‘Tis the season for feast or famine! Two weeks ago, I was practicing an old excerpt list and curling up late at night for some score study of an obscure opera, which was the second job I had in September. Fast forward six days and I was juggling Metro North schedules and newly orchestrated charts of one of my all-time favorite shows, Man of La Mancha. This production, at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT, is touching and incredibly well-staged. Here are a few things that make this special production work from an inside view!

If Life Gives You Cans, Use ‘Em

The first show I ever played on in NYC was the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City. The show works almost exclusively off of a click track, so playing with headphones off of a mixer is the bread of life in that situation. It’s second nature for me to plug and play, and this show is no exception to that rule. The nine musicians in the tiny ensemble for this show sit in the loge on both sides of the stage, and there is a slight delay on the monitor in front of each stand. Plug and play, baby, or I’ll be late, late, late to the rhythm section. I have to confess here, I always turn up the vocals and the stage directions, because it reminds me that what I’m doing is bigger than the ink in front of me.

Bring Snacks!

There is nothing worse than getting off of a train, heading to the theatre, and realizing that the Weight Watchers approved lunch I ate when I left my place didn’t have the lasting power I thought it did. These situations always remind me to bring some high-protein snacks for the next go. Hard-boiled eggs, small packs of nuts, and even those expensive little packs of hummus with carrots will definitely be in my bag the next time I get on the train. It’s also much easier to sleep after eating non-greasy snacks, as opposed to pizza that keeps me up with heartburn.

Enjoy Every Second

This production closes on October 14, and it’s simply too soon. The book is beautiful to play, the music is fun to perform and listen to, and the possibilities for sets are limited only by imagination, literally! I am usually a passing ship in the night, but I ache to have that permanent spot where I can take the lessons from the performance of the night before and apply them to the next night, and do it all over again. Right now, I have a chance to assess my performance and decipher just how much of it is due to technical difficulty and focus. I have a chance to grow by taking out that pesky element of the unexpected, which is so ingrained in the sub’s life, and I intend to make the most of knowing what’s around the corner for a change.

I am over the moon and googly-eyed for the horn book on this show! Today someone asked me “is playing the same show over and over again the reason you got into this business?” When it’sa juicy show like this, yes. And when it’s not a juicy show like this, but it makes everyone watching it so darn happy, well…yes.

Love to all of you who get to live the dream day in and day out, and special love to John-Morgan Bush, Sarah Boxmeyer, Kay Cummings, and Erin Paul for making it possible for me to have this show!