Candide - Day One! We started with a meet and greet of all the Arden staff. With 20 cast members, plus music directors, choreographer, dramaturg, assistant director, understudies, and the Arden staff, the room was full. Even after the staff left, I had trouble recognizing who was in the cast and who was on the artistic team.
Paperwork flew next as the cast finished up contracts and the costume department took measurements. After a presentation of the set and costumes, we finally got down to business. It's always a day of massive activity and answering questions. Getting those out of the way, the music director took the reins and began teaching some of the more difficult songs of the score. The little rehearsal room could barely contain the symphony of voices and we saw a glimpse of the final product as each voice found its own in the music.
The dramaturg, Jackie Goldfinger, did a brief history of the book and the show. The cast began asking questions that will continue to be explored over the next few weeks. I could see the seeds of ideas beginning to germinate in the actors' heads.
By the end of the day, my assistant, Alec Ferrell and I had between us, learned everyone's name. Not bad for a first day.