OK....it happened! Mrs. Wooley totally lost her singing voice and ...you know the old adage: "The show must go on!" And on Friday night it did.
What does one do when there are only 4 people in a cast....and it is a musical....and one of your actors has 'pulled' up with laryngitis? This was certainly one for the memory books. Friday night at warmups (6:30 p.m) it was apparent that this voice I have lived with for .....well, MANY years....was not going to be functioning. Donny Short, musical and stage director extraordinaire, offered to be Vinnilly to my Minilly. (or however that was spelled!). At 7:00 (with the show starting at 7:30) it was decided that an announcement would be made that one of the actresses in the show was suffering from laryngitis and that it might be necessary for Donny to sing the songs for her. Donny and I worked out signals to be used during the show for whatever needs my voice would have.....brushing my hands through my hair (just in time for him to take a breath) would indicate that the entire song would be his. If I tugged on my ear Carol Burnett style during a song, it would mean that he was needed to come in as soon as possible. We decided that I would continue lip-syncing so the audience would ignore (if possible) the man bopping up in the first row on the side and could stay connected to the plot line and characters onstage. Donny was plenty busy except for a couple of times in the show. I decided that it would be best for me to sing the silly Viagra song to my husband...no matter how bad it would come out...rather than have embarrassed Donny. After all, who was doing WHO the favor! The other three actors--Amanda and Reed Gibson and Russ Wooley said that it was a totally surreal experience as they had this disjointed voice coming at them from the audience and this woman "lipping" the lyrics at them. I was amazed at their professionalism in this challenging situation. From reports from the audience, many stated that it was a really unusual experience that they would remember for a long time and that it certainly didn't detract from the overall production. In fact, there was one couple that said they were excited that they had decided to come to this performance as it was such a unique one. Several others stated that they stopped noticing that a male voice was coming out of a female body. (I wasn't sure HOW to take that comment.....)
After talking to Cassie, our daughter in New York, she stated that the same thing had happened on Broadway with the great Linda Eder losing her voice during Jekyll and Hyde. Emily Skinner(Next to Normal fame) sang for her as Linda acted the role. So Donny....maybe instead of being Vinilli (who I don't know how to spell anyway) we can say you were Emily to my Linda.
A big Thanks to Dr. Mike Jones, who was so kind as to prescribe some magic pills which allowed me to get through the last two performances last weekend. Thank you, Dr. Jones. I am well on the way to recovery and look forward to really singing the last four performances of MARRIED ALIVE. (Whoever said that theatre was dull and boring and repetitious.....never have seen that in 32 years!)
Now....Take Your Bow, Mr. Donny! Thank you so much for "sharing your voice" with us---and especially for me.....last Friday!
(Photo from Wizard of Oz.....I thought that at the very least I could try to keep Donny's privacy by not showing his true colors! Take a bow...you little scarecrow you!)
DON'T MISS THE FINAL FOUR PERFORMANCES OF MARRIED ALIVE! IT IS A BLAST!
Playing Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 (Dec. 15, 16, 17) and closing Sunday, Dec. 18 with a 1:30 matinee! BOX OFFICE: 712-255-9536 or http://lambtheatre.com/current-show.html for purchasing tickets online 24/7.
Diana Guhin Wooley
CEO LAMB Arts Ltd
417 Market Street
Sioux City, IA 51103
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