This show 99.9% sung and its vital that the audience understands the plot and motivations correctly, in the way they would if the lines were spoken.
The problem with an ‘opera’ is that if the words and lines are not sung well, the meaning is lost.
What does singing well mean?
I always advise actors to speak the lines of a song first. This will give you the natural rhythms of the sentence. Tim Rice has written wonderful conversational words and they work spoken as well as sung. If you say the words, you will see the timing and balance of each word within the sentence and the sentence within the verse. Now sing it like that.
Beware of adding musical pauses where they aren’t supposed to be. And don’t sing it like a pop star. You’re not a pop star, you’re an actor portraying a really important role in a really important story.
Don’t add unnecessary embellishments to words, like Zubin Varla does in the 1996 recording. Listen to the way he sings the first part of Heaven On Their Minds – all the words are mistimed, mostly too long, and then he starts adding “ya” on the end of words like “be-ya” and “away-ya”. Then, a little later, listen how he sings the word Messiah – “Masiaaaaaaarrrrr!” Ghastly. It’s “look at me, I’m a rock star!” singing.
Now listen to a genuine rock star, Murray Head, singing the original. A totally different performance. Clean, clear, unfussy. He just tells the story as simply as possible. A real actor’s performance. This is what I, Amy, and our audiences want.
How it SHOULDN’T be done:
How it SHOULD be done: