After many weeks, NEVERWHERE encounters its first audience tonight. This is not opening night; it is the first night of previews.

The preview process is a luxury many (perhaps most) theatre companies in Chicago are unable to afford. At best they will have previews on Thursday and Friday, and then open the show on Saturday. While that does give the show a chance at a little audience feedback, there really is no opportunity to fix anything that just doesn’t work.

Lifeline, the company producing NEVERWHERE, owns its own space. As a result, we have the chance to perform an entire weekend of shows, take what we learned from those audiences and continue to work during the next week, then test those changes on a second round of preview audiences the next weekend before we finally open the Monday afterward. The result is that the show we will open on May 10th will be a different beast from the one we’ll perform tonight.

In this particular instance the changes probably won’t be too dramatic. A shortened line here, a tighter entrance there. That sort of thing. However, I’ve heard stories of musical productions that added entire songs during the preview process. For an actor these changes can be dizzying, but there is nothing more exhilarating than the moment all the pieces of a show finally fit together.

If you’re in the Chicago area and want to help us put the final touches on NEVERWHERE, we’ll have preview performances April 30-May 2, and May 7-9. Click here for more information.