All Singing, All Dancing and All Tracking: Behind the Scenes of OLTL's Starr X'ed LoversBy Posted: May 10, 2010
ONE LIFE TO LIVE's musical director Paul Glass spent nearly 15 hours on the musical's title song Starr X'ed Lovers, mixing the tracks. If you are anything like me, you might wonder, "What does mixing the tracks mean?"I recently visited Glass' studio and he showed me — or tried his best to. In simple terms, here's the deal: When viewers watch the musical numbers (starting on May 14), they'll see the actors singing and dancing. However, those scenes were not just a matter of putting a television camera in front of the actors and pushing record. Yes, a visual is taped and the actors sing. But you and I won't hear that version of the song. Glass takes each soloist and/or up to three backup singers into a recording studio (conveniently in the next building), where they record the song for real. If there are 15 voices singing, Glass has 15 different tracks. Then he mixes all the tracks together and matches that to the visual. Glass and his team did that for all 14 songs you'll hear on the three days of the musical.
Some main characters — like Markko (Jason Tam) and Starr (Kristen Alderson) — have solo numbers, and some songs spotlight a handful of characters, such as the "Battlefield" number, which features Starr, Langston (Brittany Underwood) and Layla (Tika Sumpter).
Glass was also one of the creators of 2008's Prom Night: The Musical, and as a result, has watched several of these young actors grow up vocally. "Kristen had changed so much [since the last musical]," Glass explains. "I would think there was a different person in there. It's amazing how these kids change."
He's also impressed with one of the new gals on the singing scene — Kelley Missal (Danielle). "She has no vocal training, but she makes such unbelievable musical choices. They are just instinctual. We have the Pat Benatar song 'We Belong,' and Kelley sings a line in there, and it's perfect. She couldn't know less about Pat Benatar or the song," explains Glass.
Although Glass himself has been putting in long days, he's amazed at what the young actors are doing. Not only do they have to learn songs, but there are five to six hours of dance rehearsals, and "they are also doing their regular scenes," Glass adds. "Brittany's and Kristen's storylines are not that bright on their end, and then all of a sudden, they are dancing around and singing. It's pretty amazing what they've been able to pull off in that little time."