Opening night for Dusty The Original Pop Diva is this Friday. The band plays in the wings (part of the stage not seen by the audience), and this is the view from where Musical Director June Gemmell sits.
For the répétiteur, the first focus in a musical is the big songs which involve all the cast. There is singing and choreography to work out, so we do these first. The songs have to be played at speed from the get go, so I plonk chords blindly, and learn the music much later.
Next in priority are songs involving the principals: all the solos, duets and anything with backing vocals. The répétiteur needs to learn their melodies and harmonies first, and then later learn her own music.
Lastly, there is incidental music. These are songs played during scene changes. The cast don’t even hear these; they are ripping off clothes or wigs, or moving furniture around in a scene change. For them, this music doesn’t exist.
But to me, these are important songs. I’m often playing alone, and the audience has nothing else do to except listen to this music.
So right at the end of all our preparation, I work on these little pieces, wanting to do them (and myself) justice.
Is this a complaint? No way. I wish I could do this work all the waking hours of my life.