IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Going onstage in a Broadway show at a moment’s notice

This is a true story by actress Barbara Tirrell

“Yesterday, Friday, afternoon out of the blue, I got a phone call from my agent with an offer to be the offstage cover for three roles in the Broadway production of Funny Girl: Mrs. Brice, Mrs. Strakosh, and Mrs. Meeker.

I was driving to my mother’s in Massachusetts when the call came in. I accepted, they negotiated, and then they asked if I could come back today, Saturday, and watch the matinee.

So I left Massachusetts this morning at 7 AM to arrive in New York by noon and attend the matinee at 2 PM.

But at 10 am, while I was at a rest stop in Connecticut, the Funny Girl stage manager called me and asked if I would be willing to go on in the show today in one of those roles with the book in hand because they had nine understudies on and simply didn’t have anybody else to play the part.

I would learn that if I had said no, they would have had to cancel two sold-out performances!

Of course, I said yes! I arrived at the theater at noon, did a quick fitting of another person’s costume and wig, quickly ran through the scenes to know where I was to stand and move, and fudged my way through the music that I didn’t know.

And at 2:15 pm while carrying the script, I played my Broadway opening performance as Mrs. Meeker, in Funny Girl. This is the theater.

You just can’t make this stuff up!!!!”

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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