Our first week of rehearsals for Rumplestiltskin went really well. We spent two nights blocking the entire show. Wednesday and Thursday we rehearsed everything, and we'll be off script next week.
At the beginning of rehearal on Thursday, Ben, our director, said we had to be finished by 9:15 because we were having a special activity. We wrapped up at 9:10 and, Elaine, our musical director walked in. Whoa! Hold on a minute. No one told me there would be singing. In fact I probably wouldn't have tried out if I had known there was going to be singing. As we've previously established, I can carry a tune relatively well. But I have a few problems with the whole changing pitch issue and even greater problems with the whole singing in front of other people. The closest I get to an audience when I'm singing is the guy in the car next to me at a stop light. The only time I sing in public is when I have to go to church when we're visiting Kevin's parents. And then I mouth the words because they are all belting out like middle-aged Amy Grants and Michael W. Smiths (minus the cheesy George Michael 3-day stubble, of course.) Of course I would marry into a sickeningly musically talented family.
So Elaine hands us this sheet music, sits down at the piano and tells us to sight read. They've written an opening and a closing song specifically for the show. She cranks up the piano and I'm suddenly surrounded by Broadway-bound babes. Seriously. The vibrato and the overly enunciated "t"s and "n"s are deafening. I keep expecting someone to drop to one knee and shoot out the jazz hands right there in rehearsal.
Just when I thought I had made it through the first number, Elaine starts it again. She says,
"All of you who hear harmony, really have fun with it and play with it this time."
You've got to be kidding. All of you who hear harmony? I can barely hear the melody. The song (as cute as it is) was written for an 8-year old girl or a eunuch. (Now don't get all huffy on me. I know that not all eunuchs are countertenors. But writing about a eunuch is a lot less pretentious than writing about a countertenor. Don't you think?) Anyway, it's really high. If I could "hear" harmonies, I'd probably be in good shape because I could harmonize in a lower key. But, as we already established, I'm trying desperately to hear the melody. So I'm literally screeching along in the upper register.
In any other situation, I would pull an Ashlee Simpson, mouth the words and try to fade into the background. But we only have seven people in the show. And because it's an interactive fairy tale, we're supposed to be circulating throughout the audience as we're singing this song. Somehow I think people would notice if The Miller was only humming or mouthing.
I've been at the piano all weekend trying to stretch my vocal cords a little bit to reach a high D (eight times in the song!) We'll see how rehearsals go this week. I have noticed the Alex has been a little screechy this weekend. Not unhappy, just loud high-pitched vocalizing over and over again. I'm sure that my child thinks this primal screaming that Mommy has been doing is an acceptable form of communication. What have I gotten myself into?