Me, Dorothy … and This Road to Oz

FULL EPISODE

Me, Dorothy...and This Road to Oz

Me, Dorothy…and This Road to Oz is an unprecedented immersive trip down the yellow brick road with the Kansas City Ballet as the cast and crew prepare for the world premiere of The Wizard of Oz. Follow composers, choreographers, costume designers, and dancers from first read through the final bow.

AIRED: November 16, 2018 | 0:56:46
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

(somber orchestral music)

(phone dings)

- [Amanda] My name is Amanda DeVenuta

and I'm a professional dancer

with the Kansas City Ballet.

I am going on my fifth season with the company,

and I'm really looking forward to performing

the role of Dorothy in the world premier

of Wizard of Oz.

Ballet is the meaning of life.

When I was three years old,

I walked on my tippy toes before I walked flat foot.

That's where I felt like I belonged,

and I really feel like that is my life purpose.

That I was put here to dance,

because when I'm on stage,

the feeling is indescribable.

I feel the most alive.

I feel the most myself.

I'm able to express all these different things

inside me that I don't even really understand,

and I think as humans,

we have so many things that we're constantly

searching for and trying to understand about ourselves,

and for me instead of trying to define it,

I dance it.

(phone dings)

(orchestral music)

(piano music)

(phone dings)

- A lot led up to becoming an artistic director,

25, 20 years or so of professional performing,

and 15 years of middle management,

if you want to call it.

Being a ballet master or associate director,

but when I came to Kansas City Ballet,

was kind of the proverbial, the buck stops at the desk.

Well, it's the artistic products stops at my desk,

so I've learned

how wonderful it is

to go on that adventure with audience members

over the years that have enjoyed

a lot of works that I've presented in the past

five years or so that I've been here now,

and I care about them,

and I want them to have a great time

every time they sit in their seat,

and the lights go out and the curtain goes up.

I really want them genuinely to enjoy themselves,

and the other side of that

is what's behind the curtain.

Our company has 30 professionals

and 15 second company members,

so that's 45 individuals that I'm responsible for,

for their careers.

That's a lot, you know.

I make decisions that affect their careers,

and in this business,

particularly in the dance business, ballet world,

the career is extremely short,

unlike a symphonic musician or an operatic singer.

You know, a dancer has,

a good career is 15 years and you're done

of professional experiences,

so the time on stage is brief

and sweet and precious.

(tranquil music)

- [Amanda] Takes me a little bit longer

to sew my pointe shoes than most people.

Most dancers use floss,

and it's apparently stronger than thread,

so you really only need like five stitches,

but I like to use normal sewing thread,

so I can have different colors and stuff.

It's fun for me.

It's therapeutic,

that it takes this long.

(piano music)

(phone dings)

Class is a dancer's morning ritual.

It's something that we do every day

to warm up our bodies and prepare us

for the long rehearsal day ahead.

We usually spend about 45 minutes

at the bar and that's where you have one hand

supporting you and you do the right side,

then the left side, and that's preparing us to be

in center and to dance freely.

- Back five and six and seven.

(speaks in foreign language)

Slide forward and slide back, one, cut,

and an 18 first, bending and stretching,

demi, demi, grand plié.

The usual squat back to first, and go ahead.

- Excited and anxious to get started

because when I hear 75 days out

and the ballet is not choreographed yet,

it's a lot to take in,

but usually with new productions like this,

I find that we're working on stuff

and changing things down to the last minute,

but for me,

it's fun to do that.

It keeps it fresh, it keeps it,

it keeps the mind racing.

I'm really looking forward to having Septime back.

I really enjoyed working with him.

(cheerful music)

- Audiences come with a strong expectation.

You don't want to disappoint them,

but I believe if I'm really successful,

I will be successful in a certain kind of bait and switch

that you provide enough of what the audience expects,

so they accept it,

but you provide it in a surprising way.

I don't wanna show them the movie.

They can just rent that on Netflix.

There's no reason to do a ballet

if you can't illuminate a facet of the story

that's not already illuminated by other forms,

so the ballet has to be different than

the book or the film,

otherwise there's no point to do it.

We've gotta find some aspect of the story

that can't be illuminated by the spoken word,

something that ballet does that dance does

better than words do,

which is to embody emotional content,

so the grand themes of good versus evil,

of friendship, these kinds of things

are at the heart of what ballet does well,

because we're doing it without language,

we're unencumbered by that,

and that's what, certainly, I'm focusing on,

is illuminating a different facet

of a well known story.

(Septime vocalizes)

I like that a lot.

(phone dings)

There you go, what I'm saying.

(Septime vocalizes)

I think we should put, really,

we should be in parallel,

and Glinda up on white shoes.

Kind of passing the white and black shoes.

Now.

What's her leg?

Straight leg, turned out, same thing.

- Person that started to talk to

a variety of companies to see about,

and measure their interest was Septime Webber,

the choreographer,

some were interested, some thought about it for awhile.

At the end of the day, there were three companies

that agreed that this would be an interesting project.

We're working with Colorado Ballet,

out in Denver and Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet

out of Winnipeg Manitoba.

It's a very cost efficient way

to be able to spend a significant amount of money,

significant in the sense of getting a high quality

production with really a bevy of high end creative artists.

(vibrant music)

- Three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

(phone dings)

One, two, three, four, five, six, go seven, eight.

Go faster, fast, fast.

Four, five, six, seven, eight.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Go, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

For me it starts with the source material,

so I read the book,

and some of the other,

the sequels, a number of times.

I've certainly watched the film,

and watched The Wiz and some other source material,

but mostly from the book wrote a libretto

which was essential an order of scenes,

and I wrote it in detail enough

that the composer could write music,

it literally starts with farm hands doing their chores,

an energetic dance where we see

the characters of the three farm hands

who will become the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow,

two minutes and 15 seconds.

(lively string music)

Inside there's a 16 measure passage

for Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.

Dorothy enters, two minutes.

We see her alone, we see Toto comforting her,

et cetera, for two hours,

so this libretto is essentially an outline

of scenes and in that process,

I discover what scenes I will include,

what scenes I will excise, how it will be different,

the book is quite long,

what elements from the book will I,

that were not included in the movie,

might we include,

how there might be some things

that are particular to my take on the source material,

which I've been living with Wizard of Oz

since I was six years old.

It's been really important to me,

so the first step is developing a libretto

and that me work with the composer for six months.

(dramatic music)

- You have to sit down with a choreographer

and, in this case, Septime and I sat down together

to talk about the story,

and how we were gonna portray

this amazing journey of Dorothy through the Wizard of Oz,

and not just referencing the film,

but also, through the book,

so start with the book,

and of course you can't ignore the film,

so you start with the story,

how are you gonna turn that story into a ballet

and that conversation moves forward,

and of course what comes first, really, the music,

because you have to think about,

okay, Dorothy's in Kansas, what does that sound like?

In the case of this show,

we have a lot of fun references

to popular music and Septime likes to play with

a lot of those references in the dance,

and so I'll listen to a lot of music,

we will listen to a lot of music and say,

is this how the Lion is feeling?

He wanted sort of a disco feel, cool feel,

for the Lion,

more down home country feel for the Scarecrow,

and the Tin Man had a soulful feel,

but the Tin Man's fun because I can use sound effects

with the oil can,

so I love sound effects,

and I love to integrate the sound effects

then into melodies that describe these characters.

(playful music)

(bell rings)

The bicycle bell that's used in the show,

I picked out of a box of 20 children's bicycle bells.

The one that sounded the best,

and then I mounted it on a stick,

so the percussion play can play the bicycle bell

with his thumb.

(laughs)

(bell rings)

- Oh, are you gonna start?

We're going.

- Oh, yeah, it's okay.

- We're going. - It's okay, this is good.

- All right.

You pat, take his hand over there.

He's got you.

- You know, at first it was just,

I was picked for the photo shoot

for Wizard of Oz,

and you know, usually that means

you've gotten the part,

but there's always that chance

that you're just a good face for it,

but you know, in, I think it was January or February,

Septime came for a week,

and started choreographing,

and he worked with me one and one,

and we were just,

we just fed off of each other's energy.

- I think a dancer, a really great dancer

that compels me to collaborate with them

in a role like Dorothy

has certainly great technique, steely technique,

and also an appropriate physicality for the role,

but the passion that's so important,

amounts to a confluence of fearlessness,

and factor X.

Factor X is that ability

to take what's inside of them

and spill it outside of them to the audience.

All of the dancers in Kansas City Ballet

are passionate about their doing.

You wouldn't get to where,

that level if you're not,

but what's really special

is to be able to have that then

manifest itself into some kind of,

not exactly charisma,

because that sounds superficial, actually.

The ability to actually have the passion

show itself, radiate,

that's the factor X,

and also kind of a go for broke,

Dorothy was like a go for broke kind of gal,

and so I wanted that physicality, that readiness,

and Amanda has that in spades.

She just a go for it kind of gal.

(machine hums)

(dramatic music)

(phone dings)

- [Amanda] I remember as a little girl

going into the Boston Ballet costume shop,

and just being in awe of it.

The work and intricate details

that go into making a costume

or a tutu is so beautiful,

and luckily for the Wizard of Oz,

this is the first time I've had a costume

made on me to my measurements,

and it fits me perfectly,

and that's gonna be an amazing experience

to dance in something that feels like second skin on me.

(sweeping music)

- Of course we have the, also the impression

that a costume designer, it's very glamorous life, right?

You draw and then we finish,

and no, it's about five minutes, right?

This is five minutes,

and the rest of the whole hour is 55 minutes

or to choose fabric, to direct the shop

or the tailors about the way you wanted

things to be cut and the fits,

and then you follow the process of the production

of the costume, then the fittings,

the never ending fittings to make sure

that your idea really is reflected by the fabrics

and the shape and the fit, especially the fit,

and if it's comfortable,

and then you follow them on stage,

where you attend all these endless rehearsals

with the costumes or without,

to really understand what's going on,

and then you get to the premiere.

It's a process of many, many months,

and it's a very laborious,

because you first sketch,

and then you have to adjust your sketches

to the demands, depending technical demands,

budget, also changes,

or what the choreographer's vision

or director's, as a change,

it's a lot of hours.

(phone dings)

- [Male Therapist] Start with your glutes and then I'm

gonna work my way down.

- Just straighten that.

How's everything been going?

- [Amanda] Good, weird.

Piecing things together.

- And it's almost all done.

- [Amanda] Yes, it excites me so much,

that I know how to get from one scene to another.

- Yeah, yeah.

- [Amanda] Ballet, as natural as it feels to me,

it's very unnatural for our bodies

to be doing the things that we're

forcing it to do,

and so that creates a shorter time span

on our careers, unfortunately.

The ballet provides physical therapy

for when things on our body are hurting.

But then I also think it's important

to be healthy in the way that

you're feeding yourself with things

that also feed your soul,

even if they're not super healthy,

so I love donuts for example,

that's obviously not a food

that a ballet dancer should be consuming all that much,

and I try and maintain a healthy diet

but also have balance and not

eliminate the things that make me happy

or bring me joy.

(phone dings)

(Amanda laughs)

- Your bows aren't straight.

Darn it.

There's a height difference of the bows

by this much.

- Yeah, she redid my braids.

- This bow is lower and this bow is higher.

I wonder if we could fake it.

Pull this bow down.

We can't pull this bow up.

- Oh, I'm sure.

You can probably pull the whole thing down--

- Are these just tied? - A little.

Yeah.

- Oh, oh, oh, okay, yeah, I'll do that.

Great braids.

And they're not tied sideways,

they're tied, okay, that's close enough.

Now we gotta get the bow so it goes this way

as opposed to that way.

- Oh.

- And I don't know how to twist that

so it will stay.

See that one's nice, it's going like that.

- Yeah.

- Look at this one over here. - Yeah.

- See how it's up and down?

Okay that might work,

except I need to get rid of...

Oh.

- And I can't really see it.

I can kind of.

- Well, it's not...

I'm gonna cut some of that ribbon.

The ribbons are the same length.

- Huh.

- So many the bows might be a little smaller

on one side than the other.

- Right.

Yeah, and I think the bows are a little too big,

so now we cut.

(Amanda laughs)

You got that?

Got it?

Okay.

Okay.

Oh, I get so nervous cutting things.

Don't wanna do it wrong, there we go.

Now-- - Thank you.

- You're symmetric.

- God is in the details, of course,

and over time, when you're a choreographer

or a director,

and even as a dancer,

we're used to looking in the mirror

and seeing what's wrong.

That's what we do.

We dance in front of the mirror,

we dance in front of the mirror,

not to admire ourselves,

but to correct ourselves.

That's the function of that mirror

in the front of the studio.

Is to see what's wrong,

to make sure everything is right

and precisely in place.

What this does over time,

is it refines your eye,

so you can look at something and see precisely

what it needs to be,

and then as a choreographer,

I am looking for certain shapes

or stage pictures or I'm looking to discover something.

I'm looking with my refined point of view.

It's not that I refined taste,

but over time, I've refined the kind of shapes,

the kind of stage images

that seem to be logical to me,

to fulfill the storytelling needs,

and that means how you place a corps,

the ballet, how you position people on stage,

it means how long the ribbons should be

on Dorothy's pigtails,

it means how high the rods should be on the puppet

that's gonna fly by,

just virtually every detail,

a decision needs to be made.

- So this is one of our big wing monkey puppets,

and we have a scene,

of course this is an iconic piece

in the movie and we want to honor that in our piece,

and so we have a scene that has just a field,

an ocean of these puppets.

This is the largest one,

and then we have one that's about three quarters this size,

and another one that's just, you know, 18 inches tall,

and there is about, over 30 of them in all,

and they just fill the stage,

just to force the perspective,

and these are gonna be increased by the projections

behind the puppets,

so it just feels like it's an infinite field

of these puppets,

but it's very simple.

It's just a monkey on a stick,

but it has some really nice flow to it.

Let's see how we can do,

like I was saying, I think I mentioned yesterday,

a good way to do that,

instead of doing this.

(grunts)

A good way to do an angle change,

is the think about your upper hand

being your pivot point,

so you can even move it up a bit,

and just, you're just doing a pivot like that.

(piano music)

Mostly, I've always been into art growing up,

and I certainly watched Sesame Street a lot growing up.

That was, I grew up in rural Quebec,

and in a small town,

and so having Sesame Street was a great way

to bring international quality art

into my living room,

and so I was definitely exposed

to a lot of puppets at that point,

but I was mostly just interested in art in general,

and I did a few things.

I went to animation for a bit.

I did fine arts,

and then I decided to try theater,

and it was all about storytelling.

I like art but I also like characters and storytelling,

and the other thing is,

on my journey throughout these different disciplines,

is I notice I don't just like drawing,

like in animation.

Animation's really fun,

but it's just drawing.

I like drawing but I like making costumes,

I like doing voices, I like building mechanics,

I like painting, sculpting.

I like doing all those things.

I didn't wanna restrict myself to just one medium,

and so puppets became,

well, it was always in the background in my head,

but they became a really viable option

to really take advantage of all those disciplines,

and so I started that in 2013,

and it's been a fantastic journey.

This is Toto.

He's one of our main characters,

and he was built by Dan Luis in Portland, Oregon.

One of the best, not only puppet builders,

but puppeteers that I know,

and we wanted to get him to build this puppet,

'cause this is one of the main characters,

and he has to have a lot of life

and a lot of sensitivity,

and he's really good at creating that,

so this puppet is actually very simple.

He's just got these sprung legs,

and he's got a head rod and he's got a body rod,

and everything is done from these two rods.

There's no triggers, pull strings,

batteries, electronics.

It's very low tech,

and we wanted to be very simple,

but very sensitive and lifelike,

and so he can do almost anything

a real dog can do,

and so we're gonna be working

with the performer to not only give him life

but find some nice connections with Dorothy,

because they're best friends,

and we wanna build that friendship.

(string music)

(bell rings)

(phone dings)

(playful music)

(bell rings)

(audience applauds)

(orchestral music)

- During Wizard of Oz,

I don't think I had ever been as tired

as I was during this process,

but for me, I actually feel more energized

and awake when I've had a long day,

even though my body is physically more tired.

Mentally, I guess I've been charged,

all day long with doing what I love non stop

from hour to hour so I feel very full

and rewarded at the end of each rehearsal day.

(phone dings)

(sweeping music)

(dramatic music)

- To be successful, it's not a matter of multi-tasking,

it's a matter of changing gears very quickly,

being really on task 100%,

and then as soon as that task is over, changing gears 100%

and be 100% focused on the next task.

You can't be successful without being 100%

in the moment,

with all the different tasks,

and there's a lot of different tasks.

(dramatic music)

- As a kid, I loved architecture.

Didn't seem like an option for me,

and I truly had to find set design.

It took me a while.

I started out in music,

and then from music, I got into design,

and then, actually my MFA is in costume design,

and somewhere in there,

all the loves combined.

I think it's actually one of the best things possible

is to be given the opportunity to reimagine.

You're just walking in as an audience member

and bringing wherever you are that day,

and throwing it on the blank canvas in front of you,

anyway, so whatever you see,

you're gonna project how you feel that day on it.

That's where we start.

(workers chat)

- There are some ballets that I've done

throughout my career that don't really have

any props or sets or specific lighting,

and then it's up to the audience members

themselves to create and imagine

what picture we're trying to paint as dancers,

and that's also fun in it's own way.

I was constantly amazed and surprised,

and there were some shows

that midway through the performances,

I would notice something on the screen

that was being projecting during the yellow brick road

scene that I had never seen before,

and it was amazing to me that

so much went into telling the story

the best way they could tell it.

- So the matrix will have one of the sends,

and then, once we program the sends inside

of wash out, we'll be able to switch it up,

so output one here,

comes into input one here,

which becomes however many outputs we want,

so input one and input four

will also, will go to output one, et cetera,

so that we have a full tracking backup

with the whole system.

- Being a set designer is part of storytelling,

but it's truly just a part of storytelling,

and the first thing is,

you have to be happy to be part of a group,

you have to be happy telling the story

with a group of people

and not just it being about you

and your own expression.

(dramatic music)

- The thing about lighting design

is the fact that you can affect a show

the same way an actor can.

You have control over the environment, the mood,

one single light source can say a lot,

and help an actor say a lot.

One single light source can help a dancer say a lot.

A lighting designer is really the last person

in the door.

Sound designers are as well,

and the fact that the two of us

come into the theater,

and we're the ones that are producing.

It's hard to show sound

and it's hard to show lights,

until you're actually really in the space,

and so we're the ones that really have

the most pressure to sort of,

I always call it design on a dime.

It's like you're forced to just churn it out

right then an there,

It's in color.

- It looks so good.

- We're making a big difference between realism

and non-realism.

Once she lands in Oz,

it's a truly fantasy, pop art driven world.

(playful music)

(suspenseful music)

(phone dings)

- [Worker] Come down a little bit.

Put the wheels between your legs,

grab the handlebars.

There.

- I'm just definitely popping a wheely.

I'm totally like this.

I actually feel like maybe something ripped

a little bit back there but--

- [Worker] He's redoing that.

- Because we're actually such good friends

in real life,

I just pretend that she's not Amanda,

and I really take it in.

When I'm in rehearsal, I become my character,

so I'm no longer Danny.

I'm Ms. Gulch or Wicked Witch,

and so when I look at her,

she really is Dorothy and--

- And I'm really scared of you.

- I'm, right?

During the tornado scene,

I'm riding a bike

on wires, flying, riding a bike,

and then I apparently have seven minutes

and 35 seconds to get painted and change

into Wicked Witch.

(suspenseful music)

- The fun when there's, like, not just straight across

but also have a little bit there--

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- You can do a loop as you're running,

you know, run, and loop, then run on one side,

then we go down, so each pass

has a different kind of decorative thing.

(suspenseful music)

(audience applauds)

- [Male Dancer] We're walking there.

- Excited.

I'm like--

- Do you know what they're doing, this here,

like around--

- I'm not sure because I'm gonna coming,

I'm gonna be flying off the little bed.

- [Stage Hand] Cameron, Elizabeth.

- So I'm just be going straight up,

I'm guessing, this middle one.

This was my first time flying ever in a ballet production.

I asked the crew members,

is there anything specific I should do,

and really the only thing they said was

to keep my focus up,

'cause if I put my head down,

that was a lot of weight going forward,

and with the lighting, it would just cast shadows

on my face and they said to keep my legs

as mobile as possible

because the tornado scene lasted for a very long time,

they said I could actually lose circulation in my legs

if I don't keep them moving.

(suspenseful music)

(phone dings)

(orchestral music)

- What do you do when you find out

you have a world premiere commission?

As a music director,

my first interests are

what instruments are you going to write for

and talk about that,

because we need to have the right instruments

in the orchestra pit,

and how big of an orchestra do you need

and all of those things that we work out

with the composer before he ever puts

a note on the piece of paper,

so we had worked through all of that with him,

and I have the score now.

It's this big pile here on my desk.

This is a conductor's score,

all 471 pages of it.

So if you read straight down on a line,

this is one bar of music,

and these are all the instruments

that are playing at the same time.

Now when I saw the score,

which was fairly recently because it's been

quite an epic mission for him

to write this much music,

I found out all sorts of wonderful things

that he'd done in the score.

For example, our percussion section plays 33

different instruments during the course of the ballet,

so there's lots of wonderful sound effects

and interesting ways that he's used

to create rhythms.

He also put in a tenor saxophone.

Very unusual for a symphony orchestra,

that's usually an instrument you associate with jazz,

so just thinking about that a little bit,

maybe there's a little jazz in this score,

which makes it a whole lot of fun.

(jazz music)

(phone dings)

- [Worker] Reading?

- What? - The con.

The high bar.

- [Worker] What about it?

- I usually,

I like to get ready really early

so that way I don't feel rushed.

So now it's 5:21 p.m.

I'm hoping to be done in here

by six, at the latest,

and then I'd like to go warm up,

because half hour is at 6:30 p.m. tonight,

and then we start our dress rehearsal at seven.

Normally I think the shows are at 7:30 p.m.,

so half hour is at seven.

We have a little more time,

but tonight because of how things went this morning,

I think we're gonna start earlier

so we have more time after

to work on things we need to fix before tomorrow.

Lisa told me to try and get a little bit more

of a pouf so I think I did a good job.

I already feel like I have a nervous stomach.

This is usually around the time

that while I'm getting ready,

it's hard for me to

be calm.

There's a tornado happening inside of me right now,

like the build up and the wait to get onstage.

It's usually why I like to give myself

some time to do my makeup,

so that way I'm not rushing and shaky

with my eye-liner and...

(man speaks indistinctly)

- [Septime] Western, I don't think we need much

movement, I really think,

I like Alice coming in.

(orchestra tunes)

- I usually don't sew, I don't do this,

but now it's an emergency.

It's Glinda's bubble skirt.

At first it was supposed to be a bubble skirt

over her head with an umbrella under,

and then finally because of technical difficulties,

only her legs were gonna show like this,

and then it changed to this and to that,

and now she's on a swing,

you know, she arrives on a swing,

and this became a skirt,

which was not the intention so you

have to make it look like a bubble still,

so you know.

This is fun.

This is, I love that action, you know.

It's on the edge.

You have to like stress and adrenaline

to do that job because,

especially when it's a premiere, you know?

The first time we see it in theater with the costumes,

especially when it's very technical like this,

you don't know if it's gonna work, you know?

So...

Yeah.

When you're too sensitive, you should not do that job.

- Baby ballerinas get dressed, please.

Baby ballerinas get dressed, please.

All right, I'll make an attempt at the keys.

I could be on the right page.

- [Director] You guys ready back there?

- All right...

- Yes. - Stand by.

- Thank you. - Spots.

(orchestral music)

We'll being in 14 minutes, right at 5:45 p.m.

- [Director] Thank you, right on the music,

with the knocks.

The knocks are a little unclear.

Be really clear with the knocks.

(orchestral music)

- Spot two to the stage left window.

Go.

(orchestral music)

Spot one out.

Go.

Spot two to the stage right window, go.

Lights to 95.5, go.

- [Assistant] For the quick bend.

- [Stage Manager] Elliot to backstage, please,

Elliot to backstage.

- She's on the side. - Yeah.

- [Assistant] How long, I'm sure, not right back, anyway.

- It means doing business with it.

- [Assistant] So, and so then,

you know, like, in the back--

(dancer vocalizes)

- [Amanda] It's chaos going on backstage,

especially for the Wizard of Oz.

Actually they had said for no dancers

to be backstage if they weren't gonna be

going on the stage anytime soon,

and normally we're able to watch,

but there was actually no room

with all the props and the sets

and people running off to quickly change

into their harness to fly,

there was just so many intricate pieces

going on backstage

that the audience doesn't get to witness.

- And what do you want on your hairdryer?

Glitter.

That way, when it turns on it (vocalizes).

(dramatic music)

- During Munchkin Land, I ran off stage

behind the big flowers that came in

in the dark once the Witch came on,

and I had about 40 to 50 seconds

to get my red shoes on.

It felt like 10 seconds in the moment.

It felt very fast.

I usually always had someone helping me out.

Jen, our costume and wardrobe woman,

would always help me with the left shoe

and I would do the right shoe,

and I usually just made it out in time

for when I needed to be out.

(playful music)

This dress rehearsal for this production this year

was different because we had actually had to stop

during it, and normally, you know,

dress rehearsals are like a mini performance,

like a pre-show show,

we usually have a small group

that comes to watch,

and Devon always says at the beginning in his speech,

this is technically a rehearsal,

so if we have to stop, we will.

Usually, we don't but this is a first.

(whimsical music)

- [Devon] Okay, we need to stop for a second.

(audience laughs)

Okay, can we stay a turn here?

- [Light Director] Light's can go away.

- [Devon] Can we flame all the way out, do you think?

- [Light Director] Yeah, I think that's control--

- [Devon] I need, so...

- So before opening night,

I actually hadn't done the ballet fully

without stopping so it was very nerve wracking.

- Until that curtain goes up,

you never quite know what you're gonna get out there.

You know it's gonna be good.

You know it's gonna be a good experience,

you're just not sure how good it's gonna be,

and that's what's always exciting.

When the audience is mingling,

and they all get into the theater,

and there's that buzz, that conversational buzz

going on and then the lights quiet down,

and the conductor walks out

and takes their bow,

and then there's that hush right before

the first down beat,

and it's like...

Here we go.

(playful music)

(dramatic music)

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