The hardworking technicians have hung lights over the stage and assembled the set, so now it’s time to bring in the performers. Before the Brat Pack takes over the stage, the Production Stage Manager leads everyone on a safety walk-thru. This is a tour in which the cast and musicians see onstage and backstage in full lighting and begin adjusting to the safety aspects of their performances. On land and at sea safety is an important element of the show. We don’t want anyone feeling unsafe while doing their job. This includes all performers and technical personnel.
The scenery in For the Record: The Brat Pack primarily consists of large staircases and platforms. There are no side railings for people to hold onto, so one thing the performers must know this in advance. If they have to quickly run up and down the stairs, we work the Costume Designer and Wardrobe Supervisor to ensure potential safety hazards, such as loose shoelaces and slipper shoes, are preemptively addressed. It is also important for the performers to see backstage. An array of wires and After Midnight scenery are backstage during For the Record performances. To help everyone see in the dark, the technicians place glow tape or white gaff tape throughout backstage. This way we’ll see a trip hazard before we, excuse the pun, stumble upon it.
After everyone feels safe and oriented in their new home, it’s time to layer all the production elements together. It takes time and organization taking all the technical components and fusing them together with the book and musical elements of a musical. This takes anywhere from a few days to several weeks on land where theaters are often dedicated to one show at a time. If it sounds complicated on land, it’s even more challenging on a ship!
Norwegian Escape is currently in operation, meaning we have guests on board. This is the most difficult time to install a show. During a ship’s opening or dry dock there are no guests on board, which allows the Cruise Director and Production Stage Manager to dedicate the theater’s schedule to a show’s installation. During operation, however, we cannot solely dedicate the Escape Theater to For the Record’s install. The Entertainment Department continues hosting events and activities in the Escape Theater. Our most popular event is Bingo. Other departments also use the theater, such as the Port & Shopping Guide who hosts a presentation on Sea Day 1. In the evenings we have After Midnight performances, the Welcome Aboard Show, Guest Entertainers and the International Crew Show. Some days we even have 3D movies!
To balance these two uses of the Escape Theater, we relocate many activities into other venues around the ship and reserve the theater for rehearsals. This is easier to coordinate during port days because we have less activities during the daytime. Contractors work overnight preparing lighting and sound for the daytime rehearsals with the cast and musicians. The Escape Theater technicians split the difference by taking shifts backstage during the day and helping set up all necessary scenery and equipment for the contractors in the evening. This team of people usually accumulates the most hours during the process because they’re important for both the setup and run of the show. Overall, it truly takes a team to complete this process.
While we keep a close eye on our installation schedule for tracking labor hours, we also keep a close eye on two important dates: Opening Night and the Creative Team’s sign-off date. Opening Night is probably the most important date on our calendar, because the show must be 'performance ready'. This means the show is both safe for the performers and high in production value for the guests. The Creative Team can still make changes to the show before they sign off. On land most productions have 'preview' performances, which are performances for the public prior to Opening Night. Although we don’t always have this luxury, the Entertainment Department occasionally host a pre-Opening Night performance for the crew on board. Everybody on board should enjoy the entertainment we have to offer!