Tonight we had our final dress rehearsal before previews begin on Monday. The cast and crew were very ready for an audience, so Henry and the folks from Lincoln Center Theater kindly allowed the usher staff from the Duke and a few drama students to come in and watch the performance. The young acting students (late teens, early twenties) were an especially enthusiastic and responsive audience... so much so that Matt McGrath joked post-run that he felt at times like he might be hit with slime a la The Kid's Choice Awards on Nickelodeon! The play is full of surprises, and I know it delighted Henry, Ellen, and the cast to hear audible vocal reactions from the students (loud gasps, copious laughs, the occasional "Oh no, she/he didn't...").

We did have a moment of unintentional drama at the close of the dress rehearsal, when the house manager from The Duke informed us that due to the suspicious activity in Times Square, the NYPD requested that we all head West toward 8th Avenue upon exiting the building. Fortunately, the cast, crew, and small invited audience took the news in stride. Even more fortunately, it seems that NY's Finest had the situation under control. Although previews begin tomorrow with our first official audience, we'll still be rehearsing during the day. We are in great shape, but we will continue to fine tune GRACELAND. So stay tuned...or better yet, come to The Duke and check out the show!

Jenny Mercein is the Assistant Director for GRACELAND.