A West End show in 48 hours? What exactly does that mean? To answer all your questions and set the record straight, here is the low down on Showtime Challenge:
1. Auditions – Thousands of people apply to take part in the production. Showtime Challenge offers an opportunity for anyone to be involved, whether professional or amateur, if they have what it takes to perform on a West End stage. The 48 hour challenge means that people with all sorts of careers can take part as the project does not involve lengthy rehearsal periods.
2. Casting – The team then have the challenge of picking the cast. Each year, all candidates go through an intense audition process of acting, singing and dance. Musicals require fantastic all-rounders as well as specialists and, especially for Showtime, team players, as they need to be able to cope with the fast and furious nature of the 48 hour challenge. The directors, musical directors and choreographers all work together to find their perfect cast.
3. Lead Roles – The lead roles are then given their scripts and scores to learn over the next 6 weeks. These are all learned independently. There can be NO rehearsing with the directing team or other cast members.
4. The Press Day – This is the first weekend when the performers can work as a team. However, they cannot perform songs or routines from that year’s chosen show, as that would be cheating! In the past, the musical director has chosen songs from shows such as My Fair Lady, Sweet Charity, Rent and Ragtime to perform to hundreds of people in central London venues such as the Covent Garden Piazza, The Actors Church, Covent Garden, and the Evelina Children’s Hospital.
5. The Showtime Weekend – The rehearsing begins at 7.30pm on the Friday evening. Blocking, singing, and choreography starts immediately, everyone must have learnt their parts. The Saturday is reserved for continuous intense rehearsals. The day finishes with the only full run of the show before the actual performance. This can be a bit frightening as suddenly everyone is aware of how much work is still to be done. Sunday is the day when we get into the theatre. Lighting, sound, set, dressing rooms, orchestra and everything else needs to be completed by 7pm. The audience arrive and at 7.30pm the show begins!
6. The Party – Everyone, however knackered, is required to go to the after-show party and enjoy themselves! Well deserved!