On a beautiful Tuesday evening, I visited with the cast and crew of SRO Production's [TITLE OF SHOW], written by Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen. They were hard at work in their intimate rehearsal space, and I was luckily enough to see them rehearse the rousing "Nine People's Favorite Thing" and "Die Vampire! Die!" If the small preview I saw, the camaraderie shown in the interview, and sheer amount of fun the cast and crew are having are any indication of what Houston audiences are in for, this is sure to be a stellar production.
Me: The music in this show can be really complicated (i.e. "Filling Out the Form). What has rehearsing these songs been like?
Erin Wasmund (playing Heidi): It's a little more complicated than you think it is. At first listen, you're like, "how nice." But there's so many jazz choruses and stuff like that. I mean, Jeff Bowen is so brilliant at what he does that for someone who doesn't necessarily know music very well or sometimes hearing your parts that never seems to fit...
Tyler Glindo (playing Jeff): [Interjecting] I am brilliant.
Tyler: I am brilliant.
Heather Hall (playing Susan): You don't have anyone to listen to. It's just yourself, and if you screw it up, it sounds bad.
Hunter Frederick (playing Hunter): Yeah. When I was listening to the show before I came to audition, before I had even seen the music, I was like "Oh. This is nice music!" I didn't realize-it didn't occur to me, for some reason-there was four voices making all that sound. It's because of the complex arrangements and things, and that means everybody gets their own part. They don't pull punches with harmonies and stuff. It's not baby stuff. I think it's great.
Tyler: Yeah. I agree. [Everyone laughs.]
Me: I just think about the fact that you have to rehearse wrong notes, so you can correctly sing wrong notes in the show. That's crazy to me.
Heather: Oh yeah. I do that. Except, I didn't learn a wrong note. I just sang it wrong. [Everyone laughs.]
Michael Taylor (the director of the production): Heather's been doing very, very well. She's used to-I think we had this discussion where you said you've always been either on top or with the melody.
Michael: And finding the middle is hard, hard, hard, hard, hard work.
Tyler: I can't find the middle.
Heather: I can't either
Michael: Yes, she can. Yes, she can.
Me: People easily relate to this show, even if they've never written or have no intention to ever write a musical. In your opinion, what makes this show so relatable to audiences?
Erin: At the risk of sounding cliché, it's about following your dreams. [Laughs] It doesn't matter what people think, just do it.
Tyler: I think, everybody's chased a dream and were told they weren't going to make it.
Erin [In a hushed sigh of a whisper, responding to Tyler's comment]: Damn it.
Michael: Especially, when they fiund out how real these people are on this level-on our level, on The Common man's level.
Hunter: Yeah, that's the thing. I think a big part of the show, of what they aspired to, was to try not to make it all pretty and Broadway, but to just let themselves be themselves and let their real selves remain, even through the edits.
Heather: I don't know if this is off topic, but what's also relatable to the audience is the humor and the references. They do talk about Roller Coaster Tycoon, which everyone, well, a lot of people, have played.
Erin: Only me, in this room, apparently. [The girls laugh.]
Michael: Was that Atari? Who puts that out?
Michael: Oh no, I've angered it!
Erin: It's a PC game from 1999!
Michael: I'm usually the youngest person, but as the years go by, I'm becoming more and more the oldest person in the room.
Erin: A joke he makes every rehearsal.