You have your ticket in your back pocket and you are heading towards the theater with your friends. The sweet sense of excitement is lingering in the air and while you are on the line to get in, you are encountering in a small talk conversation about the previous shows you have seen. A friendly smart dressed girl is welcoming you. Little do you know that she is the producer of the show and for the last year, she has been working extra hard for this very moment. You go down the stairs, looking for your seat. After having to pass through few comfortably settled guests, you awkwardly apologize and finally find your place. You now continue the conversation with your friends, sharing expectations and dropping the occasional complain that it is taking too long for this show to start. Finally the lights go off and the curtain opens. The furious round of applause is followed by spotlights, stage fog and 2 hours of crazy dancing and out of this world singing. At the end of the show you express your satisfaction with a small shoulder dance, while joining the standing ovation. The next few days, you will be finding yourself singing the catchy melodies and you will passionately discuss your favorite scenes and characters with your friends, wondering what will the Broadway Performance Club surprise you with next year.
That’s what it feels like to enjoy a musical performance, but have you ever wondered what it actually feels like to be part of the show? I’ve asked myself this question for 3 years, until I decided to join the Broadway Performance Club for the production of Burlesque in 2015. After seeing this year’s Catch Me If You Can, I couldn’t help myself but sharing the backstage experience of taking part in a musical production of such scale!
It’s Broadway, baby
What makes AUBG Musicals different from the musicals you would see in Sofia, is that they have the rights for the original Broadway productions and they are sticking to the original script (with minor modifications and the occasional AUBG joke), choreography and music. This, combined with the fact that the cast consists of international students with different background in acting, singing and dancing, makes their casts truly unique.
Auditions are tough
In the beginning of the fall semester, Broadway Performance club holds the auditions for the following musical. All participants should go through a 3 step selection process, submitting a portfolio form, attending a dancing/acting/singing audition and an interview afterwards. Only a limited number out of the hundreds participants, are being selected, guaranteeing the high artistic qualities of the cast.
Rehearsals are tougher
Throughout the first semester, dancers and actors rehearse separately. While the choreographers gather daily to create the perfect dance routines, dancers rehearse 3-4 times per week. Acting and singing rehearsals are around 5 times per week. The second semester is when the true fun begins! Rehearsals are joined and the director works extra hard on putting the whole show together. The second semester is highly intensive on the, so called run-troughs, major rehearsals of the whole show from the very begging till the very end with no interruptions.
Show time is the best
The day of the premiere is when all the hard work of the cast and organizing team is payed off. Actors, dancers, choreographers, the director and the producers, back vocals and the orchestra, everybody is by this time 1 big family, ready to face this most precious moment. The rush of adrenaline of performing, combined with the amazing support of the audience, are a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that without any doubt, leaves a special place in the heart of each performer.
After performing in Blagoevgrad, the cast is ready to bring the show on the national arena. The Broadway Performance Club usually visits 4 or 5 major Bulgarian cities, performing in the biggest theater halls. The tour is 1 week long and the cast engages in flash mobs around the cities and not a small deal of partying and sightseeing happens too. The last performance is followed by a private Musical party, where all the musical veterans (previous cast and organizing team members) are invited to celebrate the moment with what would be the fresh members of the huge Musical family.
So, what would be a nice way to spend the evening for ones, is a life changing experience for others. As someone, who hesitated for a long time, weather to get to the other side, I could no longer imagine my life without the memories of long, sweaty, exhausting and sometimes painful rehearsals, never ending run troughs, tailor appointments and meetings. But what’s more, I could hardly imagine my life without the precious moments on stage and the even more precious friends I made, who in many ways became my family.