Thursday, December 29, 2016

Carrie and Debbie

Me (in white) with Debbie and fellow cast members
I was six years old when I saw the movie Star Wars, and I ended up seeing it seven times. Back then, before DVDs, internet, or VHS tapes, seeing a movie seven times in a theater was a big deal. I loved the movie. It was the first time I was wrapped up in a love story...and a story with adult good and evil. It was also the first time I understood that the characters on the screen were played by actors, and I learned the actors' names and felt connected to them. Mark Hamill, so cute. Harrison Ford, so rugged. And Carrie Fisher, so beautiful and strong.

I was also a huge old Hollywood musical fan, so it was fun to learn that Carrie Fisher was the daughter of Debbie Reynolds, the main character in my favorite musical, Singin' in the Rain

Little did I know that I would actually meet Debbie Reynolds someday. Life is interesting.

Debbie is actually the person responsible for giving me my dream job back in the 1990's. I auditioned for her show, That's Entertainment, Live!, at her hotel in Vegas and was called back for a second audition. That night, I frantically learned Judy Garland's song "Get Happy," complete with choreography. At the callback, I forgot the words, but Debbie graciously sang along with me so I would remember. 

And then I was cast in the show.  I had grown up watching old movie musicals and suddenly there I was, working for a Hollywood Legend, impersonating people from Hollywood musicals, dancing the actual choreography from shows like Singin' in the Rain, wearing some of the original costumes, and my best friend was a Fred Astaire impersonator. How more perfect could it have been? 

Even though her hotel wasn't doing well, she kept our show going as long as possible. One of my favorite moments was performing in her New Year's Eve show and being on stage with her for the countdown and "Auld Lang Syne."

There are so many stories I could tell. But I will leave it at this. I am truly honored to have known her. She was a truly talented, genuine, and kind woman who cared about people and about old Hollywood. I send my love to Todd and her family.