Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Week 33: Sing and Act on Stage

YES! My 'scariest' achievement yet - Singing Solo on Stage (Fast Forward to 3:15 in this video)

I love musical theater. Every time I've been to a play, I've imagined what it must be like to be up on that stage and have thought, "I wish I had the talent to be up there."

This year is all about doing things I've always wanted to do, talent or no talent.

And so, goals #22 and #23 on my list of 60 until 60 were:

  • 22. Sing with a group
  • 23. Explore an acting group and try and get a part in a play 

Notice both of these are kind of weak goals. 

Neither goal required me to actually perform on stage in front of audience, because, well..  I wanted to be realistic.  At my age, with no experience or training, it seemed unlikely that there would be any opportunities to actually perform.

But then I found "Broadway Boomers," a musical theater group in Boulder catering to Baby Boomers who want to learn more about musical theater.  No audition required! Perfect!

I couldn't believe my luck and immediately enrolled in the Broadway Boomers summer program. Then the Welcome email came from Faye Nepon, the program's director, explaining that each of us would be singing a solo, and even though no audition was required, she wanted to hear my singing voice so she could assign an appropriate song.

Wait! What? A SOLO!?! 

Suddenly the panic set in. I wanted to sing with a group not a SOLO! My immediate reaction was to tell Faye I couldn't do a solo. (In fact, I did tell her that. Yup. No talent. No experience. Terrible stage fright.) 

But she still wanted to hear my singing voice so I went to the studio and sang the little la-la-la exercises she wanted me to sing as she moved up the scale on the piano.  Faye told me that I didn't have to sing a solo, but assured me that I could carry a tune and she encouraged me to go for it.

At this point in my life, there aren't too many things left that push me out of my comfort zone any more. I've pretty much pushed myself my entire life to do things that I've wanted to do, even if they scare me. I went to ToastMasters and gave speeches in front of audiences, and have managed to face most of my fears and insecurities. But singing solo on stage? That was not something I ever thought I could do.

But, hey, I like to be challenged, and here was an opportunity! Faye said there'd also be an opportunity to 'act' since the performance would include some acting and expression as we transitioned through the different numbers, so I decided this would be a "twofer" and I'd be able to accomplish both goals 22 and 23 by the end of the 5-week session.  

I was assigned "Cruella De Vil" from 101 Dalmatians. Though I felt like a bit of a first-grader, there were so many reasons why this turned out to be a wonderful song for me:

  • It was one of the few songs in the performance that I actually already was familiar with!
  • My family raised Dalmatians when I was a kid, so I loved that Disney movie.
  • It was a short song and I was the first solo performance, so I was able to get through it quickly.
  • I had the perfect black and white polka-dot dress.
  • I was supposed to 'act' terrified of Cruella De Vil while I was singing, and since I was terrified of singing, that didn't require much acting.
After only five weeks of rehearsals, our group of 10 women performed for our friends and families on August 8th! 

As nervous as I was, I did it! Broadway, here I come!

What worked well
  • Getting assigned Cruella De Vil (see more specific reasons above!)
  • Having friends and family show up to support me (even though I was kind of embarrassed about asking, I knew to really feel like I'd accomplished this goal, I'd need to have people I knew there)
  • Getting through the performance without any major mess-ups
  • The fun and excitement back stage before the actual performance
  • Being supported by the experienced singers all with advice on how to calm nerves
  • Having a 'safe' environment to do something new
  • The gracious guidance and support from Faye 
  • Nice that it was a short session. I was able to make every rehearsal despite my busy summer schedule.
  • Feel lucky that Adam took a video of the entire performance!
What could have been better
Not really sure if the performance would constitute "acting" and still feeling very amateurish as a performer, but considering everything, this experience ended up being much better than I could have imagined!

1 comment:

Michael Bolé said...

You are an amazing woman!


PS: Wish I was there...