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    Posted December 18, 2006

Diary of a Dance Captain

By Michelle Kittrell - Dance Captain, LEGALLY BLONDE

Michelle Kittrell

Week Two - New York City

Since my last entry, I've been privy to a few production meetings involving various departments. For example, the design team with David Rockwell, props, etc. It's fascinating how detailed a conversation can be about a chair. The color, the texture, the shape, etc. I would expect that for the elevator in the deck....but for a chair? Fascinating.

We have two dogs in the show as well: Chico the Chihuahua and Chloe the bulldog. There are also understudy dogs: Teddy for Chico and ZZ for Chloe. These dogs have been rescued from an animal shelter and are sooooo loved. You will be amazed by what tricks these dogs can do. They came in the third week of pre-production to show their stuff. It's great to have them every day in the room with us.

Diary Entries

I was asked to write a journal for Equity's website to explain what the position of Dance Captain entails from the ground up on a new Broadway musical. In my case, LEGALLY BLONDE.

Read All the entries:
Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Weeks Four & Five
Week Six
Weeks Seven & Eight
Weeks Nine & Ten
Week Eleven
Weeks Twelve & Thirteen
Weeks Fourteen & Fifteen
Weeks Sixteen & Seventeen
Weeks Eighteen & Nineteen

Last week was jam packed with staging, choreography, LOTS of singing, 9 am costume fittings, jump roping and playing with the dogs. (That happened more on our breaks but we all seem to be slightly distracted with those cute faces staring at us during scenes. And when they start barking, we can't help but giggle).

Rusty and I have been working on our 'make shift' charts. Since the show is still a work in progress, we haven't begun using the real charts (which are small replicas of what the stage looks like). Instead, we have one large tablet that either of us uses to document the actor's placement in musical numbers that gets erased and changed constantly. Once things are a little more set, we will then make our own individual books with the real charts. This book will then be known as our "Show Bible" which will contain all the staging, choreography, backstage traffic patterns, quick costumes changes, involvement with set changes, use of props, lighting cues and all scene transitions for all the principal and chorus "tracks" in the show ( a "track" is an actors' show from curtain up to curtain down.) We are no where close to completing that task. Probably not until we open in April will that even be a possibility as things are constantly changing, growing, or getting cut!

"Road trip, road trip!" as the Delta Nu sisters say. (LEGALLY BLONDE takes place in the Delta Nu sorority house and we are Elle's, the leading lady, best girlfriends). Well, we did just that! Jerry and the Stage Managers took all the Delta Nu sisters and another cast member who shares the "house" along with Denis and Rusty to the shop, in Connecticut, where the set is being built. This was amazing! In all the productions I've been involved with, this has never happened. It was very exciting - especially since it got us out of jump roping that day! We took a bus to the shop and walked in to see this enormous sorority house hanging from the rafters. The main objective was to get a feel of what the house really looks like since there is no way to truly replicate the levels in the rehearsal room. There are specific ways to get up and down on these levels and until we saw the actual set piece none of us really understood how this was happening. We also saw other pieces, like the hair salon and the Harvard set. It's so amazing to visualize these huge pieces on the actual stage, with lights hitting them, and how impressive that will be. I can't wait! We weren't there for too long...just long enough to distract the people working (I don't think they are used to a bunch of giggly girls walking into their shop!) We then re -loaded the bus and began our journey back to the city. The trip was also a great bonding experience which is important since we play 'sisters' in the show. We were all thankful that Jerry took us along for the ride.

By the end of the week, we had completed Act 1. Granted, there is still lots of work to be done but everything was put on its feet and we started to get a feel of how the show moved. The producers came to watch our rough 'work through'. They are all so supportive that the cast is always happy to see them walk into the room. (In fact, they are so supportive that they are participating with our Secret Santa game. How's that for 'cool' producers!?)

We begin working on Act 2 on Monday so we are plowing ahead. I will tell you all about with my next please check back!

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