Photo by Denise Medve Penguin Moon Studios
And so the year of creeping out of my comfort zone continues, although, let’s face it, at the rate I’m going it’s shaping up to be more like a decade. As I mentioned previously, I was asked to sing at a benefit for Pioneer Productions Company this past weekend. When the director contacted me I thought, Great! I’ll put on a pretty dress, say something witty, sing a funny song, and then sit backstage and eat cookies (baked goods always figure prominently on a Pioneer prop table). But it turns out that was only the first act. The second act was to be all rock musical material, and he wanted me to sing the Magenta part in Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show. My first response was, Have you met me? I am known for many things Pop, country, music theatre, specialty material...Straight ahead rock music is not the first or even the fifth thing that leaps to mind.
Of course, I kept my thoughts to myself and said yes. If nothing else, it was a chance to wear my silver sequin shorts and a corset, something that is generally frowned upon in the produce aisle of my local Wegmans. Meanwhile, the little imps that inhabit the darker corners of my brain went to work. What are you thinking? they whispered, you know you’re going to look utterly ridiculous. The calmer striving for inner peace and harmony voice said, Of course, you can do this. Obviously the director saw something in you that you don’t see, maybe you should trust that. The imps rolled their eyes at this and went back to their usual activity of throwing all my clothes out of the closet and onto the chair (hey, somebody must do it).
The night of the show arrived, I sailed through the first act, rewarded (and fortified) myself with an absolutely sinful apple salted caramel blondie baked by our producer and emcee Doug McLaughlin, and donned my corset and new black velvet boots (when in doubt always go for confidence giving footwear). Onward I went into the light. The song began, the band was rocking, Dan Vissers (doing double duty as director and performer) was wailing the first verse and the imps having retrenched returned to let me know that I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what my lyrics were. I knew them when I left the house, I knew them at sound check, but somewhere between act one and my orgy of blondie consumption the words had fled. Don’t panic, I told myself, just keep smiling, shake your hips, and something will come to you...maybe... Two bars and a hip roll before my verse the first word magically reappeared, and the imps were vanquished.
So, the moral, if indeed there is one, is if you’re going to move out of your comfort zone do it with all your heart in defiance of your personal imps, and trust your director, sometimes he (or she) can see things that you can’t. Oh, and being a rockstar, even if only for thirty-two bars is awesome!