Author Topic: MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical  (Read 6239 times)

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twoheadedboy85

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MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical
« on: Jul 21, 2010, 12:43 am »
Hey everyone,

As the subject suggest, I'm currently working on my first musical after SMing straight plays for the past few years. So far, the process has been pretty much the same, but I am slightly worried about entering into tech never having called a musical before. Is there anything I should be prepared for? Should I call from the script or the score? If the score, what's the easiest way to notate Q's on the score? I also don't know how to read music but was told this really wouldn't be that much of a problem.

Edited subject line-Rebbe
« Last Edit: Jul 21, 2010, 10:31 am by Rebbe »

On_Headset

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Re: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #1 on: Jul 21, 2010, 01:12 am »
Quote
So far, the process has been pretty much the same, but I am slightly worried about entering into tech never having called a musical before. Is there anything I should be prepared for? Should I call from the script or the score?
Whatever works for you. Try both, and don't be afraid to change horses mid-stream.
Quote
If the score, what's the easiest way to notate Q's on the score?
In small but legible handwriting.  ;)

In general, SMs who call "from the score" are really calling from either a "condensed score" (which reduces all of the parts down to 2-3 staves of melody and harmony), the vocal score, or whatever the rehearsal pianist gets. A full score would be a nightmare to call from, although it might be necessary if you were calling to very precise moments in the music. As such, reading music is helpful but not strictly necessary, insofar as it's much easier to follow a melody across 2 or 3 staves than across 20 or 40.

If you can't read music, it might still be easiest to call music from the score, provided the score includes the lyrics. If you just call from the lyrics alone, you'll need to either incorporate or memorize the locations of all of the rests and beats, and that can be tricky.

dewitt

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Re: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #2 on: Jul 21, 2010, 01:28 am »
Reading music is a definite plus but it is certainly possible to be successful even if you don't. The last musical I did most of the actor based cues happened on particular lyrics but all the scenic shifts were timed to the orchestration. I ended up making a combination script/score to include all the elements that worked the best for each section of the show. Also we ended up cutting some parts of the original score and expanding others so for all of the new sections I just had handwritten notes from the musical director. I love musicals have fun!

twoheadedboy85

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Re: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #3 on: Jul 21, 2010, 01:48 am »
Yeah, the score I have in condensed and includes the lyrics. I WAS going to call from the scrip but the MD said it would be a nightmare and suggest I take blocking and Qs on the score and call from that.

BayAreaSM

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Re: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #4 on: Jul 21, 2010, 02:44 am »
So I am curious to know how the rehearsal process differed. I've only SM'd musicals in workshop format, but I've peeked into rehearsal halls for musicals and noticed a number line on the stage.

Did you do that? Is it simply to help with choreography? Did you use it to make any notations in your script/score? Aside from having vocal rehearsals and choreography sessions, did anything else differ at all from a straight play rehearsal?

Just curious. Best wishes on your tech!

SMrose

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Re: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #5 on: Jul 21, 2010, 08:27 am »
I, too, use a combination of script and score and even cut and paste as some cues I call are on a particular note.  I transfer the "rehearsal numbers" from the score (a square block with a number in it) into my script on the lyric(s) that it corresponds to.  This will make it so much easier in tech/dress rehearsals when you stop and have to get the orchestra back on the right starting point.  I call out " actors, please pick up at "While shivering in my shoes"; orchestra, that's rehearsal 10."
I also don't read music, but can follow the notes, find my place and have SM'd many musicals.

loebtmc

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Re: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #6 on: Jul 21, 2010, 10:19 am »
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a number line on the stage

Yes, for musicals we run numbers across the downstage edge, with 0 at center and going R and L, labeling every 2 feet in each direction (in ballet, I was told, the stage is marked every 4 feet with 1/4 and 1/2 stage featured on either side as well eg sometimes a rope lite along the lip w a specific color light at center, 1/4 and 1/2 stage in each direction - but feel free to correct me please)

The simplest explanation is that choreographers and directors in musicals use these to place/space people in rehearsal, esp when there are lots of people or a large stage - This enables an easy transfer to the stage, makes sure spacing stays consistent nightly, and also is great for touring since the ensemble members can line themselves up to their respective numbers on any stage.

dallas10086

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Re: MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #7 on: Jul 21, 2010, 01:02 pm »
When I shadowed for "Wicked" I asked to see her book - because I was curious as well for the same reason - and she had a regular script with the lyrics, one line each, and if there was a cue at the end of a lyric or between lyrics, she had "1 2 3 GO" or "1 2 GO" wherever the cue went after the line. She watched each musical numbers, keeping the beat, and she would call the cues that way. It was very basic but very easy to follow.

I hope that gibberish made sense!

BayAreaSM

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Re: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #8 on: Jul 21, 2010, 01:44 pm »
Quote
a number line on the stage

Yes, for musicals we run numbers across the downstage edge, with 0 at center and going R and L, labeling every 2 feet in each direction (in ballet, I was told, the stage is marked every 4 feet with 1/4 and 1/2 stage featured on either side as well eg sometimes a rope lite along the lip w a specific color light at center, 1/4 and 1/2 stage in each direction - but feel free to correct me please)

Thanks - I was curious about that! It makes sense, and is much more thoroughly divided vs. ballet. At least that doesn't scare me anymore!

Ballet is marked at center (the actual center line of the stage) and quarters (half way from center and the proscenium), with 1/8 marks between center and quarter (called "inside 1/8" SR or SL), and between quarter and the proscenium (called "outside 1/8" SR or SL). 

1/8   1/4   1/8   center   1/8   1/4   1/8

Center and quarter are generally black and 1/8 are white - and these are generally spaced 6' apart. [Though if the floor is black, some opt for the all white method, which places "T" at Center and 1/4 and "l" at 1/8's - on the DS & US edges of the dance floor.] Some may spread farther apart, if they decide to scale the marks to the actual proscenium. If you can't do it with 6' spaces between the marks, then you have to scale down so that outside 1/8's fit into the stage.

As far as how the marks are made depends on the company and if you own your own floor. My company has LED markers in contrasting colors (Red & Green) at each mark along the DS edge, and the floor itself is dotted in special stencil spray paint in Black and White as I mentioned above. The dots run the entire stage, from DS to US. For rentals, since we have to tape the marley panels together, we will put spike tape in the proper color on each tape seam, from US to DS, since we cannot permanently mark a rental floor.

Celeste_SM

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Re: MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #9 on: Jul 21, 2010, 05:43 pm »
I usually call from the script, unless there is a particularly difficult musical sequence. I personally find that the score contains more information than I need. :)  Even with tight musical sequences with multiple cues (think: transformation in Beauty and the Beast) I often find it easier to write the counts rather than calling from the score. It's totally personal preference though. But if you don't read music, then I strongly recommend sticking to the script. I once took over a show where the SM was calling from the score, and she had used small round colored stickers to note the cues in the score, color coded for standbys and go's. They were very legible and the clear and specific placement allowed me to take over the show with very few problems.  If I called from a score, I'd do that, just because I had such a great experience with that. I fear a SM taking over one of my shows would have a harder time understanding my cue notations for musical sequences.

kiwitechgirl

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Re: MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #10 on: Jul 21, 2010, 08:44 pm »
I almost always put blocking into the script (the only exception was when I did Miss Saigon) and then call the show from a combination of script and score - but as Celeste said, it's personal preference.  I do read music though - my mother is a music teacher so I learnt to read music at the same time as I learnt to read!  I usually end up putting my calling script together in the last week of rehearsals because by then I have a fairly good idea of which pieces of the score I'll need and which I won't - mostly the underscoring I don't bother with and if there's a long introduction to a number under dialogue then I don't bother with that either.  In terms of cues, I notate the same way as I do in the script - it would only confuse me to change it!

amdram

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Re: MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #11 on: Jul 22, 2010, 07:34 am »
I have only ever called musicals (Gilbert and Sullivan) and concerts; never done a straight play, and I call from the script as I can't read music. Works fine for me.
On the one occasion so far that I had to call a cue at a specific point in an overture, I just listened to it over and over and counted beats from a certain point.

If you can read music, I think a combination of the lib and sections of the vocal score where necessary as suggested above would be very good.

RWKSM

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Re: MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #12 on: Jul 22, 2010, 03:16 pm »
When I shadowed for "Wicked" I asked to see her book - because I was curious as well for the same reason - and she had a regular script with the lyrics, one line each, and if there was a cue at the end of a lyric or between lyrics, she had "1 2 3 GO" or "1 2 GO" wherever the cue went after the line. She watched each musical numbers, keeping the beat, and she would call the cues that way. It was very basic but very easy to follow.

I hope that gibberish made sense!

I second this. The only thing is, you must maintain a steady beat or else it becomes a disaster.
Dare to Dream!

geoffsm

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Re: MUSICALS: Currently working on my first musical
« Reply #13 on: Aug 02, 2010, 04:17 pm »

I second this. The only thing is, you must maintain a steady beat or else it becomes a disaster.

Agreed.  It was for this reason that, when I had to call from the deck (off right, out of necessity)-I rigged an infrared camera and monitor so I you see the conductor.