kasey schumacher | social cues | may 2019
It's no secret Let Me Be Frank Productions keeps a pretty busy schedule. With over 100 performances a year, we keep our calendars full. As performers, we're familiar with performing the same show multiple, MULTIPLE times. For example, the annual Christmas show has nearly 30 performances! And while LMBF's is known for ad-libbing, the outline of the script and songs stay the same. Each performance is a tad different, but it's definitely similar enough that we clearly know what's going on every night on stage.
But as a spectator, there are only a handful of shows I've seen multiple times (“Wicked" and “Hamilton" being the only two I can think of right now). Last month I had the opportunity to see a touring musical not once, but twice — within five days! I saw this particular show on the night it opened in NE Wisconsin, and then again on the night that it closed. I didn't exactly set out to do this on purpose, but I'm really glad I did! Here are a few takeaways from my multi-musical week:
No. 1 — Do a double take. This one is a pretty obvious takeaway, but being able to see this particular show twice allowed me to pick up on little nuances. My eyes were able to take in a particular scene or set change with more clarity. I knew what to look for from seeing it a few days prior. Something that caught me off guard the first time was expected the second time.
No. 2 —Intrigued by talent. I have a tendency to think that the specific night I saw a show it, of course, had to be the best performance of the entire run. I have no logical reason to believe this, but it's just how my brain works. It was strange to see one song done amazingly well the first performance that didn't wow me the second night. Similarly, there was one song that stuck out to me the second time I saw the show and wasn't all that memorable the first night. As a performer, I know there are certain nights you just feel a song or a scene differently and it was interesting to see that as an audience member, too.
No. 3 —Audience vibes. Sometimes in LMBF's we'll finish a show and say, “Wow that was such a good audience!" — meaning it was a very lively, engaged, laughing and clapping audience. The entire audience takes on a personality of their own (sometimes that's a really good thing and sometimes it's not!). It's very difficult to tell what “kind" of audience you are when you're part of the audience, but it's super easy to feel that out as a performer. I enjoyed trying to get the pulse for the two different audiences. The first night was louder in their responses but didn't react nearly as often. The second night was quieter audience by volume, but they reacted much more regularly to jokes and moments.
No. 4 — Party of two. The first night I went with my best friend and the second night I went with my mom. The points of the show that stuck out to each of them turned out to be different. The conversations we had about aspects of the show like the set, costumes, particular characters, etc. were also different. Also, I loved watching my mom experience the show. When I saw it with my best friend, we were both taking it in for the first time.
No. 5 — Nothing like live theater. Seeing the knockout songs and musical numbers twice in such a short amount of time was incredible. One particular song gave me goosebumps from start to finish and I got to relive that moment again! It's just not the same listening to the recording as it is seeing something in person. I was fortunate enough to witness the magic of live theater twice within a few days.
While I am so glad I got to go to the same show multiple times, I know it's not always feasible. It doesn't always make sense financially to see the same show twice. Sometimes schedules are just too packed to take two nights to see a two-hour-long show. It's not something I'll probably be able to do too often but I am so grateful it ended up working out this time!
Kasey Schumacher is the marketing director for Let Me Be Frank Productions by day and a performer for the troupe by night. When she isn't updating Facebook or singing a 1970s classic, she enjoys running, cooking, questioning final rose picks on 'The Bachelor' and planning overly extravagant trips to Disney.