There is a video going viral today of a voice teacher named Sarah Horn who was plucked from the audience of the Hollywood Bowl last night to sing a song from Wicked with Kristin Chenoweth. The video is electric and I’ve included the link to her account of the experience on BroadwayWorld.com right here.
In the interview, she talks about how she could feel the entire audience rooting for her, that she was doing what they all dreamed of doing, singing on stage with Kristin Chenoweth. I don’t think Sarah Horn’s life will ever be the same again. It’s been changed, for good. (Get it?)
There are moments that happen at live shows, whether it be plays or concerts or even comedy shows, where the moment is so magical, everyone who bears witness to it, whether on stage, or in the audience, they feel like they’ve been active in a rare, indelible experience. As far as I know, the person who posted the YouTube video did not even know Sarah Horn and you can hear her gasps, her excitement, her thrill.
Even me, sitting at my computer, a little hungover, a little depressed about my job, fretting about that audition last week that I thought for sure I’d get a callback for, I did not know what I was in for when I clicked on the link to the video that my friend Michael posted to Facebook this morning. I felt like I was in on the magic, too, like I was Sarah Horn on that stage singing in perfect harmony with Kristi Dawn from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. And it reminded me that this world is full of magic, we just don’t always know when or where we’re going to find it.
I found a few more Black and White headshots. Looking at these pictures made me think about the times I had my pictures taken. My first headshot shoot was a photographer I found in Backstage. I had been in NY a few months, fretting about not having a headshot. He lived in Stuyvesant Town and took pictures out of his living room. I picked him because, even though I was very closeted at the time, I thought he was cute. He kept telling me to imagine the camera was a pretty girl that I liked. My second headshot shoot was with a fashion photographer my friend Tania knew. I worked as his assistant for a day and he gave me a discount rate on the session. I actually enjoyed working as his assistant, being on set for a catalog shoot at a loft in Chelsea. I don’t know where that picture is, but I do have the requisite jean shirt that was de rigueur for every 1994 actor headshot. When I moved to LA, I had to get new LA headshots. My favorite photographer was a guy named Sandy Spear. He lived near Sycamore and 4th and he’d take his pictures in the neighborhood. I think he charged something ridiculously affordable like $80/ roll and all you needed was one roll, because he was a great photographer. Also, his wife had been in the Off-Broadway production of the Real Live Brady Bunch as Marsha. I just looked him up and it looks like he lives in San Diego and is still taking pictures. I also had a photo shoot with a maitre d’ at one of the restaurants where I worked. He insisted on taking every actor’s picture. The one thing I most remember about the guy is that he kept slices of brisket in his suit jacket pocket so he could snack when he got hungry. The pictures aren’t too bad, but the Olin Mills type back drop blending with the Lance Bass frosted tips I had at the time make it look like there are fireworks coming out of my head. My last black and white photo shoot was a guy named Timothy Fielding in 2002. He asked me if I wanted to do half b & w and half color, I said no, I didn’t think the color trend would last very long.
A few years ago, I started collecting old black and white headshots. I love them. I like color headshots, too, but I think there is something so romantic and dramatic about the b & w’s. When I look at my old headshots, I want to start singing, “I really need this job, please God, I need this job…” Here are a few pics from my collection. Every one of them tells a story. Also, if you’re reading this and you want to send me YOUR old b & w headshot, please do.