Gina Rattan is too young to remember the last live musical on national TV.
It was “Cinderella” — back in 1959.
Gina graduated from Staples in 2004. Heck, her parents are probably too young to remember that show.
But the Staples Players alum knows all about the “Cinderella” now running on Broadway. She joined it in September 2012 as associate director.
Now — in a clever plot twist that’s almost too good to be true — she’ll be part of a history-making event. On December 5 (8 p.m.), NBC airs “The Sound of Music” — live.
It’s the first nationally televised performance of a musical since that long-ago “Cinderella.” And Gina is the associate director.
The challenges are enormous, she says — and Gina knows from challenges. After earning a BFA from the University of Michigan, she served as resident director of “Billy Elliot” on Broadway. Part of her job: wrangling the 4 different pre-teen Billys.
Working with Carrie Underwood (the Julia Andrews role) and director Rob Ashford sounds easier. But staging the 1st live TV musical in over 50 years is far tougher than singing do-re-mi.
“The set for TV is so much bigger than a theater set,” Gina notes. “And we use several sets, on a huge sound stage. But the rehearsal space was so small. We really had a to adapt.”
In addition to stage blocking, she devised blocking for cameras. Auditions and pre-production began in mid-September. Rehearsals started last month.
The von Trapp children go to school for 15 hours a day, so finding rehearsal time was difficult. “With ‘Billy Elliot,’ we had a routine,” Gina says. “This changes every day. If I can make this schedule work, I can do anything!”
While all that goes on, another camera crew is filming everything. That’s for a behind-the-scenes “Making of…” documentary, which airs November 27.
Oh, yeah. The cast also found time to record a cast album.
But it’s all coming together, Gina promises.
“This is so unique,” she says. “The dancing is gorgeous, and the kids are fabulous.
“It’s very exciting: a beautiful live show with a full orchestra. Anything can happen. That’s what I love about theater.”
And that’s why an enormous audience is expected on December 5. The hills — and living rooms — will be alive with the sound of music.
Thanks, in large part, to the frenzied, but very professional, work of Westport’s Gina Rattan.