I didn’t understand the concept of stage fright until one fateful night in high school. I was lucky enough to have attended high school in Vienna, Austria, the city of music. I was surrounded by the sounds of Mozart in the streets. The famous Vienna Opera House was home to the world’s most renowned singers. After his performance there, Placido Domingo liked to hang out at my favorite Italian restaurant. Free outdoor concerts were sometimes held outside the city’s Rathaus, with people like Zubin Mehta conducting.
The music teachers in school encouraged us to sing arias from great operas and solos from Handel’s Messiah. They introduced us to the world of musical theater. I was one of my high school’s biggest theater dorks. Three times a year I’d perform in a play, a musical, and a cabaret. I was always cast in an excellent role. By the time I became a senior, I considered myself a seasoned veteran of the theater. I had starred in my final play and musical and now it was time for my high school swan song, singing All That Jazz in my last high school cabaret.
It was then, at that very moment, that my life changed. My blind confidence was immediately struck down, and to this day I have a fear of public singing. A terror that my powerful voice will crack whenever it chooses. Not that I stopped singing after that. I continued on a path that led me to sing in a band, an a cappella group, and in shows for many years. But that fear has never completely disappeared, despite the thicker skin that I eventually developed.
Just another humbling moment in the life of a failed actress…and all that jazz.