I start my morning with a baguette and a coffee outside that quaint, little jewelry place on 5th Avenue; the one with the blue boxes, you know? After window-shopping through dark sunglasses, I head home to freshen my face before the first rehearsal.
I pace in my walk-in closet, trying to decide what to wear. One always wants to dress to impress, but as a stage manager, I must blend style with practicality. Sensible shoes with a touch of panache and a belted sweater (for Audrey only wore belts with blouses and skirts…never pants). I’m a responsible stage manager, after all, so I pack all of the essentials: band-aids, pencils, highlighters, rouge, scissors, hole punchers, long satin gloves, bobby pins, rulers and a plethora of tape, all which fit nicely in my velvet clutch. As I skip down the steps of my apartment, a cab pulls up and Gregory Peck steps out to get the door for me. How charming. We gaze dreamily at each other and feel very New York-y as we ride down the west side to our glamorous destination: 520 8th Avenue, 3rd floor, Studio B.
My staff (entourage? contemporaries? I’m not sure what we’re calling them these days…) has arrived early to assist with preparations. We arrange the tables, chairs and piano and drape pink gossamer fabric over the lights, for no one likes to be seen under fluorescents. After discovering that technology has as expected, let us down, we set to work collating 14 copies of the score. A tragic snag in our otherwise flawless set-up, but we endure. Just as the last logo-endowed binder is placed on the table, the cast and artistic staff begin to arrive.
Thirty seconds of introductions and suddenly we’re all fast friends and ready to begin the read-thru. Cue jazzy up-tempo. Cigarette smoke swirls, piano music swells, laughter bounces off the walls. The actors show both an ease with comedy and a sensitivity for the dramatic. The writers stretch out in their thrones and bask in the glow of read-thru success. The director pops the cork on a bottle of Cristal. The cork flies at James Garner, who brazenly snuck into the party, but he isn’t one of our favorite leading men anyway. Our ever-enchanting associate director is scatting with a snap and our choreographer is waltzing alone. I chassé around the room with an extremely long cigarette holder, feeling positively smug for facilitating a smooth Equity meeting and first rehearsal. How fulfilling to leave rehearsal feeling as though I’ve been partying with the crème-de-la-cosmopolitan-crème of the Off-Broadway scene! Outside the studio and with the sophistication of an English-Dutch movie star, I yell “Driver!” and Gary Cooper’s Rolls Royce pulls to the curb. Always the gentleman, he leaves me, with a wink, on my stoop. I gracefully put myself to bed, eager to rise early for rehearsal number two.
PSM, Being Audrey
BEING AUDREY Meet-and-Greet & First Rehearsal Photos:
The cast and creative team of Being Audrey. From the left: Brian Allan Hobbs (Copyist), Scott Rink (Choreographer), Jack Cummings III (Director), Brian Sutherland, Cheryl Stern, Blair Ross, Mark Ledbetter, Stephen Berger, Valerie Fagan, Michael Maricondi, Andrea Bianchi, and Theresa Flannagan (Production Stage Manager)
Brian Allan Hobbs (Copyist) and Gregg Wiggans (Assistant Director)
Brian Allan Hobbs (Copyist), Scott Rink (Choreographer), and Jack Cummings III (Director)
Brian Sutherland, Cheryl Stern, and Blair Ross
Mark Ledbletter and Stephen Berger