Steven Blier on the NYFOS@Juilliard Residency: Day 2, January 5
I slept badly last night and feared I would have a rough day of rehearsal. Catching sight of myself in the bathroom mirror this afternoon, I looked exhausted and pasty. But the music and the personnel had revived me. Like the guy in the looks-bad-feels-good joke, I was in great spirits in spite of the bellyache that had kept me up from 1:30 till 3 AM. And why not? I began the day by attacking yesterday’s two really disheveled ensemble pieces and they got spiffed up in less than half an hour. Then I had a 2-hour “Come-to-Jesus” session with Gerard who needed some help with his guitar contributions to the show. By the time we got back downstairs to rejoin the group, we’d cleaned up the chord progressions and strums for almost everything he was to play. To celebrate, I gave myself a rare treat for lunch—don’t laugh—a big box of rice, which is like having two huge slices of pecan pie à la mode if (like me) you have been on a low-carb diet since June 1.
It’s the week before classes start and we have the run of the building. The elevators arrive seconds after you press the button. The school isn’t deserted but it isn’t tense. And in room 335 the music is just pouring out of my cast. Mary Birnbaum and Adam Cates staged five numbers today, including the Carmen Miranda medley in which Kelsey Lauritano has shed most of her inhibitions. Who wouldn’t, flanked by the pelvic gyrations of those twin peaks known as Sam Levine and Dimitri Katotakis? Everyone, in fact, is zooming around the rehearsal hall with a zany lightness that is most un-Juilliardian, uninhibited, unguarded. And I myself found a way to zoom, not on my feet but in my soul. Occasionally, even my fingers were zooming too.
HERE ARE THE WOMEN IN THE CAST: CHRISTINE PRICE, AMANDA LYNN BOTTOMS, MIKAELA BENNETT, AND KELSEY LAURITANO. MY MUSES.
AND HERE IS KELSEY FLANKED BY SAM AND DIMITRI GOING NATIVE,
AS MIKAELA AND AMANDA EXAMINE THE GOODS AND GERARD PROVIDES THE RHYTHM,
UNDER ADAM’S AND MARY’S WATCHFUL EYES:
Come hear Steven Blier and these young talents in Harry, Hoagy, and Harold on January 13, 7:30pm at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at The Juilliard School (tickets here) or on January 17, 3pm at Flushing Town Hall (tickets here).