I'm going to try and chronicle my experiences as I did last year with "Annie" (here, here--oh, just browse October and November if you're interested. It's fascinating and insightful reading, I promise you..).
A couple of beginning observations. I'm a vocal director first off, and my strength is teaching and coaching vocalists to sing the various parts in a musical, both principal soloists and choruses. Interestingly, in this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic the choral work is very minimal - especially compared with their other shows such as "Oklahoma!" and "South Pacific" - and my vocal work won't take long. I have last night and tonight to work with the soloists, then three days next week to go over the choral parts. From then on until about a week before the show starts I'm the rehearsal pianist.
When the show starts into dress rehearsals I'm the orchestra leader - now, orchestra is a relative term in this level of amateur community theatre, because it usually just encompasses a piano, electronic keyboard, drums, bass and maybe a wind instrument or two. That's the plan for this show, but the challenge will be taking those instrumentalists and producing a musical sound that's compatible in emotion and scope with what a full orchestra can give to a production of this size.
It's a challenge, to be sure, but one I'm looking forward to because the music of this show is so rich and exotic. I can't wait to dig into the score!
One final note - Tink is in the show as one of the Royal Children. This is her first stage production, and I'll be there each night to watch over her. It should be quite interesting!
"The King & I" will be presented at the Oak Ridge Playhouse November 17-19, 23-26 and December 1-3, 2006.