Thursday night we taped the first official episode of the Alley Theater Improv Challenge. Or so we thought. Joel, our musical director, never showed. He not only plays the music during the show, but he also plays sound effects, gives me onstage cues, and gives me someone to banter with during the slow moments. After we were done, Carol and Scott were leaning heavily into the field of "let's make this a final dress rehearsal and start fresh next week" - it really all boils down to editing and deciding if Joel missing will disrupt the flow of the episodes. I just hope he's ok, cause we never heard from him.
But the entire time we proceeded like it's going to air. The whole day while at work I was anticipating what to do and psyching up. One of my co-workers was on a team that was performing tonight, and she was antsy too. Fortunately the workload was light enough, so I didn't make any major gaffes.
I got there about 6:30 and was first told about Joel missing. I covered with Scott all the things I needed to do in case he didn't show. Most of my cues we going to be delivered by the floor manager, which wouldn't look that great on camera, but would get the job done.
I spent a few minutes with the judges and gave them the rundown on what they'd be doing. They'd come from all walks of the performing arts, and were great all evening giving me someone to banter with when things got slower. I'll probably utilize them more in that regard.
I then gathered the teams together to cover all the last-minute changes and how they're going to affect them. Our competitors were evenly matched. The Second-Chancers were a group of ladies (including my co-worker) that had never pursued the performing arts, and were finally throwing caution to the wind and going for it. Heyman Talent was a group of aspiring performers - however one of their members had to drop out at the last second and was replaced by someone that had just a little instruction. All of them were ready to act silly and have a lot of fun, so I was thrilled to see them go.
Lots of memorable moments. During a one minute re-enactment of "Cinderella", my co-worker just randomly kicked her shoe off to her teammates, and that got a big laugh. Two members of Heyman Talent seemed very natural playing a husband and wife shopping, and they brought a ton of energy. In the end, Heyman Talent won by a mere 14 points. No one left unhappy, which is my goal.
Afterward, I "debriefed" with everyone. The judges gave solid critique of how we can tweak a few of the skits to make them more interesting to the viewing audience. Scott gave a lot of production notes there at the club and later in e-mail that will tighten the ship considerably. Carol and the performers had nothing but praise for the comedy and comfort they had.
If this show winds up being used as "promotional material" for the next few weeks, like when I go on the CW morning show, Heyman Talent will probably get a bye in the tournament, and the Second Chancers will get, funnily enough, a "second chance".
Despite all the setbacks, I'm still extremely happy with how it's all coming together. I'm especially surprised at my own comfort level in front of three cameras trained on me. This thing is going to be HUGE!