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    Posted May 9, 2007

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Diary of a Dance Captain

By Michelle Kittrell - Dance Captain, LEGALLY BLONDE

Michelle Kittrell

At Home At The Palace! - Weeks 18 & 19

'Omigod!' We are open!!!!! As you can imagine, this is an amazing goal to achieve. It is such a marathon to get from the first day of rehearsal to the opening night at the famed Palace Theatre in New York that everyone is so elated and relieved that we all did it together!

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

The days leading up to the actual opening weren't unlike the weeks that preceded it. We continued to rehearse (for a few press events) during the day and do our show at night. Notes were still given and eight shows were still performed. The only difference is that on April 29 we performed the show for ourselves with great pride and excitement. The audience was amazing but even more spectacular were the parties...and there were a few! Everyone (creatives, producers, crew, cast, etc..) knew how to celebrate and it was done in full force that night...or should I say into the morning hours. Thankfully, we had the next two days off.

Co-Dance Captains, Michelle Kittrell and Rusty Mowery

Now that the show has officially opened and we are adjusting to our regular show schedule, we are really focusing on understudy and Swing rehearsals. We are back to basics with no technical elements and just some chairs and a few props with the focus on staging, choreography, and, of course, dialogue and songs. Understudies and Swings carry a heavy load and it can be very exhausting rehearsing in addition to the regular show schedule but it seems like everyone is up for the challenge and doing great work. Since I am an understudy, I wear a couple of "hats" because I'm also a Dance Captain. This actually works out fairly well since I can help direct, teach and adjust the choreography and musical staging onstage while actually going through the movement while Rusty, sitting in the house, has a different perspective to do the same as well as give specific notes after the number is complete. We definitely use team work as the Dance Captains and the Stage Managers work in tandem in conveying the creative intentions of the artistic staff to the understudies and Swings and that Rusty and I maintain the standards of all choreography and/or musical staging in the style, intent, technique and energy level of Jerry's direction. This includes notes, rehearsals and everything else in between ( backstage traffic patterns, quick costume changes, involvement with set changes, use of props and lighting cues!). A lot of hard work goes into the making of a well oiled machine called a Broadway show! And this work will continue in the form of auditioning new cast members in the future, maintaining Jerry Mitchell's original artistic vision for the show with notes and rehearsals, teaching and putting replacements into the show, and, hopefully, assisting with any additional companies of LEGALLY BLONDE.

Michelle Kittrell and Jerry Mitchell

I hope that my diary has shed some light onto what the duties of a Dance Captain entail and what goes into developing a new Broadway show. I also hope that it is appreciated how much work is done by the Swings, understudies, stage management and, of course, Dance Captains. These are the people that keep the ship afloat with great dedication, especially, once the show is open and running and that the company relies upon on a daily basis. Shows could not be successfully maintained without them.

Thank you so very much for continuing to read this diary and for the words of kindness. It has been a privilege to write about my experiences. Now....go see a Broadway show...and if it happens to be 'LEGALLY BLONDE'....."OMIGOD"...that would be great!'

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