In December, I took a job playing bass in a local production of "Oklahoma." It will be the most money I've ever made for playing bass, but I took it mainly for the growth experience. It is very different from anything else I've ever done. First, the "orchestra" consists of piano, violin, trumpet, drums, and bass. We were all given our scores around the middle of December, but didn't practice together until last Friday night. The show opens this Friday. We will have a total of 5 practices together, 4 of those with the cast. The director gave us a list of cuts and transpositions around January 1, then a revised list with different cuts and transpositions around Jan 20. Then, when I got the first group practice on Friday, there were more cuts and transpositions. Maybe par for the course for the seasoned theater bassist, but not for a guy like me, who is self-taught in technique, theory, and reading. I am way out of my comfort zone - and that's a good thing, if I can stave off an ulcer. The band is up on a tiny loft to the right of the stage. We can't see the actors and they can't see us. We do have a little TV with a view of the stage, which three of us have our backs to. How it worked last night was we would start a song, and the singer would come in at some random point, almost never on the 1 and usually at a different tempo. I don't think they can hear us any better than we can hear them. Hopefully the sound crew will be able to get all of that worked out. Anyway, so far it's been a very unusual experience for my garage-band, ear-playing, make it up as you go self. I am really impressed by my fellow musicians, who by the sounds of it more or less just showed up and played (vs. practicing for a month and a half on their own like I have been). It definitely gives me something to aspire to. Another unique experience has been practicing bass from written music on my own. All by itself, a bassline of written music that is part of an orchestral arrangement doesn't sound much like music at all. Anyway, that's my theater bass experience so far. I'm learning a lot, losing sleep, having fun, pretty much the whole gamut of emotions. P.S. - First dress rehearsal last night scheduled for 2 1/2 hours, I showed up at 7:00 and left at midnight. Add that to all the time I spent re-writing music in new keys, and my hourly rate for this gig is shrinking all the time. I guess that's the life of a working musician.