Overture? Entr’acte? Bows?

November 24, 2010

How good is your pit? If your pit rocks, do the Overture. It sets the stage, it gets everyone in the mood, it’s cool. If your pit can’t handle it, or if the show is running as long as the Ring Cycle, cut it. It’s as simple as that. Balance your need to be faithful to the score against your need to make the people around you sound good. The overture, the bows, and the entr’acte are normally things I don’t rehearse with my pit until the last night before we open. By then we all know the tunes that are in those pieces, and the excitement of winging it keeps things hopping on opening night. The bows is a great place to let your pit open up a little. Keep the tempo hopping, and let your players take some liberties with it. All three of these pieces sometimes benefit from judicious cuts.

Some Broadway Bows are meticulously written so that the music matches the people bowing. I believe Seussical is an example of that. So is Millie. Take a peek and see if that’s the case for your show. If it is, tell your director ahead of time so that you can take advantage of it as you stage the bows. It’s really a blast to see people bowing to their theme music, and it keeps people from complaining about the order they’re bowing in, because you didn’t come up with it, it’s from the original production. (by the way, I think professionals complain about bows order more than amateurs) Using the character specific bows also keeps people from dragging their personal bows out, because the next group has to come out 8 measures or so from the time you came out.



  1. Could you ever see yourself cutting just the second overture?

    • I think you mean the Entr’acte, Dave. Sure, I could see that, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually done it. For one thing, the Entr’acte gives everybody a chance to get back in their seats before the second act starts. Better than hearing shuffling and coughing and talking all through the first number of the show.

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