Monday, March 4, 2013

My chlidhood dream coming true...Thanks, Larry!

Wow... what a ride it was!!

Photo taken by Abraham Saenz

Last week, I literally got to live out one of my childhood dreams... to be on stage in a Broadway production! If you went to the show, you know that this is not something that is done very often (or ever!) and took a lot of planning mostly on behalf of one person, Larry Payton. So I thought I'd share how it all  happened.

I had set up a meeting with a friend that used to work for Celebrity Attractions to meet the new marketing and PR gal for the company. And Larry Payton, the President of the company, was in town and would also be joining us. I had worked with Larry over the years and was looking forward to meeting with him and assumed that we'd be talking about ways to help promote upcoming shows. Well as I listened to Larry talk, it became clear that he had a very unique way to promote their next show...he asked me if I would be interested in singing with the cast of "100 Years of Broadway"!! I immediately got overheated and nervous. But excited at the same time. The first thing I say is that I'd have to check with my bosses. But then Larry says that he had already talked to my general manager, Mark Rose, and that he loved the idea! The deal was that I had to fit it in between newscast so that I didn't miss any of our newscasts (February is when TV stations get "rated"). Channel 7 and everyone here was so supportive of this idea!!

That meeting was January 30th. Less than three weeks later, I see on Facebook that Larry was suddenly hospitalized in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I call my friend and she lets me know how bad it really was. I said lots of prayers for healing but ultimately... God had other plans. Larry Payton died that night. I was stunned and so saddened. But mostly felt so brokenhearted for his family and loved ones. He was only 64 (just one year older than my dad when we lost him). And what an amazing man he was! I was fortunate to hear his testimony shared at a Little Rock Media Fellowship meeting. This man was a great businessman and yet always put his faith and values first. And because of that, he created a reputation of high quality, family entertainment.

After hearing the news, I assumed I would no longer be a part of the show. After all this was all Larry's idea. He had contacted the producer and gotten clearance to do the show. And I couldn't imagine going through with it without him. 

But then, just five days before the show was set to begin... the press release went out that I'd be a part of the show! Yikes! All of a sudden I was really nervous!! I knew the song that they had wanted me to sing, "Seasons of Love" from the show Rent (I actually sang that song in high school choir) but I had never sung the solo part. AND I didn't even know what key it would be in or what kind of style the singers performed it in (I know that may mean nothing to those that don't sing...but for you singers out there, you know how important the key is!!). The show is a musical revue where they get to pick their favorite Broadway tunes to perform. That's why I was so nervous...what if they wanted me to sing really high?!? I am a true alto... and can't sing high at all!! And I wouldn't get to practice until two hours before the first performance!!! This might have been the most nervous I had ever been for a show. Even when I was on stage performing, I was always doing more dancing than singing. And even when I sang, it was usually with a group. So this was completely out of my comfort zone!!!

And then it hit me... I had nothing to wear!! I immediately contacted my friend and fashion blogger, Sandra (click here for Sandra's blog) and asked where I should go. She sent me to the lovely ladies at Proposals Boutique (click here for their facebook page) in the Heights. And boy did they hook me up!! I only tried on one dress...

this Nicole Miller fit perfectly... it was meant to be! :) They added some gorgeous Kendra Scott earrings and sent me on my way. I was starting to get excited!!

I met the director/producer and the cast right at 5pm Tuesday night. And they were so nice!! I guess I was nervous that they'd be questioning me and my abilities (like I was) but they didn't do that at all. They were kind, supportive, encouraging... wanted to know about me and my family and my job. And let me tell you, these are some of the BEST performers ever to be on Broadway!!! (Click here to read their very impressive bios.) The director, Neil Berg (click here to read his bio), said all the right things.

Me with the very talented Neil Berg, director/producer (photo take by Abraham Saenz)

Neil made me feel calm, comfortable, and gave me the confidence I needed to pull this off. We ran the song only once... and then it was time for me to do a live shot in the lobby to help promote the show! Then, with the help of Caroline Timm (the marketing gal for Celebrity Attractions) I quickly returned to the newsroom for the 6pm news. After the news, it was back to the theater for opening night!! I was so nervous I was shaking from head to toe!!

I watched most of the first act from back stage... then it was my turn!

When Neil introduced me to the crowd, I could honestly feel the support from the crowd. Like Neil said, they are welcoming and loving...and they want me to succeed (at least I hope that's the case). And with that support... I went for it. I sang my heart out!! It felt great!! At the end I was shaking again but this time it was because of the adrenaline rush I had gotten!! Good thing I calmed down when we went off stage because I usually throw up when I get an adrenaline rush!! :)

All that to say... I so wish Larry could have been here to see the show. But I know he was looking down from above cheering us on. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to literally live out one of my childhood dreams. :) Thanks to all of you for your support!!!!

My littlest big fans...Sydney and Shelby Pederson

My biggest fan!
William Michals and Ron Bohmer
Danny Zolli

My Bible Study ladies...LOVE these girls!!
My friends' beautiful daughters!

Our awesome babysitter, Andrea! 

Carter Calvert, Abraham Saenz, and Sandra Joseph (photo taken by Abraham Saenz)

This picture gives me chills! The support from the cast was AMAZING!! (photo taken by Abraham Saenz)