It’s becoming a pretty popular trend now to have live symphony orchestras accompany a screening of a film. It really fills the seats, and I’ve done a number of them with great success. Tonight, we’re dong La La Land. And I have very little confidence that it will go well at all.
This is the first time that the show has been done in the US. It was done previously in Korea, but I don’t know if we have the same conductor or the same production company. There’s a ton of music (as you might expect), and at last night’s rehearsal we barely played through half of it. We had a rehearsal scheduled today from 2:30-5:00, and the conductor just dismissed most of the orchestra and said “See you tonight.” We have not run the music with the movie. We have not played any numbers sequentially. The director cut two numbers after dismissing the orchestra. The whole show has a click track, which means that the musicians wear an earpiece with a computer programmed click that makes sure we stay synced with the film. With a click, the conductor just stays out of the way and lets the musicians play, giving a cue here and there. The conductor isn’t using it except for a few of the numbers, convinced that he can stay with the film better than the click. This does not bode well.
I may be overly worried. We’ve got a stageful of great musicians, but when the conductor dismissed us there was silence. Everybody was dumbfounded that we were done with so much work still to do. The small jazz group is rehearsing, and they can’t get through a number without stopping. It’s not their fault, they’re all fantastic players. It’s the conductor who can’t seem to express what he wants or how he wants it. He spends all his time fixing minor things that will do nothing to keep the show together. Some of the seats are selling for as much as $250. If this falls apart tonight it will be a major fiasco. Wish us luck.