Here are some particular challenges to be on the lookout for:
- Scheduling: I worked on a show for which the creative team would meet after each rehearsal and spend a whole hour figuring out the schedule for the rest of the week, but meet again at the next rehearsal to re-work the schedule for the whole week, but meet again the next day, etc. you get the picture.
Scheduling always needs to be readjusted in a regular process, but this went on for the entire process. Because scheduling was constantly changed, there might as well not have been a schedule to start with.
- Not enough rehearsal time: sometimes the schedule is actually so tightly set in stone, even before the choreographer and the music director are hired, that time planned for rehearsals is not adequate to the music that needs to be taught.
This case leads to as crazy a situation as one where people have never gone through a song before tech week, or when they were only taught parts and moves once and never had the chance to rehearse it again.
- A difficult cast member: it's amazing how one single person can impact everyone's process, whether it's a diva, a whiner, or a rehearsal back seat driver, they will bring the energy down and the mood low.
- No score: no words, no chords, no printed music, nothing. You get a recording and on your merry way you go, having to figure it all out for yourself what is expected of you.
And don't think that the expectation will be lessened, they will be just the same, except it will take you much longer to get to the same result.
And the rehearsal process will suffer from communication break-down when people want to start in a spot in the middle of the song but no one knows how to refer to it: "you know the spot where it goes lalala, and where the dancers have a turn, not the first turn, but the second turn, the full second turn, not the half one that's in between ..."
- Poorly written vocal parts: this is a problem that happens with new works, because they're still being worked on and parts are being filled in by the day.
Ideally this would be a collaborative process between the composers and the music director and the cast, but after so many years working on a project, original creators tend to become (understandably) possessive of their work, and do not take well outside points of views.
Major patience, kindness and empathy are the most important qualities to maintain then.
- Working with overworked actors: a main problem of summer stock.Voices get tired, people get sick, emotions run high, drama ensues, when exhaustion sets in the rehearsal process becomes a mess.
Actors can't do much about that issue except from taking care of themselves as much as possible. The best to hope then is for a schedule to be well ran, for scores to be handed in and for parts to be written well.
Picture from http://www.ehow.com/videos-on_3286_audition-musical.html