Sick actors/actresses giving good performances

broadwayrob
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I know that broadway actors/actresses are paid professionals but i have to say this. i saw legally blonde on saturday night 4/12. i stage doored earlier in the day before the matinee and got my picture with Laura Bell. I could tell she was feeling crappy.. she was pretty quick.. not rude at all. I asked her nicely she said sure no problem. Then she went in. She was fairly hoarse through the speaking parts of the show.. but she still was able to belt it out, and from what i've read/heard, not only was she belting but she was in TUNE! GUTSY! I gained a huge level of respect for her.

has anyone else been privy to an experience like this? or perhaps it going south
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jordangirl
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One of the press performances of Next to Normal it was clear Alice Ripley was having issues with a cold/hoarseness. but she made it work ~ and her voice cooperated, breaking exactly at the high emotion points. Absolutely spellbinding.
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givesmevoice
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when I saw Gypsy March 29th, I thought Alison Fraser seemed a bit under the weather. [although, honestly, it'd be hard to tell with the way her voice sounds naturally.] she doesn't have a lot of stage time, but I thought she was still totally on as Tessie, and "Gimmick" was total perfection.
When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
guettboy
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there's a story about swoozie kurtz in the show frozen, she had the stomach flu or something -- and she would walk off the stage mid-scene, vomit, and walk back on completing the performance. apparently, though, what she did on stage, probably because her guard was so low, was one of the most ravishing performances seen in the theatre, under one of the crappiest physical conditions of the actor giving it. interesting, right?
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dancingthrulife04
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Christine Ebersole seemed to not be feeling well when I saw Grey Gardens. She was good, though.

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paphillyguy
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I saw gypsy on Sat and everyone was in but I had read that earlier in the week but Patti and Laura were under the weather. You would have never known except for a few time when Laura was walking off stage she had a few coughing fits but on stage nothing.
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EponineAmneris
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The second of the three times I saw WICKED, Idina was ill, coughing and all. But she still nailed it re: Sick actors/actresses giving good performances
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thatgirl712
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The show must go on!
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Miss Elphaba
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During the european tour of RENT, Joanna Ampil had a horrific cold, and backstage she was sounding pretty dreadful, yet even thought I knew she was ill, i could barely tell, it was pretty perfect.
"I trained as a classical actor at Juilliard. I jump at the opportunity to do classical text...But I never in a million years guessed I'd get to play Juliet!"- Michael Arden
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obsessedjb
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When I saw JERSEY BOYS back in January, Christian Hoff barely made it through "Silhouettes". Though he sounded great during the rest of the show.
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flaemmchen
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Antonio Banderas was sick the first time I saw Nine, but I wouldn't have known if I hadn't gone to the stage door afterwards and heard it from his own mouth. He was absolutely stellar.
"Peace! The charm's wound up." --Macbeth
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shh282
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SJB was sick my first time seeing wicked but I really couldn't tell until the guy at the door said she wasn't coming out because she's sick
DefyGravity777
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Lisa Brescia wasn't feeling good at the saturday matinee of Wicked but there's no way you could tell it when she was onstage. She blew me and the rest of the audience away.
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Elphaba3
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The third time I was Wicked, Idina Menzel left at intermission because she was sick. I had NO idea until the end of Defying Gravity when she was clearly straining. Until then, her voice was at its best.
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Eris0303
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I saw Hairspray back in August and I found out later that Ashley Spencer had a fever of a 101 and you would not have known it. I had no idea she was even sick until the guy at the stage door told me.
"All our dreams can come true -- if we have the courage to pursue them." -- Walt Disney We must have different Gods. My God said "do to others what you would have them do to you". Your God seems to have said "My Way or the Highway".
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caitlinette
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If an actor is sick, why don't they stay home and rest? That's what understudies are for. Just thinking about having to do anything as energetic as a show when I'm sick is unfathomable. re: Sick actors/actresses giving good performances
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jpbran
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LuPone was sick at the Sweeney Todd performance I saw; she surreptitiously snuck coughs between songs, and when she signed my Playbill, said she was sorry that she was so "cough-y". re: Sick actors/actresses giving good performances

(Was amazing when "on" though.)

And yesterday, J.B.Wright kept sneakily pulling a tissue from his coat pocket during Spring Awakening. At the stage door, he told me he was trying to stay well for the evening show; allergies were killing him.

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flaemmchen
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If an actor is sick, why don't they stay home and rest?

I can think of a couple of answers to that:
Firstly, some actors just hate missing performances, so they go on even when they're not feeling their best.
Secondly (and I think this applies more in the case of actors with big names), they don't want to let down the audience members that came to the show just to see them. They figure that if they can push through, they should.
"Peace! The charm's wound up." --Macbeth
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caitlinette
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Yeah, that makes sense.
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Marianne2
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I remember at the 2005 Tony Awards, Sara Ramirez was really sick, but she still did an amazing job performing "Find Your Grail." The only reason you could tell she was sick was when she got up to receive her award, she was coughing before she started speaking, and she seemed very out of it giving her speech, although it was really funny and cute.
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givesmevoice
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in addition to what flaemmchen, if someone billed above the title is out, then the audience can be compensated, which obviously costs the production money.
When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
Gothampc
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"If an actor is sick, why don't they stay home and rest?"

Because they want to come in and infect the rest of the cast and crew. If they have to suffer, so must everyone else.
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Eris0303
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"If an actor is sick, why don't they stay home and rest?"

Also, if they've just started with the show they don't want call out right away. Take my mention of Ashley Spencer, for example. I saw her in August and she'd only started with the show a few weeks prior. It was her first Broadway show - her first chance to show the Broadway community what she could do. I would think she'd want to stick it out rather than call out so soon into her run. I imagine she, and other young performers in her same position, would want to be seen as a "trooper" and "strong" as opposed to someone who calls out with the slightest sniffle.

"Because they want to come in and infect the rest of the cast and crew. If they have to suffer, so must everyone else."

This is a great reason too. It would be selfish to stay at home and keep it all to themselves. Share the wealth!

"All our dreams can come true -- if we have the courage to pursue them." -- Walt Disney We must have different Gods. My God said "do to others what you would have them do to you". Your God seems to have said "My Way or the Highway".
Updated On: 4/14/08 at 04:28 PM
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jordangirl
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"If an actor is sick, why don't they stay home and rest?"

And just to add one more thing, sometimes it's either a press performance (Alice in N2N) or opening (Stephanie J. Block in TPQ comes to mind there). I know I'd heard that Alice's understudy was in the night before, so she rested then And if I'm not mistaken, Kathy Voytko went in for Stephanie both before and after opening.
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!
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SamIAm
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It really depends on what is wrong with the actor. If they have a cold or some other virus that is not terrible, most actors will push through (unless of course they are contagious and if they are they may not want to spread it around the cast which happens a lot). If however the throat problems are related to nodes or nodules on the vocal cords, an actor should not mess with that. They can do permanent damage and some actors who have had surgery for these issues are never the same. It is something to be taken seriously.
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