In an exclusive column, Broadway performer John Carroll takes Advocate readers behind the scenes of Lincoln Center Theater's hotly anticipated musical production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Picture it: a bare stage, a burning bed, and Sherie Rene Scott singing her ever-loving face off beside it. Sounds almost biblical, doesn't it? Well, welcome to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Sherie has a number in this show that will bring down the house or perhaps, in this case, burn it down.

It's strange to connect the voice I've been listening to for years through my headphones to the person I've met and with whom I now work. Sherie's voice is a gift from on high. Seriously, she should send me a therapist's bill for helping me through many a broken heart. If you've never heard her sing on the cast recording of The Last Five Years, well, let’s just say you've got homework to do.

Earlier in the week we had what I like to call a "Broadway magic" day. The company of WotV went uptown to the Lincoln Center Theater for our sitzprobe. A sitzprobe is a musical theater term used to describe a seated rehearsal during which the singers sing with the orchestra, focusing on integrating the two groups. Before now, we were just rehearsing with piano, drums, and a guitar. Those three instruments alone are not too shabby; however, sitting in the lobby of this iconic theater listening to a 16-piece orchestra playing David Yazbek's stunning score is a whole different experience. The music felt like it was washing over me. It was as if I were back in the days of Phil Spector and his famous "wall of sound." Ah, the power of music.

We are also now in what we call, "10 out of 12's." Right before a production's first public performance, the actors can be asked to rehearse for 10 hours out of a 12-hour period. It's long and it's grueling. We basically live at the theater. Because the Belasco is an older theater, there is no rehearsal space. If you are not able to use the stage, there is literally nowhere to practice. Christopher Gattelli, our incredibly talented choreographer, and the rest of the dancers have been rehearsing at a dance space minutes away from the theater. Because we are at the Belasco and have to tech a scene one minute and run off to the dance studio to rehearse a production number the next minute, I have to carry around absolutely everything I'll need for the day in one bag. Like a bag lady. Like a beautiful bag lady ... with a 28-inch waist.

Tags: Theater