BWW Blog: Cody Williams of R+H's CINDERELLA - Sitzprobe!
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by Guest Blogger: Cody Williams
It could have been my head was cloudy from taking in everything new from tech, or maybe it was because I was trying so hard to learn my understudy roles, but when I saw on our daily schedule that we had a sitzprobe coming up I thought, "Oh nice. It's our sitzprobe." Considering I am privileged to help ORIGINATE a RODGERS + HAMMERSTEIN MUSICAL on BROADWAY, my response to seeing sitzprobe on our daily schedule should have been something more along the lines of, "AAaaaaaahhhhhsitzprobeaaaaaaAaaaaaaAAAHHHH!!!!!!!" (For anyone who doesn't know, sitzprobe, German for seated rehearsal, is the first time that singers get to sit down and make music with the orchestra.)
I'm not exactly sure what made me first comprehend how lucky I was to be "sitz-ing" there. Maybe it was seeing the room set up for a 20-piece orchestra (how did I not realize we had a 20-piece orchestra???). It could have been seeing everyone a little misty eyed, or seeing Josh Rhodes extremely misty eyed. It definitely had something to do with seeing our music director and conductor, Andy Einhorn, move with all the passion and vigor of an eagle. (Andy is the Gustavo Dudamel of Broadway ~ A Rodgers + Hammerstein rock star!) As he stood on the podium with the grace of an Olympic gold medalist, he (as we used to say in Memphis) "went in!" I would say that David Chase's brilliant nuggets of insight could have been what made me realize the magnitude of the moment, but he says extraordinary things every time he works with us. I guess I understood how special this experience was when I heard the orchestra play this beautiful music for the first time. A sitzprobe for a Broadway production of Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella is something Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein never got to experience. Everyone in that room at Carroll Music Studios cherished the opportunity to hear this incredible music come alive for the first time with a Broadway orchestra.
Our orchestra sounds fantastic! It was stunning to hear them play with such incredible musicality after having so few rehearsals. Our orchestrator, Danny Troob, has done such an amazing job on this show. When I listened to his work, I heard each character's subtext and inner thoughts coming to life. Listening to our orchestra that day taught me that having a full orchestra is such a gift to an actor.
David Chase, our music supervisor, ran the sitzprobe in such an informative way. After running a number with everyone, he would ask the orchestra to play it again without us. Discovering the details in each song was an incredible experience. Seeing the joy on Ted Chapin's (President of Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization) face and watching David Chase point out specific details with such excitement and enthusiasm was so special.
During the sitzprobe, I was sitting next to fellow castmate Shonica Gooden. She took a liking to the bass that I feel is worthy of mentioning. My favorite quote of the day happened when she turned to me and said, "You can't tell me that instrument don't make you feel some kinda way!"
Let me know your favorite Rodgers +Hammerstein show on Twitter @odyilliams