Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Dance Party: Affecting The Upper Respiratory Tract

Faith Prince was a replacement Ursula in Disney's attempt to put The Little Mermaid onstage.
There are lots of stage actors out there who claim that the rehearsal process is their favorite part of putting on a show.  For them, it is more enjoyable and rewarding than actually performing in front of an audience.  Not me, baby. 
My current gig.

While I hope to always enjoy the rehearsal process (a hope which is sometimes dashed, unfortunately), the real fun for me is always in the final performance.  Because of this, I am being robbed.  My current production, A Midsummer Night's Dream, opened in Manhattan this week, for a brief, two week run.  Our houses are growing (we were full last night, at only our third performance, very unusual for this kind of showcase production), and the crowds have been warm and receptive.  I love the role I'm playing and should be having a ball.  I'm not.  I have a creepy croup which is causing me misery.
You must look very closely to see me in this picture.  The boys are kissing my hand.  I'm told I'm giving a solid performance as Wall.
I've been very lucky in that I have not been sick for a moment in the past two years, a personal best for me.  But last week, I came down with the illness which has plagued me, off and on, throughout my adult life. 
This ugly root is supposed to work wonders
for the common cold. I'm drinking gallons of
this stuff boiled into a "tea."

The tickle in the throat grew to a raging soreness, but soon disappeared, replaced with a very liquid cold.  That, too, has gone, leaving behind a hacking, racking, insistent cough.  That kind of cough really takes the fun out of everything, and I've been unable to socialize with my cast, as I must dash home every night to drink that lousy ginger root drink which everybody swears by.
Faith Prince as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.
The star of this week's Dance Party also suffers from a cold, brought on, in her case, by an unhappy love life. 
Prince had success in the role which
made Judy Holiday a musical star.

It's a great character number from Guys and Dolls, and here is delivered by Faith Prince, who won the Tony for one of the revivals of the show.  She has a very specific style which works well for roles such as Adelaide;  her voice is lodged solidly in the mask of the face, which gives her a decidedly nasal quality but with lots of power.  That quality has been put to great use for years on the Broadway and cabaret stage. 
I own the recording of Faith's club act, which
proves her a skilled song stylist, but
unfortunately, her nasality begins to wear.

She first made a splash in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, in which she hammed it up as dresssy Tessie Turra in the Gypsy segment.  She headlined Bells Are Ringing and A Catered Affair, and she did replacement work in Falsettoes, The Little Mermaid, and Billy Elliott (in which she toured).  I'm told she now lives in Sacremento, but she continues to maintain a bit of a presence even off the beaten path.  

Sadly, nobody really sounds this good when they develop a cold, or in my case, hack up a lung.