This is happening.
Sorry, maybe I wasn't absolutely clear. Let me zoom in a bit.
Okay, so now some of you are thinking, "So what?" And others are thinking, "Wow, that's cool." And even others, those of you who know me in real life, are all, "Yeah, OKAY, Jen, you're always working on some theater thing or another, big deal."
This one feels different. Maybe because it's Sondheim, who can be a little intimidating. Maybe because SO many people are talking to me about it and emailing me about it and texting me about it and calling me about SO much earlier on in the process than I am accustomed to. It's actually kinda totally overwhelming. In a good way. Not a day has gone by in the past two weeks that I haven't fielded at least one inquiry about casting or volunteering behind the scenes, and auditions are still over two months away.
I kinda feel like I used to be Peter Brady, all dressed up for a party that no one showed up for. And now I kinda feel like this:
Maybe it's the simple fact that because so many people seem to be so excited so early on, I'm not enjoying the luxury of living with the show alone inside my head for as long as I'd like. Maybe it's because I'm in danger of having to admit that I don't know what's out there in the woods. Not yet, not completely.
I feel a bit like Red Riding Hood, blithely skipping out into the dark forest (except I know full well that the wolves are out there, just waiting for me to stumble and fall), trusting that my path to opening night will be as twisting and turning but ultimately successful as it has been nine times before. There's no real reason to think it won't be. But this time, people are paying a lot closer attention to whether I make any wrong turns along the way.
And maybe I'm feeling a bit untethered, because for the first time in a very long time, my mom is not going to be my rehearsal pianist, which means she won't be at rehearsals. It's not that I rely on her for help, not with directing per se...but knowing she's there at the piano behind me always made me feel more confident. I could always ask her for an opinion about something, whether it was how a bit of blocking looked or what the best way to handle a difficult cast member might be. And, let's face it...having her there more often than was all I needed to keep my somewhat legendary temper in check, or risk seeing that special mix of disappointment and disapproval on her face that she does so well. I need to recruit someone to sit there at every rehearsal and look at me sternly if I lose my cool.
But there is something different. Something that's making me more excited, and more uneasy. Something that's making me feel a little bit like I'm not fully in control of this beast.
Okay. I've been working on this post for days now, writing and deleting dozens of paragraphs trying to explain this feeling I have about Into the Woods. I've just now, this moment, at 9:10 am on March 4, 2014, realized what the feeling is:
This show is going to be EPIC.
And it's scaring the crap out of me.