some incredible friends, who are all insanely talented, and this whole show is something I’m most proud of in my life so far. It was a huge challenge and definitely tested me at times, but overall the show was a success, and I’m so happy to have been a part of it. Also, sorry for crying a lot…
I’m sure I will have missed something out, but this post is so long I really should stop now!
If you’ve made it this far, bravo, thanks for staying with me!
Loads of love,
* Photo Credit to Malcolm Tam.