As he rises to greet the day at 9:00AM, Andrew Lloyd Hammerstein opens the blinds. The Sound of Music made by the traffic and pedestrians outside permeates his cozy-yet-stupidly-expensive studio apartment in Williamsburg. Hoping that the sun had indeed come out tomorrow, he looks up into the New York sky to see a gray blanket of clouds covering the tops of a good number of buildings across the East River.
Oh well. This is the city. He'll deal with whatever it throws at him.
After checking his messages (not as many as he would have liked), Andrew stretches, showers, and has a small bowl of fruit with a huge cup of coffee. When he's finally ready to head Into the Woods of skyscrapers and pushy drivers at 10:00AM, he pours the remaining miracle juice into a travel cup and says a small prayer that today's rehearsal goes smoother than yesterday's.
The morning commute shows signs of positivity. The subway car into Manhattan only smelled vaguely of urine, and the guy shouting at his final stop on 42nd Street was talking about Jesus saving, which was a nice change from his typical apocalyptic pronouncements.
He walks into the theater at 10:50AM, a small stage that fits a couple hundred paying customers. Thankfully, since this is a union show and he's not producing it himself, Andrew gets paid no matter how many of those seats are filled. However, if the show closes early, that doesn't do him any favors either, so he wants to make sure this one stays open, at least through previews.
He says good morning to the stage manager and the cast as they arrive in pairs and groups—actors can be clique-y that way. Annie walks over and tells him that Jacob was at the game last night and he's still recuperating.
Andrew sighs on the outside, but curses the team on the inside; he loses more actors that way than anything else. Damn Yankees.
When everyone finally shows up at 11:30AM, Andrew gathers the cast together for the day's notes, followed by a quick warm-up. While it's always important to be loose and limber, the many swordfights in Romeo & Juliet (but set in Ancient Rome with the characters as Roman gods...because theatre) mean everyone really needs to be awake and motivated. "Especially you, Jake," thinks Andrew.
Surprisingly enough, most everything from yesterday's full work-through of the First Act of the play is decent. He's even able to call for a full hour break at 3:00PM, which he uses to have a looong chat with Jacob at the corner deli. It's amazing how easy it is to get actors to listen to you when you feed them.
Unfortunately, as Act Two gets rolling at 4:00PM it quickly dissolves into a Little Shop of Horrors. The blocking is off, Mercutio/Jacob doesn't seem to remember any of the Queen Mab speech, and the climactic gladiator fight between Romeo and Prince Paris looks like two grown men slapping at each other with limp fish.
After another dozen scene-specific run-throughs, at 7:00PM Andrew calls it a night. Union rules aside, he's got a Wicked headache and if he has to watch another toga get stuck in the set he'll go absolutely nuts.
He ends the night on notes, taking another half an hour before sending everyone off into the New York City night. A couple of the cast members sense he's stressed, so they invite him to grab a quick drink. Since the bar is just above the theater, Andrew reluctantly agrees. It's either this or make his nightly phone call to The Producers, and he's not really looking to add to that headache.
Getting ready for bed at 10:00PM, he reflects on the day he had and exactly why he continues to put himself through this. As he works through the breathing exercises he paid way too much to learn in college, he finally unwinds. After all, at the end of the day (which is right about now), he still gets to showcase his vision. He wants to show the world an R + J that they've never seen before, even if it drives him mad in the process.
Hey, there are worse ways to pay the Rent.