You may have seen "Wicked" at the Majestic recently, but did you know that several of the orchestra members are San Antonians? Peter Rubins is one of them and plays French horn with the San Antonio Symphony, but this month he’s one of nine local players also playing with the orchestra for their production of "Wicked."
"There are a lot of moving parts in a production of this size," Rubins said.
I asked him if "Wicked" was particularly challenging music.
"Yes it is," he said. "There are a lot of moments in the show, depending on what’s going on onstage, where you have to respond to that activity on stage."
And this is the part theater-goers may not understand: The conductor is keeping the pace of the music in sync with the onstage action that the orchestra can’t even see. That pace changes, if slightly, from night-to-night, scene-to-scene.
"You’re using an enormous amount of concentration to play these shows like this," said Rubins. "It is not a phone-it-in kind of situation."
Rubins is tucked in a corner under the lip of the stage, and can’t really hear the rest of the orchestra well. While that may seem daunting, this isn’t Rubins’ first rodeo.
"I started the first national company of 'Phantom of the Opera' [and] 'Miss Saigon.' I’ve been on the road with "The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber," and Michael Crawford was headlining for us on that one. I’ve done 'Les Mis,' " Rubins said.
"So you’re a grizzled veteran, is what you are," I said.
"Yes.Yes, I am," Rubins replied. "Maybe not so grizzled, but I am a veteran."
I asked if this kind of grind still manages to be fun. His response was emphatic and heartfelt.
"Absolutely," Rubins said. "I love to see that audience lining up outside before we open, and they’re so excited."
He said he can feel the audience excitement, which is one of the things that powers his performance.
"You know, Broadway really is a magical experience," Rubins said. "I really love it because of the reaction of the crowd. It’s fascinating and I feel proud to take part in that experience for them."
Rubins plays with "Wicked" through March 30 at the Majestic.
- For more on the show visit: www.majesticempire.com