You know what's way more fun than a simple read through as the first rehearsal of a musical? When the actors all bring instruments and play along with the score as we make our way through the show. There isn't a long list of shows where the actors are also the instrumentalists, so I may never get to have a first rehearsal like that again - which just makes it feel even more special.
In some previous iterations of this blog, the author was the director. This time I am absolutely not the director, but I do have a good view of the director seat, because I'm married to her. Getting to the first rehearsal of Once had its own fairly unique set of challenges. The obvious, like casting a show where you need to find people who play a certain instrument and can also portray a certain character, with a certain vocal range, and are willing to sing and dance onstage. The slightly less obvious, like dealing with the schedules of said people, who are almost all active musicians, and cobbling together enough rehearsals to put together a full-blown musical. And the really obscure challenges, like the fact that due to schedule changes, the poor rehearsal venue staff were confused about our first rehearsal and when we got there the building was dark and empty, causing some mild-moderate panic in the director and stage manager.
Decades ago when I was in high school but was already an active cellist, I had a friend who was a guitarist and songwriter, and occasionally we'd play together - mostly just adding a low string line to one of his songs, and I loved that sound, the blend of acoustic guitar and strings. Last night, we had three guitars, two violins, a cello, and an accordion in the room, and even though we were sight reading, and using the soundtrack recording to stay together, and the piano was aggressively out of tune, there was already a taste of that acoustic magic.
So I'm calling it in advance - the Calliope production of Once at the Castle is going to be truly, beautifully special.