BWW Previews: Ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer Brings Award-Winning Talent To Straz Center For The Performing Arts
Darci Lynne Farmer has accomplished more in thirteen years than most complete in a lifetime. She overcame powerful shyness by using puppets and ventriloquism to allow an audience to hear her beautiful voice. She stood on a stage in front of millions and watched as judge Mel B hit the golden buzzer during her flawless performance of George Gershwin's "Summertime" with puppet Petunia, sending her to the live show of America's Got Talent. Described as "exquisite, extraordinary talent" by Mel B, instantly she became America's sweetheart, receiving the most audience and viewer votes in the history of AGT. She consistently beat out adults, teens, and children to be crowned the $1 million-dollar winner of season 12 in September 2017.
And 8 months later, it still hasn't fully hit her.
Despite having her own celebrity fans at Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and getting to meet Sadie Sink from her favorite tv series, Stranger Things, Darci doesn't consider herself a celebrity.
"It was a dream come true for me," she said. "It was the best day ever."
Darci is just a level-headed Oklahoma brand-new teenager who still isn't above doing the dishes or walking the dog, who hangs out with her close friends chilling at the lake, who goes to school Monday through Friday, does press interviews before and after school, and just happens to have won a show in Vegas and has a sold-out ventriloquism show 'Darci and Friends" touring throughout the United States on the weekend.
Though she now gets noticed everywhere and anonymity is a thing of the past, she is still able to go out in public, as her fans tend to be polite and kind to her, both in person and through social media.
"I don't know if it (winning) has sunk in even now. It's so unbelievable - this reality doesn't feel like it's real. A couple of years ago if you said this would happen, I'd say 'you're crazy,'" she said. "I don't see myself as celebrity like other people do. I just think that's funny. During the week I go to school and I get to be a normal kid. I'm just Darci. On the weekends, I go on these awesome tour shows and perform for thousands of people. It's so fun being on the stage and in the spotlight. I'm a real-life Hannah Montana."
Darci said that her puppets, Petunia, Oscar, Katie, and Edna each contain pieces of her personality and they continue to evolve as she performs. She even has plans to expand her puppet family.
"Yeah, I've got some new ones up my sleeve," she teased, without further explanation.
Darci loves to explore different iconic songs for she and her puppet family to perform. Sometimes new material just comes to her, and her family and coach provide the perfect support system. She credits her family and her faith for keeping her grounded.
"It's so God-given - my talent - because it took so very little time to get it down to where I was able to perform. I'm grateful. My family and my faith are a big part of keeping me grounded."
When asked to pick, Darci can't decide who her favorite puppet character is, but then again, it's probably like asking a parent to pick a favorite child.
"It changes so much - like right now I really like Oscar, but other times, it might be Petunia," she said.
She said that AGT season 2 winner ventriloquist Terry Fader gave her tips on performing and was the "best ventriloquist she'd even seen and the nicest guy ever" and Terry called Darci's AGT performance "flawless."
Beyond ventriloquism, Darci has a dream of performing on Broadway.
"And I also don't know why, but I've always wanted to learn to play the drums," she said.
Though her busy tour consists of mainly hotel, venue, tour bus and back again, when Darci visits Tampa she will have the opportunity for a mini-vacation and some downtime to visit its beaches and landmark amusement park, Busch Gardens.
She said that the audience that sees Darci and Friends Live at The Straz Center is in for a great experience.
"It's a fun family-friendly night - a multi-generational show. They'll be dancing and songs that you can sing along to," she said. "You're just going to have a great time."
With wisdom beyond her thirteen years, Darci gave advice to anyone who watched her winning performance or saw her show and wanted to follow in her footsteps.
"Go for it. Don't be scared of any obstacles that might be in your way. Give it your best. You just might be surprised."
Tickets: $29.75, see website for VIP / Showtime: Sat. 7:00PM / Call: 813-229-7827
The David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts is located at
1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Pl. Tampa, FL 33602