Question: how long before showtime would you guess Team Lord arrives at the venue?
If you've been watching our live Dancelord TV streams (twitch.tv/lordofthedance), you know the answer: it's several hours before the curtain goes up.
First, the crew arrives. They meticulously load in each piece of the set, building Planet Ireland in precise order. Lord of the Dance is an extremely complicated production; you've got massive video screens, pyro, complex lighting, audio engineering, quickchange setup, catering setup, and several more layers of pre-show setup that no one ever sees.
Next comes the cast. By the time they arrive, the crew has already been at work for several hours (and will work for several hours after the show ends and the cast returns to the hotel). Cast arrival is, on average, about four hours ahead of showtime.
First up, after everyone finds their dressing rooms and drops their gear, is typically either a lineup or a core workout. Lord of the Dance is an extremely physically demanding show, and peak physical fitness has to be maintained -- not just to look good onstage, but to be able to survive a lengthy tour that pushes the boundaries of the human body.
Lineups are like focusing a camera lens. You can see the rough picture, but you have to get every element positioned just right for the image to snap into sharp focus. Each venue can have a different stage, so each lineup is different. Lord of the Dance tends to have a big stage area -- seriously, you could land a Harrier jump jet on the set with plenty of room to spare -- so it's important to utilize it correctly.
After the lineups and drills, usually the stage is open for sound checks and individual rehearsals while the bulk of the troupe is at catering and/or physio. During this time you'll often find the leads onstage, making tiny adjustments to their solos as needed based on space. (For instance, a Cry of the Celts solo doesn't look the same on a regular stage as it does on a Feet of Flames stage.)
Shortly before showtime, there's a final group warmup, followed by individual warmups. The show travels with it's own gym equipment, so it's common to see troupe members working out throughout the show to stay warm and limber. After that, it's into costume and final makeup checks.
Then the lights dim, the clock starts ticking, and it's showtime: Planet Ireland is once again summoned into existence.
This journal entry is written from the Lordbus, en route to tonight's performance in Frankfurt. When we arrive, the ritual you just read about begins anew. Tonight, another crowd of thousands will be spellbound by the magic these men and women in Team Lord work around the clock to create.
Dim the lights. Start the clock. It's time to dance.