So one of my actors–our Phoebe–is pulling double duty; she’s choreographing our two big quasi-musical numbers.
I met with her this weekend. And I’m very, very excited.
I had tasked her with coming up with two–for lack of a better term–“lip-synched production numbers.” The first will be to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” (which I think is pretty fitting for Orlando) to be performed as a combination set-change/reveal (as we finally enter the Forest of Arden for the last time (without any other settings, and we finally get to see “the tree”), and as we see what Orlando has been up to (writing some very bad poetry). The second will be a show-closer to Madonna’s “Into the Groove” which will become a kind of extension/analogue for the Epilogue in this production.
Like I said, the first production number was “Uptown Girl,” and I had in my head the music video with background singer/dancers “helping” out the singer. I pointed Ashley in the direction of the video (as I was pretty sure it would be not in her wheelhouse, coming out more than ten years before she was born). She brought to the table the idea of the background singers being like the Muses from Disney’s Hercules (one of my wife and my favorite 90s cartoons). They would hand Orlando paper and a pen, and inspire him.
I love it. And it got us riffing.
What if they show him the poems to write? And they can put those poems on the tree when they leave. And then I really kinda sorta went off the rails.
What if this becomes a kind of dream sequence… maybe not of Orlando, but of the audience? We break convention–the 80s convention we’ve already created–and have him come in wearing what most people would expect from “Shakespeare”… a jerkin and a ruff. And the background singers all wear ruffs, they hand Orlando a parchment and a quill. And at the end of the song, they can strip him (like with a breakaway piece of wardrobe) to become Orlando again.
The singing Shakespeares… sweet Christmas… I have gone off the rails.