Standing among other “Nine to Five” cast members at the Lyric Theatre Friday night, Shade Tidwell smiled and said — with a hint of good-natured mischief — that he gets to be mean to his wife.
And not get in trouble for it.
That’s all part of the act as Tidwell’s wife, Caitlyn, is also a cast member and the two have scenes together.
“It’s kind of funny,” Tidwell said during a brief break in a nightly rehearsal. “That’s my wife, and I’m playing her ex-husband.”
During the break, the two managed to exchange a few quick words with each other and even a quick smooch.
Those were among the interactions in the rehearsal of the musical comedy that opens July 12. Casually dressed cast members – mostly wearing shorts or jeans and T-shirts – sang, danced and recited dialogue as they ran through scenes under the direction of Dr. Nancy Jo Humfeld.
Humfeld said earlier that Friday night’s rehearsal would be “really rough because it will be our first time to put everything in Act 1 together. We’ve done all the bits and pieces but we have never put anything together.”
If the Friday night rehearsal was “rough,” that didn’t show in the high-spirited cast members and in the calm, even-keeled Humfeld, who called out instructions as the on-stage action started and stopped.
Cast members whooped and cheered for each other after songs and dance routines.
Tidwell, a Brownwood police officer, has appeared in several previous Lyric shows including “Windows Home.” Tidwell played a sheriff in that show, which was directed by his wife.
“She’s very good,” Tidwell said of Caitlyn. “She’s very professional. She treated me like anyone else.”
Shade – whose enthusiastic vocals during ensemble singing revealed a decent singing voice – said he’s never had a major role in a Lyric production.
“But it’s fun,” Tidwell said.
Other cast members include Shannon Lee, the Brownwood High School theatre director.
“I love it. I love it,” Lee said of being a cast member rather than her customary director’s role. She likes letting someone else make the decisions.
As Humfeld and cast members worked through the logistics of what might be considered mundane details, it became increasingly clear that the lavish productions audience members enjoy don’t just happen.
Humfeld asked cast members to think about how they can get furniture on and off the stage during scene changes. “We don’t have room for any stage hands back stage,” Humfeld said. “You guys are the stage hands.”
The show is “really unique” because the ensemble is a huge part of the show, Humfeld told cast members. “You’ve got to be on deck to sing, on stage, off stage, anywhere,” Humfeld told cast members.
According to the Lyric Theatre’s website, “Nine to Five” tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy – three workmates pushed to the boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss.
The three concoct a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor. “Will the girls manage to reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit” the website teases.
Tickets can be reserved on the Lyric Theatre’s website, www.brownwoodlyrictheatre.com