Posted: 9/6/2013 8:46:14 AM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 10/6/2007


We had the first Blue Man Group dress rehearsal at the Bowl yesterday (Wednesday).

It was just one train wreck after another.

For my part, I had told them before they even hired me that I needed to have at least a 5-ft. radius all around the instrument, and that it had to be powered on and tuned (calibrated) before I went on-stage. I couldn't just flip the power switch and begin playing.

What they were planning to do was have me on a rolling cart about 5 ft. wide and 7 ft. long. I was to be pushed out onstage about 30 seconds before beginning to play. For all the preliminary rehearsals, the cart was set in place already and I just walked out with a Blue Man leading me when I was supposed to play instead of rolling me out, so getting the instrument ready was never an issue since it was already on-stage.

Yesterday I kept waiting and waiting up in my dressing room to be called to the stage to do a sound check before the dress rehearsal, and that's when I was going to make sure the theremin was on and tuned. I never got called down there.

The next thing I knew, I heard over the intercom in the dressing room, "Would Bolero Guest Artists please report to the stage immediately. It was close to 9:00 p.m. and the dress rehearsal was supposed to have started at 8:00 so I had a feeling things weren't going very well.

I got down there and found the rolling cart with my theremin backstage in a narrow hallway just wide enough to accommodate the width of the cart about 6 inches on each side. There was no way I was going to be able to tune the theremin in such close quarters. Especially since another cart was parked right in front of me that had a wide upright section with closely spaced metal bars. The theremin's antennas were about 3 inches away from the bars on that cart. Not Good.

To make the impending disaster even worse, the Blue Man who was supposed to push me out was late getting to me. I had to turn the theremin on and was frantically fiddling with the controls as I was rolling on-stage, literally one measure before I was supposed to start playing. I tried to play, but got nothing but moans and squawks from the theremin because it wasn't adjusted properly. The orchestra conductor looked at me with a puzzled, bemused look on his face. All I could do was shrug. There was no way I could play a single note.

After I was pushed back offstage the stage manager hurried over and stage-whispered, "What happened?" I explained the problem. He asked me to write this all up and email it to him so he could discuss the issues at the production meeting the following morning.

I didn't hear anything all day, and took that as a bad sign. I should have gotten an email with the schedule for Friday. Then around 6:00 p.m. I got a phone call from one of the production staff members. She said, "As you know, we had a lot of timing and logistics problems at the dress rehearsal last night. We've had to make some hard decisions in terms of getting the show running smoothly, and one of the hard decisions we had to make was to cut the theremin."

She went on, "Please know, this is absolutely no reflection on you or your talents. We are all amazed by your skill on the theremin. You've been one of our favorite guests and we greatly appreciate all the hard work you've put into the show. But the special challenges that the instrument have presented are just to great to fix in such a short amount of time."

I said, "Well, I know this was a difficult phone call for you to make and I appreciate your bringing the bad news so gracefully and tactfully, but of course I can't pretend that this isn't very hard to hear. It's obviously a great disappointment to me. I did make very clear the special requirements that the theremin would require."

She said, "Yes, I do understand and again we're all very sorry. We're just not going to be able to make it work. We will of course still pay you for your work and again thank you very much for your time and work, and we are really very sorry to have to do this."


What can I say.

"It's a bust."

Posted: 9/6/2013 9:05:01 AM

Joined: 3/30/2012

Quote: the stage manager hurried over and stage-whispered, "What happened?"

Well, I think that should have been the other way around. Seems to me the stage manager ought to know and be able to tell you exactly what's going on, or he's not in control of the rehearsal -- as he should be.

Small consolation I know, but at least they have agreed to pay you.



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