The Timely Adventures of Rachel Evans, Part 7: Nights On Broadway
January 11, 2012
"Rachel." Leigh poked her shoulder tentatively. "Rachel. Are you okay?"
Rachel shook herself. "Yeah, fine. Need coffee." Understatement.
"Come on." Leigh took her arm. "Maybe we can get Joe to give us some before we go to the theater."
Joe was, in fact, easily persuaded to get them both coffees at the diner. They drank it quickly while he finished the last of his kitchen duties. Rachel was still savoring the caffeine high as Leigh quizzed Joe on the way to the theater.
"So tell us again why you think they'll hire us? You don't even know if we've done any acting."
"You don't have to know how to act to just stand in the background," Joe said impatiently. "Look, just trust me on this. They'll want the pair of you," he grinned at both of them in a manner that he probably considered quite charming.
Leigh raised an eyebrow. "You don't think we'll actually get roles, do you?" She muttered in an aside to Rachel.
"Anything is possible in New York." Rachel stared up at the skyscrapers looming above their heads. "That's what's so great about it."
"If you start singing anything from Newsies, I will stab you and leave you in an alleyway." Leigh stuck her hands in her pockets.
"Newsies?" Joe inquired.
"A grand musical. One set right here in New York about the struggle of ordinary paperboys. It's not really well known yet," Rachel added hastily. She had to remember what not to mention. She didn't want to mess up the future so that one of Christian Bale's few singing ventures never happened.
"Never heard of it." Joe shrugged. "Here we are." He led them around the back and held the stage door with a flourish. "Ladies, welcome to our theater."
Rachel nudged Leigh with her elbow, unable to suppress a grin, and Leigh nudged her back warningly.
To Leigh’s surprise and dismay, and Rachel’s delight, the director took one look at them and said, "Get 'em into costume," before stalking off to yell at some stagehands who were mishandling the fake race horses.
"That was it?" Rachel looked around. She'd thought they might have to sing a little something, and was fully prepared to keep hold of Leigh so she couldn't bolt, while singing 'Make 'Em Laugh,' which for some reason was the only song she could remember at the moment.
"That was it." Joe grinned. "Come on, I’ll take you to costuming. When they're done with you, I'll introduce you to Amanda; she’s one of the chorus in the first act, and the racetrack number. Maybe after rehearsal we could all go out for a nightcap?"
"Sounds good." Rachel said cheerfully. They didn't have to audition, which was better in the long run anyway and now they were going to be on Broadway. She pinched her arm, just testing herself. This might have been a really good dream. She couldn't remember the last time she fell asleep. She pinched harder.
"Rachel, stop pinching yourself. It's real." Leigh turned to Joe with an air of resignation. "Now, costuming?"
Costuming was a well-organized madhouse. People wandered in and out, in varying degrees of undress, mostly from the opening London street scenes. A lady in an austere black dress with a high bun eyed Rachel and Leigh critically. “I have no idea what you’re wearing, but take it off. Take it off now.”
Rachel complied hastily, ducking behind the screen an assistant pointed her to. Leigh was sent behind a similar screen, muttering to herself. Rachel undressed, slipping the PD into the pocket of the dress they handed her. It wasn’t safe there, but she disliked the thought of leaving it in the pile of clothes. They were fitted with dresses and bonnets and ridiculous shoes. Leigh just stared at the assistants until they gave up trying to do something with her hair and just put the bonnet on top. Rachel eyed herself in the mirror dubiously. She did not belong in the time period of Eliza Doolittle at all.
When they were presented at last to the costumer, she just nodded and sighed. "You’ll do, but try to stay in the back, girls. Honestly, I don't think they would have even hired you two if they weren't already having so much trouble with the production." She went off to deal with an actor who was complaining about his top hat.
The assistant sighed to herself then and just shook her head at them. "'Trouble' with the production, my foot."
"Trouble?" Leigh glanced at Rachel with a 'What-Did-I-Tell-You expression'.
"Trouble?" Rachel inquired in a perfectly innocent voice. "What sort of trouble?"
"The funny kind." The assistant leaned over the table in a conspiratorial manner. "Lights flickering. Strange noises. The whole shebang. I tell you, kids. I think the place is haunted."
"Really..." Rachel said casually.
"And not only that, but things keep happening to the cast. One girl nearly broke her neck tripping on some stairs.” The assistant pursed her lips significantly. “I'd watch my step if I were you."
As soon as the assistant was gone, Leigh grabbed Rachel's arm and dragged her around behind a rack of dresses waiting for the racetrack scene. "We need to leave. Now. I am not dying for My Fair Lady."
"Calm down. We're not going to die." Rachel patted her shoulder soothingly. Out of the corner of her eye she was already looking for signs of ghost activity. The room was cold, but then it was a large theater so that was to be expected.
"You keep calm!" Leigh hissed. "Seriously, Rachel."
"What would Sam and Dean do?" Rachel hissed back. This was a frequent question they asked each other, even if the situation didn’t entirely call for it. This was the first time it actually did.
"They would advise us to be sensible and get the hell out of Dodge," Leigh countered. "Considering we're merely civilians, not demon or ghost hunters, and we don't have any salt or iron or weapons of any kind."
"Well, yes, they probably would..." Rachel conceded. "But Leigh, there’s no concrete evidence that the theater is actually haunted. As far as we know it’s just something happening in the collective consciousness of the cast. I mean, look, what else are they going to talk about?" She leaned in. "They don’t even have the internet yet."
"Believe me, I know." Leigh murmured. "And as long as we stay here, neither will we."
That was a terribly good point. Rachel had to admit it. She did miss the internet.
"Can we at least stay for the opening performance?" She pleaded. "It's the day after tomorrow. We can stay that long. Come on. Please, Leigh. It'll make up for...my birthday."
There was a moment's silence.
"I should have known you'd play that card." Leigh sighed. "Fine, all right. We'll stay until then, but if this place is truly haunted, we are leaving immediately. I'm not dying in 1956."
"Words to live by." Rachel held out her hand and they shook on it.
To be continued...