So I bought a wedding dress last weekend.
And before you get the wrong idea, it’s not for me.
And this is the point where I have to back up and confess that I’ve been keeping a lot of bardic adventures from the blog while you’re refreshing the page and wondering what’s keeping me.
Or forgetting that bookmarkedone.home.blog exists.
Okay. Deep breath.
Ladies and gentlemen, friend and foe, your attention please.
Because I’m composing a musical.
I am composing the soundtrack to a musical.
(cue muffled bookmarkedone screams because is this happening?)
So the short version of the story is that your very own little bard is working on a Rapunzel musical for production in 2023.
I am aware this does not explain the wedding dress. I’m getting to that.
So even though we’re almost a year out from the first show, the first cast read-through was scheduled for last Saturday. It was time to finalize our casting for Rapunzel (out of three lovely singers), have everyone meet everyone else (hi! This is the person you’re married to/fall in love with! Have fun!), and get down to plotting mayhem together.
It was also the first time the cast was going to hear the incomplete score that I’d been laboring over for the last–four months?
So it’s not like I was nervous or prepping everything, saving files, running in circles, and making a pile of prints.
Of course not. I was out thrifting.
And the great thing about thrift shops is that sometimes they will have the coolest dresses for next to nothing. There’s usually a rack that you have to inch past because the full skirts of a dozen prom dresses are poofing out into the aisle. It’s great fun to browse, since the fabrics are always pretty, even if the styles are sometimes a bit weird.
The Boss and I had talked about raiding thrift stores for material when it came to costumes, but nothing had come of it yet (too busy hiding in the garrett listening to the same melody replay in my headphones 500 times until satisfied). I wasn’t really thinking about it.
Until I walked in and saw the wedding dress.
It was right in front, as if it had been politely waiting for me to come and take notice. The perfect size. Puffy sleeves. A train. Satin bows. The most princess-y fairytale wedding dress one could ask for.
And this is the point that Sleepy Writer Brain and my linguistic skills joined hands and went on vacation together and verbal speech apparently failed me because I did not say what I intended.
I meant to say, “Hey, look! Rapunzel’s wedding dress! Isn’t it perfect? Don’t you think the playwright will love it?”
But what came out? No, no, no, no, no.
I wandered over to the dress like a tipsy moth, inspected it silently (confusing my shopping buddy), and then said, “What do you think?”
That’s it. Nothing else. One would think I’d have read the room and realized what that sounded like, but no, I was oblivious!
In her defense, my buddy handled it well. She told me later she was thinking do you have something to tell me? but at the time she just joined in admiring the dress, and agreeing yes, it was very nice, possibly my size–
This is probably the point my brain clicked back into focus from its tea break and I quickly said no, not my style. For Rapunzel.
I am abundantly aware that speech should have been in reverse order.
I took some photos of the dress, messaged the Boss, and asked her if she wanted me to pick it up. She said yes please, so it was back to the shop the next morning and off to the castle with an armload of wedding dress.
And frankly, I’m a little miffed I didn’t get more odd looks leaving the shop. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t a big call for buying wedding dresses at little thrift shops. The clerk didn’t ask. The people didn’t stare. Confusing a shopping buddy is one thing, but I would have enjoyed confounding the greater public.
Just a little.
Anyway, fast forward to the start of the read, and I’m standing outside the castle (yes, real castle, gargoyles and all) with an armful of wedding dress, hundreds of tiny sequins I didn’t see in the shop catching the light and glinting enough to hurt my eyes (just imagine how they’ll look under stage lighting), yelling across the courtyard and part of a field that I got the dress!!!
The playwright was pleased. I got to show it off to all three auditioning Rapunzels (Hi! Yes! Hello! This is your wedding dress? Do you like it? Look at the train!), but honestly I think I was the giddiest of all of us.
After all. It’s not every day you get the perfect wedding dress for a price that cheap.
I was a proud little bard, to say the least.
Hm? How was the final audition? The read?
All went well. We chose our Rapunzel, and the more she read, the more disbelieving I was at how good she is. How did we actually find someone with a voice that princess-y? Who can also sing?
And it’s hard to go too far wrong when you’re sitting at a little plastic card table in the middle of a Great Hall, cast down each side, Boss sitting at the head, me, the mini-boss, perched with my messy score to her right. Both of us struggling not to occasionally slip up and call someone by their character instead of their name.
The awkward bit?
I didn’t exactly think the soundtrack through.
I had the computer-generated recordings, of course, had the score, everyone had the lyrics in the script. But I thought (naïvely?), “Oh, I’ll just play segments on violin to give them some idea of the melodies and we’ll all be fine.”
We were not fine.
(cue bookmarkedone singing all but two of the numbers from the soundtrack alone)
(cue bookmarkedone trying to hide slightly shaky hands and not making eye contact with anyone)
Why? Because bookmarkedone has not sung in public for six years, that’s why. And bookmarkedone was not prepared to sing. Bookmarkedone did not warm up her voice before singing a high B flat.
…I didn’t die.
Much as I make fun of my own singing voice (hello? I’m a violinist?), I know it’s not as rough as I make it out to be. I’ve sung–a lot over the years and I’ve got a pretty good range.
There were some voice cracks. There were some squeaks. There was an awkward half-apologetic email to the playwright afterward (who assured me it was fine and I have a lovely voice, but she’s so sweet anyway…).
Six years is a long time not to sing.
Of course, in the end I’ll be in the ensemble, happy violinist watching the show from “the pit,” but in the meantime…
I have a feeling I might be singing a lot more in the days to come.
If nothing else, because the numbers I’ve written are just so catchy that they keep looping through my brain for hours at a time. I know, I’ve got no one but myself to blame. I keep hoping I’ll hear someone humming as they leave the show when it’s finally brought to the stage. That’ll be so satisfying as to make it all worth it, I think.
Stay tuned! More updates on the adventures of composing a musical coming soon.