ATG – Night Music 21 – Ah, Community Theatre

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The Players Guild of Dearborn was an active place on Saturday, April 20. The cast of the Stephen Sondheim musical, A Little Night Music rehearsed in the Clubroom from Noon until 5:00PM. The orchestra rehearsed in the auditorium from 10:00AM until 2:00PM. The stage crew worked on the set for most of the day in an attempt to get the set and stage ready for Tech Sunday on the 21st.

The orchestra members are all experienced players and many of them have played shows at the Guild in the past. Cast members kept popping into the auditorium to listen to the orchestra. Tom Murphy (Fredrik Egerman) even sang along when they rehearsed one of his numbers. See the attached photo. As they listened to the orchestra the cast members were all smiles.

Act I was rehearsed in the Clubroom using the recording of the show for music. Director Harold Jurkiewicz made subtle changes in the a number of scenes. The changes help add little touches of humor to the show. They also help define the show’s characters. Some people call this “tweaking.”

Act II was also rehearsed in the Clubroom with Music Director Paul Abbott at the piano. Throughout the rehearsal, Harold kept tweaking, adding little bits and pieces to improve the scene.

Ah, Community Theatre. One of the orchestra members for A Little Night Music is Harry Davis. Harry plays cello. 24 years ago, he was in the orchestra for the Players Guild production of Oliver. His son, Nathaniel, was one of Fagin’s urchins. Another person in the cast of that show was Paul Abbott. Today, Paul is the Music Director for A Little Night Music. Nathaniel is a U.S. Army Major teaching at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During the rehearsal the orchestra played “Send in the Clowns.” The cello obligato for the song is hauntingly beautiful.

Ah, Community Theatre. Another member orchestra member is Zach Brown. Zach plays bassoon and clarinet. Zach’s mother, Julie, is in the cast as one of the Liebeslieder singers.

Ah, Community Theatre. Madame Armfeldt is played by Diana Reynolds. Diana’s son, David, is helping light the show. David’s father and grandfather were both members of the Guild. David’s daughter, Jade, is playing Madame Armfeldt’s granddaughter, Fredrika.

These kinds of relationship occur again and again in community theatre as parents pass on their love of “show biz” to their children.

So, we’ve reached Tech Sunday and the beginning of Hell Week, one of my favorite parts of any production. You finally begin to see the show come together and the work of the past six weeks begin to yield some rewards.

And, oh yes. The actor who walked out of the rehearsal last week waltzed back in and was warmly welcomed.

Ah, community theatre.

A Little Night Music opens at the Players Guild of Dearborn on Friday, April 26 with an 8:00PM curtain. Click here for more information and to order tickets online.

 

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