Have you heard? Bethesda Little Theatre (BLT) is putting on “A Swellegant, Elegant Party” June 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1 at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center! For tickets and more information call 202-796-3431, email email@example.com, or go to the website www.blt-online.org. In our series “Inside the Numbers” we take you backstage with the performers for their take on some of the songs they’ll be presenting in their original musical revue and a peek at how they’re preparing for showtime! Today we’re going inside the song, “Let’s Be Bad” from the TV show Smash.
Q: This is a big, bad, brassy number from a TV show I’d never heard of – had you heard of it? What additional preparations are you undertaking on your own, apart from rehearsal time?
Karen: I absolutely loved Smash and washed it faithfully. Not only did I love the premise of the plot—Marilyn Monroe from the glory movie days—but I loved the musical numbers…especially the dancing.
Michelle: I adored Smash. Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee are beyond talented, and it’s fun to do a 1920s-style number from the TV show. There’s a lot to remember in this dance, so I’ve been practicing with the video and Karen’s dance notes.
Sandy: I absolutely was hooked on the show Smash. It told the story of putting together a Broadway musical with all the juicy backstage stories and the characters of the actors. I usually rehearse all my dance numbers at home after rehearsal nights with BLT. Although it’s late, I’m wound up and ready to go, plus then I’m really ready to sleep. So far for the dance numbers Karen has been generous to have a rehearsal at her house and two rehearsals at a dance studio with mirrors – very helpful.
Lauren: This is from a TV show?! I didn’t know that either. I thought Smash was a movie! Needless to say then, no, I had not heard of it before this. Other than our usual rehearsal time, I’ve definitely been singing this song on my own and running through the choreography in my head. We did also add a few extra dance rehearsals with the ladies in this number to make sure we all get it before showtime!
Cathy: I loved this show! I still miss it! It had wonderful music and dancing. It ended far too soon. As far as additional preparation, we have spent time outside of our regular rehearsals together to work on the dance. I have also spent a lot of time in front of a rehearsal video in my living room.
Q: How do you get yourself in the “bad” frame of mind before walking on stage?
Karen: I pulled from the many other numbers I have performed in this genre, such as Chicago and Thoroughly Modern Millie. The ‘20s seems to have been quite an exciting time!
Michelle: Well the costumes certainly help! Wearing red sequins and fringe is perfect for the “bad” frame of mind, and I love that Karen’s choreography includes classic 1920s moves like the Charleston.
Sandy: Since Smash was the story of Marilyn Monroe and this is just a cutesy roaring ‘20s number, I just think of those aspects. Of course, the costumes will help a lot. We’re all wearing sparkly red costumes. Best of all the choreography puts us in the “bad’ state of mind.
Cathy: It’s got be the red flapper dresses we are wearing! They are enough to put you in the mood!
Q: What’s the most fun part of being in/learning this number?
Karen: I love the genre…a bit of Charleston, and a bit of ‘20s posing, shoulder shrugging, and flirtatious eye rolling.
Michelle: Working with the show’s main dancers! I learn a lot from them and I love Karen’s fun combinations, especially the Bob Fosse-style poses.
Sandy: Personally I love dancing jazzy numbers and getting to kick my legs. Being the oldest dancer, I feel such joy still being able to do it.
Lauren: I love dancing, so the most fun part to me of being in this number is being able to dance!
Cathy: It has to be that I get to dance with these wonderful ladies! We are all working hard and enjoying the reward of getting it “right.”
Q: What’s the hardest thing to pull off in this number?
Karen: Remembering the words of the song at the same time as remembering the dance moves.
Michelle: There are a lot of details to remember, and we gotta put a lot of energy into it so the audience is excited about Act Two!
Sandy: All the different hand circles.
Q: What’s the audience going to love most about this number?
Karen: This number is such a “feel good” number and we’re having a LOT of fun!!! And that is contagious! What’s not to love?
Michelle: Our Director Laura picked a bunch of different songs from different times and different styles. I love this song from Smash because it’s from a recent TV show, but has a lot of the elements I love from the 1920s.
Sandy: It’s fast and fun and from another era.
Lauren: The flapper dresses we get to wear! At least, that’s one of the things I like most about this number.
Cathy: What’s not to love!? It’s fun, sassy, and has the red dresses!
Q: What’s the silliest blooper that’s happened so far while rehearsing this number?
Karen: When I was teaching the number, I repeatedly kept saying “Let’s Be Friends” instead of “Let’s Be Bad.”
Michelle: Too many for me to count. This is my first time learning choreography in two years, so I’ve made plenty of mistakes in rehearsal.
Sandy: With my dyslexia I sometimes go the opposite way until it’s pointed out – oops!
Lauren: There was a low-hanging chandelier in the room we often rehearsed this dance in. Even though it was always there, we seemed to forget that it was there each time we rehearsed and constantly smacked our hands against this fixture. We will feel like we have so much space performing without it onstage!