Created By: randomsurfer on January 20, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on January 12, 2016

Rehearsal Only Number

If we see the rehearsal of a song or scene, we rarely see the finished product.

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Redirect: Rehearsal Only Scene

In The Musical Musical or a Hey, Let's Put on a Show show, in order to space out the musical numbers we will often see a "rehearsal" of a song (or scene, if it's a straight play). This rehearsal will more often than not be of the full song or scene and 100% perfect; if it isn't perfect it will probably be spectacularly bad. Chances are we won't see that particular number in the scenes showing the finished production (if indeed there are any), because we've already seen it. Exceptions may be made in the case of rehearsals which go wrong.

This goes double if the song in question is a Specialty Number which has no bearing on the plot of the musical. One is led to wonder how it would fit in to the show they're supposedly doing.

Sort of an inversion of Unspoken Plan Guarantee: in that, we don't see the rehearsal, just the final product.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Lucky Star only shows the rehearsal version (which goes perfectly) of the title's theme song. The final episode ends as the curtain is about to go up on the real thing.
  • The K-On! manga is always tossing in scenes of the girls practicing here and there, while the actual performances tend to last maybe two pages if that. The anime on the other hand depicts the concerts in full, though usually for about one song. Generally speaking, the series has nowhere near as many concerts as it has practice.

Film
  • White Christmas: We see a rehearsal for the "Choreography" and "Minstrel" numbers, but we never see them in a show.
  • Love Happy, The Marx Brothers' final film. The plot involves a group of young actors putting on a musical and we see the rehearsal for "Who Stole That Jam?" in which a mother beats up her three infant children (played by dolls) while asking the title question. This is supposed to be funny.
  • An early scene in the film version of Kiss Me Kate has Ann Miller's character doing a runthrough of "Too Darn Hot" in order to convince the producers not to cut it. They're convinced, but it doesn't appear in the final product.
  • Michael Jackson's This Is It is only rehearsal footage of Michael Jackson's final tour - since he died before the tour actually happened.
  • The coronation in The King's Speech: we see Bertie and Lionel in the cathedral rehearsing, but we don't see the coronation itself, except for a small bit where they're watching the newsreel footage.
  • This happens in all three High School Musical movies. The third movie is particularly noticeable.

Live Action TV
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show episode "Too Many Stars." During rehearsal for the Parents' Council's school fundraiser we see a "full dress rehearsal" for the show (in Rob's living room!) which consists solely of a jazzy Bob Fosse-esque number starring Rob, Laura, and another neighbor, Anita. How this is supposed to fit into a musical about a young woman in an 1849 Medicine Show is anybody's guess. We never see the show, but in The Stinger they come home from the performance still in costume.
  • Head of the Class: Two in the episode where they're performing Hair:
    • We see a "rehearsal" for the song "What a Piece of Work is Man." It's only the first chorus and they just stand around while singing it; sure enough, when they show scenes of the play as performed it's not included.
    • There's a short rehearsal of "Oh, Donna!" by an actor replacing the one originally cast, which is also not shown in the finished product (by which time the original actor comes back to the production).
  • The Partridge Family: Sometimes we see a rehearsal in the family garage, and Once an Episode we see a performance on stage. We almost never see the same song being performed in both types of scenes.
  • All of Glee, ever. Even though the show is constantly focused on preparing for a competition, they only rehearse songs guaranteed not to be used for real.

Music Video
  • OK Go's video for "A Million Ways" is footage of them rehearsing the dance moves they'd planned for the music video, but it got spread around via email and became in Internet Sensation as it was.

Theater
  • Noises Off is one of the few examples where we see the finished product. The first act is a terrible rehearsal, Act two is backstage during the same scene in the middle of the run, and act three is the same scene again, very late in the run.
  • Played straight and averted in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical The Phantom of the Opera - we only see the rehearsal of the opening number of the opera Hannibal, but while Christine sings "Think of Me" (from the same Show Within a Show) the scene changes from the rehearsal to her debut (basically an on-stage Dissolve). The other two operas performed we are actually seeing the performances.
  • Say, Darling, the "play about a musical" adapted from a novel by Richard Bissell about the making of a Broadway musical, focused mostly on audition and rehearsal scenes and skips over the opening performance, much like the novel does. This provided a good excuse for the original production to use piano accompaniment rather than a full theatre orchestra, though an Orchestral Version was recorded and used in some performances.
  • The overture of Kiss Me Kate ends just before the final note; the conductor asks Mr. Graham "is that OK?" and Graham responds "the cut is fine, leave it as is."

Western Animation
  • The South Park episode "Broadway Bro Down" is about Randy trying to write a stage play (with ulterior motives, as is typical of the series). The episode has a full musical number during rehearsal, though the reason why the musical number isn't seen again is because Randy gets a change of heart later and stops the play from reaching completion.

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • January 23, 2012
    Duncan
    • Played straight and averted in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Musical of The Phantom Of The Opera - we only see the rehearsal of the opening number of the opera Hannibal, but while Christine sings "Think of Me" (from the same Show Within A Show) the scene changes from the rehearsal to her debut (basically an on-stage Dissolve). The other two operas performed we are actually seeing the performances.
    • In Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, we see a rehearsal of "Barbeque" from the jug-band, but then someone else does that song in the talent contest, and the gang has to learn a new song ("Brothers"), and they do that instead.
  • January 23, 2012
    Treblain
    Glee. The glee club sings several songs every episode, yet never seems to be shown practicing the songs they perform at competitions. In the first season's sectionals, this was justified by Sue leaking their setlist to the other schools, forcing them to come up with different ones. In the regionals, the show got around showing them practicing via Unspoken Plan. (Someone else is welcome to continue the example because I haven't watched the show consistently.)
  • February 14, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    The South Park episode "Broadway Bro Down" is about Randy trying to write a stage play (with ulterior motives, as is typical of the series). The episode has a full musical number during rehearsal, though the reason why the musical number isn't seen again is because Randy gets a change of heart later and stops the play from reaching completion.
  • June 14, 2012
    NimmerStill
    The "French Mistake" song at the end of Blazing Saddles.
  • June 15, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Hmm...That's close, but IIRC (and I might not, it's been a while since I've seen the film) they're filming the "French Mistake" number when the Saddlers break in.
  • June 15, 2012
    NimmerStill
    Well they get as many takes as they want, so it's certainly not the finished product we see.
  • June 15, 2012
    Bibliophile
    This happens in all three High School Musical movies. The third movie is particularly noticeable.
  • June 15, 2012
    Chabal2
    Anime: Lucky Star only shows the rehearsal version (which goes perfectly) of the title's theme song. The final episode ends as the curtain is about to go up on the real thing.
  • July 10, 2012
    randomsurfer
    re Emmet Otter: Do we see both performances of "Barbeque?"
  • July 25, 2012
    Duncan
    ^ We see the kids rehearse it full-out, then we hear a snippet of the other guy performing it, while the kids go out into the alley to work up something else.
  • August 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Updates rolled to here. I included High School Musical even though it's borderline Zero Context, a little fleshing out would be nice. I haven't included Glee because it's not an example; if anything it's an inversion. Emmet Otter and Blazing Saddles I'm kind of on the fence.
  • July 10, 2013
    randomsurfer
    necro-bump.
  • July 10, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    @Bibliophile. [expanding on the High School Musical One. The first one had "What I've been Looking For" What's notable is that it's been sung twice (First by Sharpay and Ryan, then by Troy and Gabrielle shortly after)
  • August 31, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Bump - and could use a little more info on ^.
  • August 31, 2013
    Alucard
    The K On manga is always tossing in scenes of the girls practicing here and there, while the actual performances tend to last maybe two pages if that. The anime on the other hand depicts the concerts in full, though usually for about one song (there's a YKTTW around here called Single-Serving Concert for exactly that situation). Generally speaking, the series has no where near as many concerts as it has practice.
  • January 23, 2014
    abateman
    All of Glee, ever. Even though the show was constantly focused on preparing for a competition, they only rehearse songs guaranteed not to be used for real.
  • April 17, 2014
    Prfnoff
    • Say, Darling, the "play about a musical" adapted from a novel by Richard Bissell about the making of a Broadway musical, focused mostly on audition and rehearsal scenes and skips over the opening performance, much like the novel does. This provided a good excuse for the original production to use piano accompaniment rather than a full theatre orchestra, though an Orchestral Version was recorded and used in some performances.
  • April 18, 2014
    robbulldog
    • The coronation in The Kings Speech, we see Bertie and Lionel in the cathedral rehearsing, but we don't see the coronation itself, except for a small bit where they're watching the newsreel footage.
  • December 15, 2014
    SolipSchism
    It's implied by the description, but it wouldn't hurt to explicitly state that this trope (usually) only applies if the rehearsal features the whole song. If the rehearsal is only an unfinished version of the song (maybe A Cappella, or broken segments being tweaked during rehearsal), then there will probably still be a performance.

    Also, re: the Phantom of the Opera example, I know it was originally a stage musical, but did the stage musical actually do an "on-stage Dissolve"? I find that... hard to imagine. If that only happened in the film, it should be listed in the film section. Otherwise, disregard.
  • December 15, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Going by the You Tube clips, the first verse is in a rehearsal situation; then the stage goes dark and some bustling about happens (including a costume change) and suddenly she's in-universe performing it on stage.
  • December 16, 2014
    SolipSchism
    And she's singing the whole time, correct? Fair enough.

    The hilarious thing is that I've seen Phantom onstage and I didn't remember that. Of course, I was way up in the wings and it's been a long time.
  • January 11, 2016
    randomsurfer
    Two hats to go. What else does this need?
  • January 12, 2016
    Arivne
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=dw91zdzxsr1wx8xixz55qn73