Have you ever wondered how Broadway professionals keep their performances from receding into stale repetitions of old lines? Night after night – matinees and evening performances … How do actresses and actors keep displaying Tony award-winning acting and choreography – within the same old routines?
For several years, I performed each summer in a series of plays at Hunter Hills Theatre in Gatlinburg, TN. At 8:15, various audiences saw the lights come up on Hello Dolly, Camelot, or Oklahoma depending on the season. We rotated these each night in a repertoire of musicals for tourists visiting the Smoky Mountains.
One of the now famous among us, David Keith, honed his craft with us in those hills of Tennessee.
As performers, we were taught to believe that “there’s no business like show business,” and you fight for a standing ovation created by a great audience experience. It didn’t matter how you felt, whether you were up or down, the audience received the same great performance. It was part of the creed. It was who you were on the stage.
And, each night was different and refreshing for us because the audience was different. For each line of the play, each part of it, we encountered a new audience reaction – a lot of laughter – no laughter, or in between. The audience and the actor – a dance of empathy and response between each.
Irving Berlin once wrote in the lyrics to “There’s No Business Like Show Business:”
There’s no business like show business like no business I know
Everything about it is appealing, everything that traffic will allow
Nowhere could you get that happy feeling when you are stealing that extra bow
There’s no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Recently, during the first day of our vacation, we signed up for a guided hike into a part of Arizona’s beautiful red rock set(ting). Elyse was our actress/guide and from the moment her service began, she played her part with perfection.
She answered our questions with unwavering patience and helped us learn over a 2 hour hike. She smiled. She was serious. She was empathetic. She told the same stories at the same points in the trail that she told all the tourists.
However, she made us feel special – not just one of the many. She was present for us. It was about us. It wasn’t about her – and, we felt it.
She was all business – show business, and she was making a dream for us and lasting impressions for her employer. Watch her in action …
Do your salespeople smile “when they are low?” Do they believe that everything about their job is appealing? That customer applause is important? That customers respond to great performances for those who attend their needs and problems with humor, seriousness, and empathy? Do others believe in their sincerity?
In this world that increasingly expects patience, laughter, and honest salespeople that differentiate, a world that expects an authentic consistency from those that serve them, what do they find? Do they find the people you lead?
Of course they do. After all, you lead them.
Keep at it. Make it clear who you are and the part you play. It’s time for a Tony – and the payoff is huge. Lance.