Earlier this week this blogger/video producer/stage manager got a real treat- a behind the scenes look at Ford’s Theatre.
Perhaps most famous as the site where President Lincoln was shot, Ford’s Theatre continues to operate as a performance venue and looks better than ever after re-opening from renovations two years ago. I was excited to walk on the theatre’s plush red carpeting and see this iconic space for myself.
I walked past the house lobby into the theatre where I walked by a sign that read no firearms (oh if they only had that back in the day…) as well as a sign that said no food or drink. I tucked my water bottle into my blazer and hoped the Ranger on duty didn’t notice (I paid $.89 for that bottle and it was still full! Dont’ worry guys I wasn’t going to open it and ruin a National landmark.)
The theatre was smaller than I thought it would be- but then again performance spaces of the 19th century probably weren’t very large. As I sat down in the balcony I looked to my right and saw the Presidential booth, draped in flags with a portrait of Lincoln George Washington hanging outside the front of the box. To my left I saw another box and to my immediate left I saw the lighting designers programming cues. The light board rested above wooden planks place across the front row- a juxtaposition of old history and modern age technology.
It was a technical rehearsal not unlike the ones I’ve been through as a stage manager. The actors of the show stood around in place as the stage manager, director, and music director moved through the script and worked out specific technical cues. The only difference between this production and the productions I’ve managed is that everybody was calm, efficient, and professional at this rehearsal. Let’s just say I’ve been through worse technical rehearsals.
I got a great view of the set, very similar to the original design sketches shown here. Audrey II, the giant plant that the show is most well known for, was on stage and looked terrific as I saw it “eat” lead actress Jenna Coker-Jones over and over again. The overall look of the show appears to stay true to the show’s reputation as an Americana cult classic. Coker-Jones plays the role of Audrey and Christopher Kale Jones (Jenna’s husband) plays Seymour. The husband/wife duo is supported by a cast of other local DC actors, many of which you can see on Jenna & Christopher’s behind-the-scenes videos. For more behind the scenes look check out Katie Brobst’s blog where she chronicles her experience learning about the show from an outsider’s view.
From the sneak peak of the show last night I am definitely interested in seeing the show- and with the theatre’s under-35 special I am definitely going to make it out! Patrons under 35 can get tickets for only $10 on Mondays starting March 22nd. Just use the code UNDER35 at checkout.
Little Shop of Horrors
March 12 – May 22, 2010
511 10th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004