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Blog: And So It Begins Again (Again)

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On Monday night I was back at Bally Studios in Tottenham Hale to commence rehearsals for me and Steve's NEXT show 'Hey Hey 16K'. We were back in the same room at the same time as usual and it all felt VERY familiar - which confused me a bit, as surely it had been two YEARS since the last show, but Steve pointed out that we'd returned earlier this year to re-learn Total Hero Team for the York New Musical's Festival back in the summer.

This time, however, we were embarking on a WHOLE NEW SHOW and we were doing it in a WHOLE NEW (well, slightly new) WAY. Previously we've used rehearsal time to sit down and go through the show from start to finish every week without stopping. This has been quite a nice way to get to know it, but I've always been conscious of the fact that a) it doesn't really give many options for changing it b) it's not a particularly good way of learning it c) nobody else in the history of THE ARTS ever rehearses like that. Thus, in a dramatic turnaround from usual practice I suggested that we try it the NORMAL way. KRAZY, i know!

Hence we spent the first three quarters of our allotted time working on the SONGS. We prioritised these because we reckoned that if we at least have the songs sorted out by the time we do our first gig (currently scheduled for Leicester in February) then we should be able to BUMBLE through the rest of it. Some of them are OLD ones which we'd pretty much know already, but there's a batch of new ones to work through and I know from previous experience that the UNIQUE JAZZ PHRASINGS of my lyrics do take other people a while to get their head round. Imagine then my surprise, also GLEE, when Steve got there pretty much IMMEDIATELY. There's one song in particular, "I Wish That I Was Normal" that even I (what wrote it) have a job fitting the words to, but by the second run through he'd got it RIGHT. I was so amazed I forgot the chords! Admittedly I don't have to be VERY, or indeed AT ALL, amazed to do that, but I was!

We made several adjustments along the way, including changing the JOURNEY of 'The Future Is Amazing' and replacing the closing MEDLEY with a REPRISE, before turning our attention to the BOOK. We worked our way through the first 8 (of 27) pages, and had a FINE old time doing so. As planned we did it little bit by little bit, going back and trying things different ways and making alterations, which was ACE. We removed and/or FINESSED certain sections, and also marvelled at how many JOKES there were! When I wrote Total Hero Team i was at the start of my MA so had a BRANE full of The Three Act Structure and Character Motivation, and I think that's why it took so long to BEAT it into the shape of a Comedy Musical. THIS time I've got a BRANE full of writing GAGS and SKETCHES, and GOODNESS me but you can tell from the script. SO MANY JOKES!

It was, in short, a really good practice which I hope will set the tone for a real good year or so of DOING the show. The plan is to spend the rest of 2014 practicing every week like this, getting it in the best shape we can before hunkering down and LEARNING it ready for Leicester. Call me crazy, but I think it's going to be fun!

posted 12/11/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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To be fair, I've now had *a lot* of experience of dealing with your phrasing ;)
posted 12/11/2014 by Steve

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