Soooooo yeah. In the past I never enjoyed musicals. I just wanted the story without everyone stopping to BURST INTO SONG! I would literally sit there and get irritated whenever someone just had to sing their feelings instead of saying them in a more dramatic style.
Well, guess what? I am doing a total 180 degree on that. I have, by sort of accident, fallen into the musical world by being hired to perform at several high profile musicals of late. I've done them in the past. They were usually connected with a high school and never really paid that much, but that has changed now. I am having a blast AND getting paid decent wage for performing in a musical at the Broadway Rose Theatre. "The Andrews Brothers" is set as a 1940's USO show where the stage hands end up in drag as the Andrews Sisters in order for the show to go on. It is a HOOT. The top-knotch talent singing, dancing, and doing tons of on stage antics (while singing and dancing) is incredible. And the musicians I'm playing with are amazing. Bassist Jonathan Lakey and Musical Director/Pianist Jeffrey Childs are A-List players and super-nice and fun to be in a band with. We swing it hard and the production shines. Almost sold out shows for the entire run, we have one more weekend. Show ends May 20th. Don't miss it (shameless plug).
So, yes. My snobbery has turned around quite a bit. As a drummer, playing musicals really takes ALL the discipline I have studied for: reading, timing, dynamics, and tactful drumming. You have to pay attention, no spacing out, and in this production it is even more important since the band is on stage (not relegated to a pit and dressed in black to disappear). I cannot ad lib (too much) and get to enjoy the wonderful actors as they prepare to do their thing. Louise, James, Norman, and Adam are wonderfully talented singers and actors who pull off 4-part swing tunes with amazing precision. The comedic timing is amazing! Backstage, I have had to stop myself from choking on my sparkle water (as you all know, I am addicted to the stuff) because backstage banter and high jinx are keeping everyone in stitches. Being in bands is one thing, but being with a multi-faceted talent like a musical actor is over the top.
There you have it. I am having a GREAT time and hope to continue working with this lovely theatre. The manager, Dan, is wonderfully talented and has a way with the audience. He is also hilariously funny. With all of this, it doesn't feel like work to me. I am enjoying doing this kind of drumming for pay (a nice perk) and getting to be on stage in front of appreciative crowds! I also get to work on my brush work in this musical. The music of the 1940s has certain demands of a percussionist: stirring the soup, keeping great time for the band and singers/dancers, and swinging hard to make it all hip. Who would have ever thought that all that high school and college jazz band work would come in so handy? There you have it.
Go see this production. The band is in costume on stage. The sound and lighting are pro and you won't be disappointed! Bring on the musicals! I am for hire!
Love and sparkles,