Things I Learned from 1440-Minute Musical

Omigod, omigod, you guys!  I just did a crazy thing- what a surprise!

If that just went through your head as a melody, you either just survived an incredible feat alongside me or you have a certain level of musical theater literacy.  Either way, I really just did do a “crazy” thing.  The student-led theater group on my campus just put on a musical after only 1440 minutes (twenty-four hours) of rehearsal.  When we auditioned for the project, we knew that we were auditioning for one of six musicals that were narrowed down in the week leading up to the rehearsal and performance until there were two choices left.  At 7 p.m. on Friday night, we all gathered and the show was announced (Legally Blonde, Jr.) and parts were handed out (I played Paulette).  And then we had 1440 minutes to learn all of the music, lines, blocking, and choreography to stage the show by 7 p.m. on Saturday night. This project was a fundraiser for an endowment fund that helps bring guest artists to campus.

This was such an amazing experience.  It was so rewarding to work so hard on one project for twenty-four hours straight and then see it come together.  And these past twenty-four hours have certainly taught me a lot, which means that you all get an extra “Things I Learned” article this semester!  So, here goes:

  1. It never hurts to have a wide base of musical theater knowledge.  I really would have helped myself if I’d started listening to the Legally Blonde soundtrack occasionally after I knew it was one of the choices (and subsequently, one of the top choices) for the musical.
  2. Once you grow into your voice naturally and you develop a certain level of classical technique, you’ll be able to belt so much better (see what I did there? ;)).
  3. Environment is everything.  I never would have been given the opportunity to play Paulette at my high school and not because I can’t play the role.  And more than that, in high school I would’ve believed that I couldn’t.
  4. I actually do like the music from Legally Blonde.
  5. Solfiegge actually does have a practical use.
  6. Applesauce missed its calling; it is meant to be drunk.
  7. Actually though, I am incapable of sleeping if it’s not pitch dark.
  8. The Time Warp exists; it is what happens when days begin to mold into one another because you haven’t slept.
  9. You don’t have to be a fantastic dancer to sell it; you just have to be confident.
  10. You will never grow as an artist if you are not pushed a little outside of your comfort zone or if you never test your limits.
  11. There’s a reason why I never pull all-nighters to study!  I can attest now from personal experience that sleep deprivtation inhibits memory recall because you skip an essential part of consolidation that happens during sleep.
  12. Sometimes you need a crash performance, sometimes you need a rally performance.
  13. If you forget the words to “Ireland,” just sing “Piano Man” instead.  It’ll work out.
  14. Treasure good improv/ad lib partners.  They’re not a guarantee.
  15. It’s a lot of fun to watch a performer commit to knowingly performing the “wrong” thing and just going with it by making up their own thing instead.
  16. Even if your rehearsal period is only twenty-four hours, there will be a moment, like with all rehearsal periods, when you doubt that it will all come together.  But it will.
  17. If you don’t wear a pair of pants regularly, you should probably check semi-regularly to at least see that they still fit…
  18. It’s amazing how close-knit a cast can become even in just twenty-four hours (especially if you spend all twenty-four of those hours together).
  19. If you can slip a good pop culture reference into an ad lib, it’s almost sure to land.
  20. The phrase “oh my god” will never be the same again.
  21. Your entire body will ache the next morning.
  22. The songs from this show are going to be stuck in my head for five-ever.
  23. You can accomplish incredible things in just twenty-four hours!

I cannot repeat how incredible this experience was.  I had so much fun.  I tackled a challenge.  I got to work with some really talented people: old friends and colleagues and new faces.

Special thanks to everyone in the cast, crew, and production team for being so positive, patient, and supportive.  Special thanks to my people who supported me through the audition process, went supply (caffeinated beverages and brain food) shopping with me, understood all of the many moods that I passed through over the course of the twenty-four hours, and built me up when I doubted myself (you know who you are).  Special thanks to Vivienne for killing the improv with me when we had to and for doing my fabulous hair that I got tons of compliments on.  Special thanks to my most common scene partners, Kyle and Elle, for being so talented and so much fun to share the stage with.  Special thanks to the production team for giving me this opportunity and for believing in me 100%.  Special thanks to the AMAZING audience we had who was so enthusiastic and ready to laugh at all of the good silly we had to offer.

After an incredible twenty-four hours and the twelve hours of sleep I got after it is all over, it is time to get back to the daily grind.  But I’ll carry this experience, the relationships I built or strengthened, and what I learned with me.

Until next time when I’ve learned more things! 😉

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