Well...tonight is closing night for Heathers at New Line Theater and I'm in one of those weird moods where I really don't know how to feel. I have been so blessed to have been a part of this beautifully talented cast and crew for this show. Every single person has taught me so much, it's crazy how much can change in just a few months. I came into this show thinking "oh this will be fun, it will definitely be interesting working with this new company and seeing how their process works and everything". And now all I keep thinking is that I want to do it over and over and over again.
There have been 3 main things that I've heard in the rehearsal/performances of this show that I have kept close and that I found changed me quite a bit.
1. The first day of rehearsal, our director, Scott Miller, told us that this show was not a comedy- don't play it like a comedy. I had no clue what he was talking about, because sure the off-Broadway version had it's dramatic moments but come on, with all of the sex talk and parties and hilarious characters, this show definitely was a comedy. But I had faith and rolled with the idea. It wasn't until we got on the actual stage and that's when it realized how freaking right he was. In that black box stage everything felt so intense and intimate and I just felt it was perfect for the show. Numbers that I didn't really care for became my absolute favorite moments of the entire show, specifically "Lifeboat" and "Meant To Be Yours" because of how damn powerful they were thanks to Larissa and Evan respectively. It's truly amazing what we've all done with this show.
2. This is a pretty simple one, but something I'd never thought of for some reason. The first week of music rehearsals, we went over the finale of the show. Jeffrey Carter, our music director was very precise with his directions which I enjoyed very much. Towards the end of the song, the entire cast joins Martha and Veronica with some "whoa"'s and back-up vocals and at first everyone just kind of saw the music and sang it. Jeffrey instantly stopped us and explained that at that moment in the show, our vocals were NOT our character's vocals, our vocals were "tone", nothing else. It hadn't really occurred to me to think of it that way, but it was so true and really added to the atmosphere of the show when everyone thought of it that way instead of just singing however they usually sang.
3. After a weekend of our show, we had a high school group stay after the show for a talk-back to ask the cast and crew question about the process of the show and acting and all sorts of things. I couldn't say that I remember what question sparked Evan to say what he said, but it definitely got me thinking. One of Evan's responses was that everyone on stage is there for each other. It's all about trust. Nobody in the cast wants you to fail and nobody in the audience wants you to fail. Everyone wants an amazing show and the cast is there to back you up. If you forget a line or miss a step or god-forbid, your microphone blows out for all of Act One (whoops), everything will be okay because you have 15 other people on stage to have your back. I mean hell, Victoria and Cameisha have to trust me every night to not drop them on the floor when they jump into my arms. Evan's got to trust me not to hit him too hard in the gut after "Blue (reprise)" (except for a couple times, sorry Evan) and I've got to give him that trust right back that he won't tackle me so hard that I fly into the audience after the same number. Everyone relies on each other on stage and if anything goes wrong (and it will) then everyone is there for you. Trust and rely on them and you'll be fine- there it is- the cure to all of my nerves on stage. Knowing that and remembering that lesson.
I've learned so goddamn much on the New Line stage and I couldn't be more thankful for it all. I can't wait to join several of them back on that same stage in March when American Idiot opens, but for now, all I can do is show up tonight and give it everything I've got to close out this show with a "kaboom". I love my entire cast and crew and can't wait to see what's next.