When I first met Jenny Witterick, I had no idea what to expect. She’s an energetic woman, with lots of passion in her eyes. At our first meeting, this self-made success story and best-selling author elaborated to me a story about a bird that had found itself deep in an underground parking garage with little chance it would find it’s way out. Jenny went on about how she brought food and water and kept the bird alive until she was able to contact Toronto Wildlife who came and rescued the animal.
We had 5 months of preparations: initial concepts and planning, rehearsals, run-through and lead up for this one-night-only show at the end of April.
Jenny was moved by this experience and she had come to me with the idea of putting on a show to help this charity that is funded primarily from donations. The show would be called “A Journey to Happiness” and would be a simple story, based loosely around Jenny’s life but told through popular music both old and new. St. Royal Entertainment would be responsible for all the music and technical supervision.
We assembled our team in December. Andrew St. Royal would produce, Jon Butash would be Musical Director, and Mike Walther (co-founder of St. Royal Production) would be Technical Director in the planning and Technical Supervisor at the theatre.
We had the band in place next, a custom 12-piece live band made of a very talented group of young, professionals from the St. Royal Family, we began our own 5 month journey to happiness leading from initial concepts and early planning to the one-night-only show date at the end of April.
This beautiful theatre was designed to have a warm, natural acoustics and we carefully planned to take advantage of that.
With most of the songs selected by Jenny we had custom arrangements made for the 12-piece St. Royals band and set a rehearsal plan. We would have individual prep time, followed by four full-band rehearsals: on-book, off-book, a cue-to-cue to nail the transitions between songs, dress rehearsal, and a run-through day-of.
We opted to have the entire band on wireless in-ear monitors for a clean stage and to help control any acoustic noise. This beautiful theatre was designed to have a warm, natural acoustics and we wanted to really take advantage of that. Mike pre-built a show file on our digital mixing board so we could upload it directly into the board at the Winter Garden to get a running start during setup (The Winter Garden uses their own unionized audio techs so this ensured the band would be setup efficiently and exactly the way we want it). Mike also acted as liaison between Jenny, our team responsible for the 30ft dynamic display, the Winter Garden’s technical director, and the St. Royals.
The show day was upon us in no time, but thanks to our careful planning and execution we experienced no setbacks, or delays of any kind. We were ready.
The band played the 90-minute show consisting of 36 custom arranged pieces including many original works. The music was flawless and the arrangements were tight. Mike acted as technical supervisor and ran the show from backstage. Jenny wove the music into a story with dialogue and narration and took the packed house (!) on their journey. The band received many accolades from the audience and the show was a success – people loved it and Jenny was able to raise funds for Toronto Wildlife. Plans for another collaboration in musical theatre are in the works..
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