Saturday, August 05, 2006

Stand-in theatre

Progress report on the musical I’m co-writing, the 60’s PROJECT, due to open at the Goodspeed Theatre in fabulous Chester, Ct. on Thursday night. So far, so good. Today we have our first complete runthrough. It should give us a great indication of where we are. Especially since it’ll be in a rehearsal hall, without the band, lighting, costumes, visuals, and two of the actors are out sick.

It reminds me of the last few years working on CHEERS. By that time, practically every cast member had other things to do – projects, movies, golf tournaments, guesting on other shows, pedicures, buying real estate, speaking to acting classes on the value of rehearsal, etc. So it was not uncommon to go down to the stage for a runthrough and find it was Ted Danson, the script supervisor, First AD, Second AD, prop guy, and George Wendt. We’d come back to the office for the rewrite and say “How the fuck do we know what worked or didn’t?”

My favorite moment was when one of the cast members showed up the next day after missing a runthrough, saw that a favorite line had been cut, and screamed at the crew member stand-in for killing the joke.

The sad thing is that often times that crew member delivered lines better than the actor.

Wish us luck on the runthrough.


Richard Cooper said...

Break a leg. Sounds like you're having fun, no matter what!

Anonymous said...


Reminds me of Woody's acting company, when things weren't perfect, and the director would ask the complainer, "What is this?" The complainer would have to remind himself, "Community Theater."

Great Post.

Ken, since you have time to spare, why not write a book about comedy writing? I'm getting more from your blog than from other sources, not to be named by name.

Beth Ciotta said...

Break a leg! Be sure to pop in with a report.

Anonymous said...

Found your blog...I know you sent the address ages ago, but confess that lack of time prevented me from checking it out. Worth the time...
Break a leg on Thursday.

Anonymous said...


Congrats on the run-through! And I think I can speak for a lot of people with the words of an old Broadway sentiment:

"We hope your play will make folks laugh,
We hope your play will make folks cry.
But most of of all we hope it makes them kiss their fifty bucks good-bye..."