Last night we went to see Nice Work If You Can Get It (another 21st century creation of a collaboration of Gershwin music sewn together with a charming and hilarious story line) with Matthew Broderick (pictured about with yours truly…. Lucky guy) and Kelly O’Hara, along with several other notables including Estelle Parsons (mother on tv show Roseanne) Jennifer Laura Thompson (1st replacement Galinda, Wicked, Original Hope Cladwell in Urinetown) and Stanley Wayne Mathis, who was in the Original Broadway Cast of The Lion King. When I asked him if he knew Mark Davis, his eyes lit up… He sends his love to the Lead Zebra, from whom I am lucky enough to take dance classes. Wow. The theater world truly is tiny, isn’t it?
And at the end of the night after your heart has been mesmerized by these fantastic performances the stars who walk out of the stage door are just people…. I think it’s easy to forget that.
I wanted to shout at every passing performer, “Me, too! I’m an actress!” but all I could manage to stumble out were gracious hellos and thank yous for a wonderful performance.
But somewhere in the hour long wait for Mr. Sarah Jessica Parker, my inner jokester emerged. As he put his arm around my waist to pose for Katelyn’s iPhone camera, I pulled away, dramatically primped and said, “Hold on, I’ve gotta primp. I’m pretty famous, you know.” and he laughed! Through a smile he retorted “oh, I can’t keep up with who’s famous anymore.” A chatty woman to my right quickly volunteered in an overly excited yelp of word vomit that I was working with the American Theater Wing… “An Actress!” she gleamed. He met my eyes and congratulated me before swiftly moving on to the other demanding playbills void of his mark. I swelled with pride. I no longer felt like the “lowly, unworthy fan”, but a fellow artist, supported and respected for my craft….our craft.
The show was a delight! Quick witted humor, excellent dialects and a fun filled energy. I realized two major things watching this production.
1. I think one of the reasons people still watch live theater is because it’s humanizing; real people on stage performing in real time, it still amazes us, and we don’t expect perfection! If we wanted that, we’d go see a well edited movie musical, but we keep coming because we are attracted to the product that is consistently produced 8 shows a week every week. We like human part of live theatre because it make us feel alive!
2. No one was “singing hard” that is to say, all of the pitches were light, as if floating from performer vocal cords to audience ears. Strangely, at times it was almost too quiet. I say this because one of my struggles as a vocal performer is this idea that I need to sing to fill the theatre and every surrounding theater in a four block radius. What I mean is, a past struggle of mine was singing beyond what was necessary to produce a pitch. Also, I heard performers using a well balanced blending of chest and head voice. Though it was distinguishable, both were incredibly strong so that the transitions were as smooth as possible. It grounded me to reality. What was I expecting of myself, that it would all sound exactly the same? I was thrilled for this realization, because it solidified the knowing that I can do this! In fact, I have done it! This sound is not impossible to achieve, it’s easy. It should always be easy. I don’t know what sound dominated my idea of what was a quality voice, but it all changed after hearing well trained voices using techniques I am learning and practicing, and being able to identify them. As silly as it sounds, these simple realizations are important in my growth and future as an artist, because this craft relies heavily not on talent, but on psychology. If you don’t believe in yourself, your product how can you sell it to someone else?
🎶”Nice work, if you can get it, and you can get it if you try…”🎶