Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I’m Officially a Rock Star

No, it’s true. That’s how the students that attended Beatrice & Benedict’s High School Night made me and the alternate cast feel throughout the performance and its red-carpet aftermath.

Last week saw 3 performances of the B&B alternate cast, which consisted of studio members Faith Sherman as Beatrice, Beau Gibson as Benedict, Caitlin Lynch as Hero, Jamie Barton as Ursula, and yours truly conducting. Tuesday and Friday mornings were for younger students at 10 am matinees, meaning that the singers were up at the crack of dawn to wake up and warm up their voices.

Every year HGO presents a special performance sold only to high school students, and the High School Night of this production on Wednesday will go down as one of the most special nights of theater that I’ve ever been a part of. The audience responded with the enthusiasm and transparency of a sporting event. They laughed, oohed, aahed, and vied for each character with palpable earnestness.

My favorite moment came when Beatrice and Benedict’s tension culminated with Benedict grasping Beatrice, saying, “But I will stop your mouth,” and planting a big black-and-white movie worthy kiss. What follows musically is the loudest moment in the entire score, but all I could really hear coming up over the pit were the cheers of approval that lasted the entire 2-minute number.

Afterwards, the red-carpet treatment came as Beau and Faith signed autographs for 100 eager audience members. Louisa Muller (who directed the alternate cast) and I shared moments in the literal spotlight as we were interviewed by students from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

It’s wonderful to be a part of such unadulterated energy, but mostly I’m just glad that we rocked it Berlioz style.