I got to prompt at Carnegie Hall for Julie Andrews
Let me say that again, Julie Andrews!!!
Okay, that’s Carnegie Hall, not Julie Andrews.
But wait, Carnegie Hall? Yeah. You, lucky reader, are seeing what the performers at that legendary space see. Breathe it in.
Once again I find myself in the strange place. A place where I am thrilled to be on stage, but it’s bitter sweet. You see life as a performer is a strange one. You want nothing but to show your craft. You want to be in the small places and the large. You want to meet other amazing people who have influenced you. But getting there takes time, networking, and a bit of luck.
I performed in Carnegie Hall.
It was with my High School Orchestra, but I performed nonetheless. Back in 1998.
Double my age then, to what it is now, and I’m back. Interesting.
This time I’m running the Presidential Prompter for the legendary Julie Andrews.
I get set up, took some pics of the prompter and the stage, mostly for me, but also for you to enjoy.
I got to meet Mr. Franz Mohr, who wrote a book which you can buy here:
My Life with Great Pianists
He’s an interesting guy. He’s been a piano technician his whole life. If I could just download his brain and listen to the stories. Also, his German accent just makes him more endearing.
And since this is the internet, and it is AMAZING, I just found a video on Youtube of Mr. Mohr:
So yeah, he’s really cool.
Back to my original thought, however.
Being an artist and performer myself, I really enjoy being in this space. A friend told me that it is surreal, that you can “feel the greatness”. And he’s correct. I just soak it up. The artist in me is in heaven.
Except for one thing.
I’m not performing.
I’m assisting a performance for a name I’ve known my whole life.
AND I’m being paid to do so, so the old waiter in me is dancing and laughing his head off.
But the performer in me is a little sad. Could I still play Carnegie one day? But as what? I love playing my violin and singing, but I’m not on any kind of uber professional level that plays here. Do they host comedians? ‘Cause that could happen. And yes, I just looked it up, so I could definitely have a show here at Carnegie.
Perhaps one day, but for now, I’m just your friendly, professional, and excited Teleprompter Operator.
I’ll appreciate what I have, but I’ll always want more.
As for Ms. Andrews, she obviously has people. Lots of people. People that help make everything go smoothly.
Why wouldn’t she? Do you know anyone who grew up in the “West” and doesn’t know her name? Anyone who doesn’t love her?
That would be a very rare person.
Steve, her manager, is a severe guy, but not unprofessional. He communicated with the show staff about everything that had to be done, and how it had to be done. Then we talked one on one.
He was really nice to me.
I appreciate that. His job is to make sure things go well. He communicates, with gravitas, with the people he needs to understand his goals. I might add that with the people working the event he is respectful, friendly, and kind. He asked a few questions, told me a few things, and we worked out all the info splendidly.
That’s my kind of person. Not obnoxious and superior to people, but firm about what has to be done, and courteous and kind to the people who are going to make that happen.
There was a bit of down time, so I just stood ready to rock ‘n roll. I was pretty excited, I mean, come on! Julie Andrews!
Time passed and finally we got down to the show. The Donald was there, receiving an award from the American Cancer Society. I don’t know much more about Donald Trump than most New Yorkers do. He’s a billionaire. He was born rich. He has his TV show. And on that TV show he’s kind of obnoxious.
The Donald didn’t even care to pass a smile my way, he was “all business” so to speak.
For some reason in this country we think that if you have lots of money, that you don’t have to keep up with the normal courtesies and pleasantries. I don’t agree with that. As I wrote about a long time ago, Hugh Jackman said hello to everyone in the studio, interns and all. That was class to me. That spoke volumes of his character. The Donald didn’t have that. Oh well.
Trump has, however, given a lot of money to cancer research, and for that I’m grateful. He has the means to make a financial difference, and he does so. So, thank you for that, Mr. Trump.
Now on to the main event. Julie Andrews.
Wow. Just. . . . wow!
One of the biggest parts of teleprompting is listening. You listen very closely to the talent. You keep that scroll even following their vocal cues. For me it takes about 5 minutes to adjust to a new talent’s cadence. I do well while learning, but once I understand how they speak, I can use my intuition to be one of the best operators in the business.
So when it comes to listening to Julie Andrews. . . .
I was hearing Mary Poppins read copy!!!
That’s how it was. I grew up with records of Mary Poppins that would play me to sleep. I know this voice. I’ve known this voice from early childhood. She may be reading copy about cancer and introducing a musical group, but it still sounds magical. Julie Andrews is blowing me away, and all I can do is scroll along.
Let me bounce back for a second, I asked Steven if after it was done, I could say hello to Ms. Andrews. He looked at me for a brief minute, then said “sure”.
So after Julie Andrews exits the stage and some people thank her and whatnot, Steven waves me over. He introduces me, and Ms. Andrews thanks me for my work. I told her a little anecdote about how my mother was going to play Frauleine Maria in a church production of the Sound of Music, but she had to drop out because she got pregnant with me! She said how she was sure that that was a role worth taking. I thanked her and told her goodnight.
How amazing. I know that I get to meet some cool celebrities and actors that I respect and enjoy. But never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d meet Julie Andrews. Why does she stand on a tier above the rest for me?
Because she’s Julie Andrews!!