Author Topic: CALLING: Calling "bump" cues in a musical  (Read 745 times)

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JJ Hersh

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CALLING: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« on: Apr 08, 2018, 01:32 pm »
I just started on the first musical I've done as a stage manager. It's a really good show but I came in after tech and opening weekend so I didn't have time to iron everything out timing/calling wise and the promptbook was in pretty bad shape. One of the things this show has a number of is bump cues that hit at the end of songs, usually after held notes which don't seem to be consistent in terms of length. I've had very little luck getting the timing right on these, and right now it looks unacceptably sloppy. Because the show is already open I don't really have a chance to practice calling it with actors singing and no audience and I'm not sure how to make my timing better. Any advice?
« Last Edit: Apr 28, 2018, 08:34 pm by Maribeth »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Reply #1 on: Apr 08, 2018, 08:59 pm »
Can you get a video of the conductor?  So when he cuts off you can call the bump cue? 
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loebtmc

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Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Reply #2 on: Apr 09, 2018, 06:00 am »
Yes, as Matt said — if you can see the conductor (live or on camera), try taking it on his/her upbeat so it hits w the end of the note.

If not, you have to watch the singer. You can usually see when they are ready to stop — there are little tells, and once you know an actor's tell, you are good most of the time.

VSM

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Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Reply #3 on: Apr 09, 2018, 11:08 am »
Can you get a copy of the music so you know when the cutoff is SUPPOSED to happen?
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JJ Hersh

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Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Reply #4 on: Apr 14, 2018, 02:59 pm »
I can't get video feed of the composer, unfortunately. This is a pretty under-resourced company. We don't even have a com system.

I know that the music director did some rescoring and I asked him to email me the sheet music but he never did. I'm gonna remind him today and see if I can get it.

Maribeth

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Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Reply #5 on: Apr 14, 2018, 10:27 pm »
Can you ask to have a brushup rehearsal to practice the bump cues? A half hour with the music director and the singer before the show could help you learn their "tells", as loebtmc mentioned. They might also be able to tell you what visual cues to watch for.

RuthNY

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Re: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Reply #6 on: Apr 15, 2018, 09:31 am »
Calling button bumps is something you practice the very first and second days of rehearsal when the cast is learning music.  That's the SMs opportunity to learn the music too, and count/memorize the final notes of any song.  Learn the button bumps just as you learn where the music changes are in dance numbers, because yes, there will be a light change there, too.

Now although some of this is about preparation, it's MUCH, MUCH more difficult without a conductor cam.  Without a cam, the singers and conductor must do the same thing at every performance if they want that kind of cue at the end of the number to be both correct and effective.  If the singer is given latitude to cut off whenever they want to, that can be a huge issue.

Talk to your conductor, and ask them to count the end of each number for you,  That way it's much easier to find the "GO" even without a cam.

1-2-3-4-5-6-sev-go-eight, will give you the correct bump on eight every time, and you adjust for other time signatures.

Best of luck,
Ruth
« Last Edit: Apr 15, 2018, 09:34 am by RuthNY »
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JJ Hersh

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Re: CALLING: Calling "bump" cues in a musical
« Reply #7 on: Aug 24, 2018, 04:12 pm »
Hi all! Thank you for your help! I was eventually able to get the timing down. I even was lucky enough to have a full weekend of perfect cues. The two things that were the most useful were looking for actor tells and musical cues not notated in the score. One actor in particular was especially useful. About a beat before the note was cut off, the actor would bend his knee almost imperceptibly. It was always the exact amount of time before the cut-off, and he was in almost every scene with a held note that ended in a bump cue. With musical cues, I found that there were a lot of un-written subdivided instrumental parts that consistently were the same before the held note ended. One cue was a two-parter where the second half of the cue had to line up perfectly with the moment that two characters did a fist bump, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what I could use as a reference to call "GO". It turned out that right before the fist bump, there is a crescendo of trumpet eighth notes, and if I called it just a breath before the second to last beat, the cue lined up perfectly every time. Obviously, I'd prefer to be able to be in rehearsals, have a tech, and have a functional promptbook, but at the very least I was able to survive the show in one piece.

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