Wednesday, December 26, 2012

JKTS Chat: Recording DROOD and Celebrating the Holidays

Eric's Photo Feature
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)
The holiday season upon us, The Mystery of Edwin Drood's very own Eric Sciotto takes us backstage at Studio 54 for a look at how the cast celebrates Christmastime together.  PLUS he explains how the Drood cast recording came together, and shares a glimpse of his family.  Oh!  And a Chita Rivera photobomb for Eric and Stephanie J. Block!   Be sure to scroll down for the hilarious music video from Andy Karl and the whole cast of The Mystery of Edwin Drood - "Bustle Fluffah"!

5 (More) Quick Questions for Eric Sciotto

1.  So, the other day, the cast headed to the recording studio to capture the revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood on CD!  I know all the Drood fans - including me - are very excited about this.  Explain how the day went.  How did this recording go?  Were the tracks done in order?  Was the orchestra there or were the tracks already done?  Now, you've recorded with your idol, Chita Rivera!  Did that make the day memorable?  Which track or tracks do you think fans will enjoy the absolute most? 

Eric Sciotto: Firstly, may I say, making a recording is something I will always cherish.  The thrill of it has never diminished for me. SOOOO EXCITED!  Okay.... so the DROOD recording experience was unlike some of the others I've done.  Firstly, it was very "live."  The orchestra was in the room, and the whole cast was at mics just behind some free-standing wall units.... meaning we heard everything live in the space, and we all sang together.  If there were soloists, they were in the front of the group and positioned at the mics more prominently   Often, everyone will be in separate rooms on separate mics and only hearing through headphones ("cans").  So I can only imagine this will have the sound and feeling of a live performance rather than an overly micro-managed and digitally perfected cast album.  That's cool!  Only a few times did an actual soloist step into a separate booth to isolate their voice.  As I said, the orchestra was live right then, we did not record to a playback of previous recording.  Interesting. Tracks were not done in order.  Mostly we worked from big groups down, so they could release people as they were done, and so I think Will (Chase) did "Man Could Go Quite Mad" at like 11 PM.... after singing ALL DAY!  He amazes me.  There were a few scheduling considerations, such as being sure to record a lighter solo first, before doing a screamy one, so as not to tax the performers voice in a way that would be detrimental.... so in a few cases, we did some things in show order.  A few fun things: Not only did I share a freestanding mic with Chita (Rivera) for part of the day, she also photo-bombed a picture of me and SJB (Stephanie J. Bock)!  HILARIOUS.  This 2 CD recording will be really cool, because we recorded all the murderer confessions!  They did a few "Out on a Limericks," and a fun idea for recording "The Lovers" which is a reprise of "Perfect Strangers" done at the end of the show... but I think there are 18 possible combinations for "lovers" so, of course we did not do all 18.... Rupert (Holmes) and the gang came up with a fun new take! 

Chita Rivera's Photo-Bomb with
Stephanie J. Block and Eric Sciotto
(Photo by Eric Sciotto)

2.  You mentioned before that Rupert Holmes has been very hands on with this revival.  How was it to work with such an accomplished recording artist/producer?  I imagine he was hands on in the studio, too?  I know Drood is very close to his heart.  Do you think he'll be pleased with how this CD will turn out?  

Eric Sciotto: Rupert is a very smart and lovely and patient man.  He was not producing this recording, so he was there "as the composer" in his own words.  He was helpful and took charge if and when needed, and of course he weighed in now and then, but he knows how to let other people do their jobs, and not micromanage.  A few times, he came out from the booth to congratulate us on a take or with support and compliments.  He's the best!  He said on more that one occasion, "THAT take is one I'm PROUD to have represent me and this show!"

Mr. Alan Eliot and Miss Janet Conover
(Eric and Jessie Mueller) recording Drood
(Photo by Eric Sciotto)

3.  Of course, this is not the first time the Drood company has recorded together.  Tell us about the show's contribution to this year's Carols for a Cure.  Why should we all make sure to add this CD to our collections?  

Eric Sciotto: Carols for a Cure is such a great idea and I love to be involved as much as possible each year.  Richard Rockage arranged a beautiful version of "Good Queen Wenceslas" that has the sound of Dickensian Carolers coupled with a very Music Hall Royale dramatic reading. Chita and Stephanie played the "Queen" (instead of King) and "Page" respectively, and did an over the top dramatic reading of the tale while a chorus of 8 sing behind.  Also a lovely introduction by our "Chairman" Mr. Jim Norton, with his incredible voice... it's awesome!  Very "in the style of" our English Music Hall Personae.  GET YOUR COPY TODAY!!!!!!!!!  Great stocking stuffers for the Broadway Enthusiasts in your life!!!  And all for a great cause!  I love working with Lyn Pinto at Rock*It Science Records and with BC/EFA!!!!  OR download "GOOD QUEEN WENCESLAS."

Family Photo!
David, Olympia, Sam and Eric
(Photo by Eric Sciotto)

4.  As a working Broadway dancer during the holiday season, how do you find time to get ready for all of the festivities?  What traditions do you and David have for the holiday season?  I'll bet it is extra exciting at Christmastime with two little ones at home!  Are they getting excited? 

Eric Sciotto: I'm sure for most people, all the holiday "extras" make time management REALLY challenging... so I don't feel like being a Broadway Dancer has any different problems than other normal humans.... In order to prepare for the holidays, I've brought a lot of work to work.  I have been making hand-made gifts, in my dressing room between shows, and during my Act 1 break.  Today, I brought my (very late) Christmas cards to write out.... I've also been getting home late after the show and staying up extra late doing things bit by bit, sewing, wrapping, etc.... so... I'm tired, but happy.  As for our Family's Traditions, David and I are just beginning to form our holiday traditions, we keep changing and refining them what with the two kids and all... but really we just try to make the house really cozy and fun, decoration-wise, and David baked a bunch of cookies... I think we'll have to make more soon... our 4 year old is really excited about everything... keeps writing additional letters to Santa, and telling his Elf on the Shelf, "Happy," what he'd like Santa to know.... and I'm pretty sure he's just really jazzed about the presents.... and Olympia is just now 11 months.... so she enjoys the decorations, and the tree, and whatnot, but doesn't really get what's going on.  I remember Sam's second Christmas, he was 1 and change, and he was perfectly happy after just ONE present... liked the paper and the box.  So, O will be just fine.  

Eric and Will Chase at the "Bustle Fluffah" shoot!
(Photo by Eric Sciotto)

5.  Speaking of holiday traditions, I know that a lot of Broadway shows celebrate the season backstage - decorating, cookies, parties, etc.  What is Drood doing (if anything) to celebrate the season together?  Of course, there are probably people who come to the show and think that you guys are doing Drood as a Christmas show already.  Not the case, but still pretty funny, huh?

Eric Sciotto:  Drood has been rocking out the holiday season.... we have a very festive round of SECERT SANTA going on... it's one of the biggest (number of participants) and most far reaching SS's I've ever seen!  Everyone's fun and festive, and people are pranking each other, and elfing up a storm.... songs are being performed.... tasks.... etc.... and we have a wall of SS gratitude, where people post messages of thanks!  This Saturday, we'll have a Christmas party/dinner situation and reveal our SS's!  Also, our director, Scott Ellis, has challenged us to a Door Decorating contest... so it's starting to look VERY festive!!!  AND.... as a gift to the universe, Andy Karl and the cast of Drood has made a MUSIC VIDEO!  Enjoy: BUSTLE FLUFFAH!!!!


To check out the first two installments of JKTS Chat with Eric Sciotto, click the pictures on the right hand side of this blog.  
to check out the photo shoot and video featuring Eric, click HERE.
To read my review of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, click HERE.


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