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The First Few Weeks

The first few weeks of just about any play are even worse than the twelve-hour-long tech rehearsals to come,

And The Wiz is no exception.

Everything I do seems strained and unnatural.

Scripts inhibit my movement,

Sight-reading distracts me from embellishing vocally,

And character development always suffers when I’m learning new blocking that’s already changed more than once and is bound to change again.

It’s difficult.

Musicals demand stylized performances so something feels amiss when animation and physicality take a backseat to structure.

And yet, that’s how it’s gotta be, at least in the beginning.

The most frustrating technical aspect of rehearsals involves a whole lotta music theory.

Specifically, key changes.

The songs I sing were originally written for a tenor, so our angel of music, Sanford, transposed all three of them into my range.

It’s been a painstaking process, trying to find a key that works.

Plus, I know I’ve been less than flexible and often exasperate Sanford with requests for him to please revise his revisions.

He usually senses my uneasiness about a particular section in the music immediately.

“Alright, what’s wrong with your song?? he’ll ask, or, “Are you still struggling with those lyrics??

“No? I respond, “ It’s just the key?

“The key? We just changed the key!?

“Can we change it again??

And there you have it, our entire working relationship in a nutshell.


Now that Sanford’s successfully rummaged the scales and tweaked every dotted half-note on my score for the perfect arrangement of sharps and flats, I can proudly attest to his prowess as a maestro.

Besides, I’ve got thirty-seven days to prove to the man that I’m really not a self-involved brat.

And that should be plenty of time.


You sound amazing!

Sanford is the first person I've ever come across who can transpose in his head, it freaks me out.

I kind of wish he had changed the key in my song. I'm not sure if the constant declination in my vocal performance at each rehearsal was due to the fact that I was going longer and longer without any allergy medicine, I'd wake up in the morning so congested I couldn't even get a netti pot to work and all day long that gunk would drip down and thoroughly coat my vocal cords, or if I'm actually damaging my voice from belting/shouting way up in my head voice in my song and then yelling my ass off for the next ten minutes.

I haven't been able to scream properly when I 'melt' since about the second week of rehearsal, my falsetto was pretty much a squeak on Saturday, and my lower range had disappeared long before that. I got some Allegra this Monday, Ivory knows that whole story, so I'm hoping antihistamines and a week off will perk me back up.

It's just frustrating, before the Allegra business I had a four-octave voice, and at the end of last week it was barely over two.