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Have You Ever Choked During a Live Performance?
—Stefany Northcutt, Los Angeles
"Years ago in Boston, I played the sergeant in Split Second. My character questions an officer about killing a handcuffed suspect. The lines in that scene are similar. One night I suddenly blanked and made up a question. When I remembered my line, I delivered it and waited for the other actor to answer no. But he said yes, which would admit guilt and end the play in the second scene! I improvised, 'So you admit it?!' So he improvised, 'No, I was confused by the intense questioning!' We recovered. But you should have seen the looks in our eyes!"
—Wil Bowers, Los Angeles
"I knew I couldn't sing those words, mess up the linear thread, and screw up my fellow thespians, so I just stood there. It felt like 10 minutes. The orchestra played my intro music, paused, and played again. Finally, I heard another actor artfully whisper my line to me. Finding my footing, I continued. It was terrifying! I was lucky to have castmates who helped when I needed it."
—Cami J. Kidder, Los Angeles
"While playing the female lead in Dear Brutus, in an ethereal dream scene I walk through the forest and come upon a young girl and my husband. The young girl is supposed to touch my arm, the cue for my next line. I'm waiting, waiting, but no touch. Suddenly, thrown off, I look at the male lead for help. I'm looking at him; he's looking back at me. Nothing! Finally, I just skip ahead, bypassing some valuable exposition. It turns out it was my line! The young girl insists she cued me. Maybe she did. I was just glad it was over!"
—Natasha K. Rezhenkov, Portland, Ore.
"In 2001, I was one of the celebrity guest presenters at this kids awards show in Anaheim, Calif. As I got up to the podium, I realized that my eyesight wasn't that good, because I could barely read the teleprompter. I panicked! Immediately my nerves took over. My left leg started shaking uncontrollably. It was awful. Somehow I managed to finally stumble through the dialogue. I improvised quite a bit! It's a good thing for me that the podium was blocking my left leg, which was involuntarily doing the Achy Breaky!"
—Danso Gordon, Los Angeles
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