Last night we had our first full cast rehearsal of the new production of ESTHER and the Secrets in the King's Court.
It was fun, exciting and great to be together again.
ESTHER is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Mazel tov. Several of the women present last night were in that production a decade ago. Others from the new adult cast members had seen it. And many of the little girls, who were born during or after the run of ESTHER had heard its music on CD.
So, when music director Gayle Berman started playing the introduction to out opening number, bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum (you can hear the melody, right?), every gave a smile of familiarity and launched into song.
We were singing away, "Welcome to Shushan, to Shushan the capital." Suddenly Gayle stopped playing. "The correct pronunciation of that word is like this. The melody should be this way." And on and on, one correction after another.
My friend, Eudice, who is also production manager, hit the nail on the head, "We learned it a different way ten years ago. It's hard to unlearn it." You see, the heart remembers song.
But, B"H, we've got enough newbies who fell right into the groove, learning the new melodies, pronunciations and rhythms with ease. The rest of us will lean on them for a while.
At the end of the evening, we played Show and Tell. That's when smaller rehearsal groups show what they learned the week before.
The first group to perform we're the King and his men. They were singing the King's 70 Years. But the King was at a wedding. Since I had played the King in the original production of ESTHER, they asked me to step in.
I hadn't sung the role in a decade, and the key didn't seem exactly right, but I gave it a try. Who could remember a part that has since been blurred by four other subsequent productions and four other characters that followed it? Yet, soon I was twirling and dancing like I did ten years ago.
The body remembers.
The heart remembers. The soul remembers. Those of us who were lucky enough to be in the original ESTHER are simply going to have to unlearn what we knew, or better...put it in the category of ESTHER1. And we're going to have to embrace the new musical arrangements and all the new surprises waiting for us in ESTHER 2. Or maybe ESTHER TOO.
It won't be easy, but with smiles and good feelings and hard work, we can do it together.
To read more about this year's production, you're invited to visit us on Facebook.