Friday, September 13, 2013

Opening Night Excitement

Tonight's the night.

The Rochester (MN) Civic Theater's production of the musical Les Misérables opens on the first sold-out weekend. Tonight's the first of thirteen public performances between now and October 6. This is, as is obvious, the result of a great deal of work on the part of a lot of people. As I said earlier this is the first time I have been in a "pit orchestra" since high school. It has been exciting to watch it come together. First the orchestra and cast rehearsed separately. Last week we came together for the first time to work things together. This week was tech and dress rehearsals ending with the preview performance last night.

The excitement has been almost more than we could stand. The energy level of the cast and orchestra has increased even as we become so infused with the music that it comes unbidden into many of our conscious thoughts. My wife laughs every time I start singing or whistling one of the tunes.The cast is remarkable! They all have their day jobs but have created a professional level performance that any theater company would be proud of!

It is also a very compelling story. To look at it quickly it seems to be made up of several well-worn tropes.

  • love
  • law vs. grace 
  • personal transformation
  • revolution
  • poverty and oppression
Then you realize the story is adapted from a book written in the mid-1800s. The power of the words of Victor Hugo are as relevant today as they were 150+ years ago. Times have changed- issues are real.

I have been absorbing all this over the past weeks. Playing 3rd trumpet I get a lot of time to just sit and count endless measures. So I have followed along the words, letting the music inform the message and highlight the meaning Hugo was attempting to first describe. My plan is to at least bring a few of those thoughts to the blog after the musical is done. Time has been short with all this rehearsing and such.

View from the orchestra

But I'm as ready as I can be for tonight. It is an honor and a joy to be sitting in that orchestra behind the scrim for many of the next 13 performances.

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