For many, the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a blur – no one knows what day it is or how many Coronas they’ve knocked back in the pool. But for a select few, it’s a time spent polishing a one-night-only performance to bring in 2019 with a bang. NQOMT’s NYE at the Civic will return tomorrow night, featuring a plethora of experienced and fresh talent. We caught up with Assistant Vocal Director Morgan Eldridge to find out what to expect.
How does this year’s NYE differ from previous years?
This year our theme is Around the World, so we’re taking music and acts from a number of different countries, bringing them all together, and showing the links between countries, cultures, and people. Our cast includes a lot of green people which is really exciting. That was the whole idea of the NYE show when it was first conceived, to have people who maybe weren’t very heavily involved in the theatre community already or who were wanting to get involved but not sure how, this was the place to dip your toes in and see if it’s for you.
Has this show allowed a lot of the cast to bring their own ideas and cultures to the table?
There have definitely been cast members who have brought items to us going, ‘This fits the theme and I really want to do it, are you guys interested?’ and we’ve definitely taken some of those on board. Our Artistic Director Alan [Cooke] definitely already had a pretty solid idea in his head of its structure and the bigger numbers so we sat around as a production team and brainstormed what would fit where, what countries could apply to different songs, what cultures hadn’t been included, stuff like that. It was a lot of sitting, brainstorming, and making sure it would all work and run as smoothly as possible.
Obviously Sally [MC for the past two years] is involved again – should people expect a similar format to previous years’ shows?
There’s a similar format absolutely – there’s less actual introduction of acts, songs, or people performing though – it’s run a lot more smoothly and with more narrative flow to it. Sally is a world traveller going around to different countries, so a lot of our in-between sections are introducing the country we’re going to; it’s great, there’s almost no fourth wall break saying, ‘this singer will now sing this song!’
What’s so exciting about the NYE show for you?
I love NYE because it gives you the opportunity to do something within the realm of theatre but a little bit different – so a lot of the people involved in theatre don’t get the chance to sing contemporary songs for instance, because we stick pretty heavily to the classic songs in whatever production we’re involved in. NYE gives us the chance to dabble in both and bring a lot of contemporary music into the fold. I also really love seeing people come out of the woodwork – you find there’s people who have been in a lot of ensembles but suddenly they get up and do a solo and you’re just taken aback because you’ve never gotten to hear that before and that is so exciting and amazing. NYE can be really cool for finding hidden gems in our community.
Is it stressful having a very ephemeral show, where there’s one performance and then that’s it?
It is in a way, because a lot of people say opening night is your last dress run. That shouldn’t be the case, but often it is! We get one tech run in the theatre the day before, then the following night we’re on and then we never do it again. It can be a lot of pressure for performers who have one night to get it right, but they always come out shining in the end.
How’s it looking behind the scenes?
It’s looking fantastic, they’ll absolutely be ready to blow everyone away. NYE always has a tendency to come together at the last minute because a lot of people are working around family and friends over the holidays, finishing work for the year, they may be in other productions, so we find it all pulls together at the last minute. There’s a lot of rehearsals where it is just individual people coming in to run pieces, then we finally do full runs and suddenly see how all the pieces fall together.
Anything else to add?
Come to NYE! We’re so excited to put this show on, we’ve put in so much effort, and we’d love to have you especially now that we’re back at the Civic Theatre again. The show generally finishes at 11:30 so people can come out, grab a drink, and enjoy the fireworks together. There’s also generally an extended interval too so people have the chance to actually get a drink and enjoy it rather than necking it and running back inside. Riverway [where the show was staged last year] was a beautiful venue, but the Civic Theatre is the home of NYE so we’re very excited to be back.
Bring in 2019 with NQOMT’s New Year’s Eve at the Civic Theatre tomorrow night from 8pm. Click here for tickets.