An Actor’s Take: ‘Sister Act’ Rehearsal Journal

One of the cast members of Sister Act took some time to share their rehearsal journal (and some backstage secrets) with us. 

Meet your backstage guide, Terry Dopson

Terry is a Brea resident and he has been having a blast in his first Southgate Production. Terry DopsonHowever, Terry is no stranger to the Curtis Theatre as he has performed in over 10 productions at the Curtis. Most recently, he played The Company Man in Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story. Terry holds a BA in Music from the University of La Verne where he was heavily involved in choral music, barbershop singing, and musical theatre. Some of Terry’s favorite roles include Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Boys From Syracuse, and Fagin in Oliver!. In addition to his theatrical and musical pursuits, Terry works as the Coordinator of Finance Administration and University Business Travel at the University of La Verne.

Wednesday, February 7th

Tonight was our first dress rehearsal with all of the lighting, audio, projections, costumes, make-up, wigs, set pieces, and props.

Something that I have loved about working with Southgate is the high level of production value. All of the technical elements are visually stunning. However, it makes things very busy backstage.

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Above is our scene change chart for the show. If we are not performing on stage or changing costumes, then we are moving the set pieces. There is not much time to “hang out” backstage. Even if you have the luxury to “hang out” in between scenes, Jonathan Infante, our director, urged the cast to help everyone out as much as possible. He said, “If you have nothing to do, go over choreography with your cast members, help someone with a quick change, ask Stage Management if there is something you can do.”

Fortunately, I think that sentiment paid off. Tonight’s rehearsal went smoothly. However, we still have a few details that need to be polished. Southgate Productions has a reputation for putting on high-quality shows. Therefore, the hard work comes with the territory. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thursday, February 8th

Last night we were told that we would have a small audience for our invited dress rehearsal. However, it turned out we would have an audience of 70 people for our dress rehearsal. Everything became a lot more real after that announcement. Fortunately, it was an amazing run of the show. Having the audience gave us an extra boost of energy that we needed. 

I have to admit that backstage there was not much to report on. But for good reason; everyone in the cast and crew was really focused on doing their job. As I mentioned earlier, everyone has a lot of responsibilities on and off the stage. We like to chat and hang out while getting ready for the show. However, once places are called, everyone is “in the zone.” 

My favorite part about Sister Act is the energy of the show. It feels like one big dance party from start to finish, with some really tender and funny moments weaved throughout. I can’t help but have the biggest smile on my face.

Performing this show is a blast…and I think the audience is going to have a blast too!

Opening Weekend: Friday, February 9th – Sunday, February 11th

I consider myself a very lucky actor. I have performed in many shows and I have had many memorable experiences on stage. However, opening weekend of Sister Act was one of the best show weekends I have ever experienced.

On Friday night, all of the cast, crew, and creative team got together in the green room just a few minutes before places. The creative team gave a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved. I definitely felt the love and camaraderie in the room. Jonathan once again reminded everyone to make sure we do everything in our power to help one another.

 

It feels like one big dance party from start to finish, with some really tender and funny moments weaved throughout.

All of our shows this weekend were sold out and the audience was super responsive. Offstage we were buzzing with excitement because the audience was so engaged with the story. Not only did we love what we were doing, but also we got the message that we were doing it right.

The last 3 weeks of rehearsal went by in a flash. It is fulfilling to know that we put together a challenging show in a short amount of time. This would not have been possible if it were not for the level of professionalism that the cast, crew, creative team, and theater staff have exhibited. 

Thank you so much to the Curtis Theatre staff for letting me share my perspective on production week for Sister Act. If you attended our opening weekend, thank you so much for your support. We still have two more weekends of shows. “Boogie” on down to the Curtis Theatre before we sell out for the rest of the run!

 

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You can catch up with Terry and see what else he’s writing on his own blog.


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Sister Act: the Musical performs February 10-25, 2018. Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

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