Recently Guys and Dolls had a ‘media’ night for the new brilliant new West End company. It is with much delight that each reviewer gave it one more star than when they original reviewed it. Including a wonderful five-star in the Evening Standard (I have now practically forgiven them for our Mrs Henderson Presents review….. almost)!!!
This then got me to thinking about how often the second companies of long-running shows seem to land better than the original. When casting a new show, you are keeping options open, not entirely sure how the big jigsaw will fit into place. At that moment you may not have the whole show mapped out and therefore errors may occur.
Similarly, I may look at a piece I have choreographed in the first year and realise all the howlers and flaws within it. If a show is lucky enough to have a long life, you then get a chance to go and tinker, change the work and generally annoy the already tired cast by having yet more rehearsals! Yet again confirming my observation that the second version of the show is often the better than the first.
Every time Singin’ In The Rain had a cast change I would change elements – hopefully making it slicker, funnier and sharper. However there has to be a moment when you let the show breath and live and that is the time when I step away and let the company have ownership of their newborn.
Maybe in the future all shows could have their press nights a year in after all the lessons have been learnt. Wouldn’t that be lovely! A whole year to get it right before the critics come to excoriate or adulate!!!
Sometimes, life gives you a second chance because just maybe first time you weren’t ready!