Made in China: An Original Musical by Nicholas Weinbach

Nicky Weinbach continues his chronicle of bringing an original musical to the stage for the first time.

In my last entry, I talked about how we were in the process of deciding on a final cast list for Made in China after having held the auditions a few days before. It was a very difficult choice to make because there was a lot of great talent that came to the auditions. We didn’t want to let anyone down. I’m sure that must be one of the harder parts of any director/casting director’s job: having to let someone great know that he or she has not been cast.

On the upside, I think we made a good decision on our cast (listed below this blog entry), and we’re really happy to start rehearsing with our actors. Our first read-through is tomorrow, and I’m very excited about it. The hard part is all the tedious things I needed to do during the past week to prepare for it. I didn’t just have to print out multiple scripts for everyone involved, I had to organize and print out all the music for every actor and musician and the full score for the conductor (my twin brother, Max). It would be too difficult for me to explain the tiresome process of going into Finale (the computer software on which I wrote out and arranged the complete score) and having to extract every part from each song of the score, but let’s just say it’s long and arduous, and I ended up having to print out almost 1700 pages of music and script two days ago. That’s a lot. After that, I had to go back into Finale and merge – here come the technical terms – every vocal part with its accompanying piano part into separate two-part scores of their own, then save those scores as MIDI files, and, finally, burn a CD of the appropriate MIDI music for each cast member in order that he or she easily practice his or her part at home. I know it all sounds complicated. It is.

On another note, a week ago, co-producer Clint Winder and I met up at the theater where we’re putting on this production (Bindlestiff Studio) to discuss and plan out how we’re going to set-up the actual theater space for the performances. This is also a little complicated because you have to think about where to put the pit orchestra. You want them to be out of the way and not overpower the actors’ voices, but you still want your audience to see and hear them because it’s a musical, and it’s comforting and exciting to know that there’s a real orchestra accompanying the show. When you see the orchestra there, the magic is heightened.

Anyway, I think we came to a pretty good understanding of how we’re going to set up the theater and a general idea of how we’ll want the set to look. I locked down a set designer a couple of days ago. He’s actually a friend and former roommate from college. I think he’s going to design something great but something that meets our modest budget.

Overall, I’m a little nervous about the days and weeks to come. I hope it all goes well. I’m losing sleep every night thinking about how much work needs to be done and how much work I’ve already done. With a little luck, my next entry will highlight some of the ups and downs (hopefully, mostly ups) of our first few rehearsals. Until next time.

Made in China Cast List

Max – Nicholas Weinbach
Amber – Marisa Gregory
Gary / Mr. O’Meckles – Henry Kelly
Harry / Date – Jan Gilbert
Larry / Mr. Cousins – William Douglas Lester
Mary – Katy Yost

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