If a picture is worth a thousand words:
This is the first photo of Sheriff Joe Sutter from backstage of our first run in costume. Since then, we've change the hair design just a little bit, but this is essentially what I will look like in the show. The belt is one of my favorite parts. You can see some keys dangling off my belt, and you can just about see my flashlight on my other hip. There is also a set of handcuffs on the back of my belt, and we have taken some pictures of the Sheriff handcuffing everyone in the town. You can also see a microphone in my picture, coming up over my right ear. Since our orchestra is backstage, they need to be amplified over the speaker system. And so in order for the actors themselves to be heard, they also need to use microphones. It provides technical challenges, though, because it is often hard to hear the orchestra over the monitor speakers set up on either side of the stage. It is also a challenge because we cannot see our musical director, so there can be no communication between us while singing. We're still working those problems out, but I also found another picture of the set that I can post. There was more work done to it in the last few days so it's changed already. Also, it looks a whole lot different when the lights are hitting it. We find more and more set dressing added to it every day; the kitchen shelves have more and more on them every time we come in. And since the show is about letters being sent to the grill, we have stacks and stacks of envelopes and letters backstage.
I always really enjoy working with props and costume, as I feel they really give the show a full sense of reality. As a small example, there is a scene late in the show where Joe gets a stack of mail handed to him. We had been playing the scene with just a handful of clean white envelopes. But thinking that it didn't look real, we roughed up the envelopes and added some pieces of different sizes and colors. And when it was handed to be onstage, my first honest reaction was to start flipping through it to see what I had gotten. That is exactly the reaction you have to real mail; you start sorting junk, bills, and honest letters. It was a great honest example of "in the moment" acting.