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Lessons Learned from the Pit

2015 June 25
by robertnew
Playing Bass for Shrek the Musical

Playing Bass for Shrek the Musical

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to play bass with some amazingly talented people. I played for the Spotlight Acting School’s performances of Shrek the Musical.

The fact that this is a school was appropriate, as this was a learning experience for me. I’ve played bass for thirty-some odd years, and actually my guitar was older than most of the folks in the show. I’ve had the opportunity to play with a lot of different people on different kinds of music, but in all that time, I have never performed for a live play. Starts, stops, long periods of dialogue, and key changes that I didn’t even know existed proved to be quite challenging.

In an old episode of Andy Griffith, there is a line where Andy is getting ready to play some music with the Darlins. Brisco Darlin tells Andy, “Just jump in where you can, Sheriff, and hang on.” That’s how I felt. So now I can say I’m sort of an alumni of Spotlight Acting School.

I was not only amazed at the level of talent in this show, but also by the way everyone, of all ages, conducted themselves. On Saturday night the air conditioner stopped working, and it grew hotter than the boiling lava surrounding Fiona’s tower prison. On top of that, about half way through Act 1 the curtain broke and wouldn’t close. A very crowded back stage area became a chaotic choreography as they had to turn down the lights to do set changes using characters in costume already enduring the extreme heat. During the intermission, we managed to fix the curtain for Act 2.

If you’re thinking about sending your kids to Spotlight Acting School, I recommend it. Not only will they learn singing, choreography, drama, set building and all the things you would expect, they will also learn skills that will help them in life no matter what path they take: problem solving, hard work, and perseverance. And those traits deserve a standing ovation.

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