NOTE: This fic includes songs and lyrics from various musicals, so scattered throughout are links to youtube videos for those songs. Enjoy!
Chat Noir loves musicals.
It really shouldn’t surprise me. Cats exists, of course he loves musicals. After he found out I’m into musicals, it’s all he talks about when we’re on patrol. But I can’t even remember how we got on the subject. I think I was humming a few bars of ‘76 Trombones’ from The Music Man one day and he recognized it instantly. He started talking about various musicals he’d seen, either live or recorded, musicals he wanted to see (Hamilton and The Lion King topped the list), and his favorite songs from each. Which leads me to my second discovery.
I figure its only fair that every once in a while I share a crazy story from one of my gigs past. Have I told the one about the opera that went totally to shit? I may have, but here it is again, with many details fuzzy around the edges because its been about 3 years.
So this opera was a first in a lot of ways - it was the first to be written and performed in this language, it was the first time they’d produced it, it was the first time a number of the production staff had worked on something of this scale. We, the house staff, hadn’t worked with this company before and our production managers convinced them to hire a pair of lighting designers that had worked with us in our space before to try and give them a leg up on what to expect and utilize their understanding of the rep to their best ability. Every other designer was found by the client. This included scenic, projection, costumes and props.
Now, I won’t get into the much larger and involved story of how production management screwed us by not giving us information before the load-in, but that was their M.O., so we sort of knew. What none of us knew was that the scenery was built by a party design company and the plans (when we got them about 3 hours in) were nearly impossible to figure out, because they were all angular and not traditional scenery. We had to struggle to build the pieces on top of loading in a PD, a bunch of moving lights, and hanging a projector and screen. This was all a mess, but we managed and got all the pieces in the air.
As I mentioned before, this was a first for a lot of the players involved with this opera, so it was a bit of a fight to get all the pieces in place for the three performances we were doing. Like getting the projections to keystone correctly, and getting the producers and the directors to understand the choices the lighting designers were making, and for the lighting designers to continually changing focus points and cues to adjust to the changes in blocking and set pieces being moved by the production team.
And that fight continued through all of the performances. The first night during the first intermission shift there was a discussion backstage and they decided to rotate the position of the bed on its spikes, so it was no longer in the special that the designer had put there after copious notes about it. When the curtain came up, after I had been warned about it over com, the designer popped his head into the booth and said something to the effect of “That’s it, I’m done. I’ll be at the bar. Let me know how it goes”. I believe the first night was also the night that half the orchestra came back from the intermission, but the other half did not, so the curtain went up and the singers were sitting onstage waiting for a number of musicians to wander back into the pit. This was because stage management was not doing a great job of communicating with the conductor of the musicians.
The second night it came to our attention that the conductor had been let go, but no one else knew the track or how to conduct. So the only person who could even attempt to lead these musicians was the projectionist, because they were able to follow along in the music to time out their cues. With the projectionist going into the pit, that meant that there was no one to run projections, until the costume designer came up to the booth to run them, because he spoke the language and could follow along.
The third night of this opera began with a presentation of sorts to celebrate the fact that this was an achievement for this country that had never produced a native opera before, as well as the donors and production team that had put it together. What I found out over com was that the original conductor was there because he also was a producer of this piece, and got into a shouting match with the director and other producers about who would be conducting the piece for this final performance. I don’t recall who did it in the end, but I do know that we started late because of it.
This piece went on to be produced in a much much MUCH nicer and more prestigious venue the next year, but I never did get the story on how it went down as it was in another state. The design team was the same though. I should ask them…
So that wall of text was fun! Don’t we just love story time? Anyway, that’s a story of a wild ride of a production I experienced. You should come share stories with me here. Cause I know that’s how theater do.