The King And I

14231155_10209342749821542_2973621871437119961_oTuptim was the first legit soprano role that I ever performed. Up until that time I thought I was just a “belter” (a singer who “belts” out pop songs in the middle of their range).

It was truly a surprise to me when I was cast as Tuptim by one of the directors who worked at the Music Center in Los Angeles.

I was also terrified.

I had two legit songs to sing: “My Lord and Master” and a duet, “We Kiss In The Shadows.”

14258161_10209342798902769_2155259507831424074_oWhen you’re rehearsing and performing a musical, the first thing to give out from exhaustion is your voice. Rehearsing for weeks and then performing all those high notes show-after-show, eight shows a week, can be particularly exhausting… especially if you are a tired “belter” who hops across a stage as big as a football field every night.

So I quickly went to work with Seth Riggs and his amazing wife Florence Riggs.

There I learned some very weird and wonderful vocal exercises that blended the middle of my voice and opened up the high notes.

Thank goodness!

14231909_10209342802982871_3986353115949459646_oEven though I was terrified and wondered what I was doing there before every performance, all went well. Everyone just took me to be a delicate Lyric Soprano when I knew in my heart I was born to belt out Annie Get Your Gun.

Ahhh… Life! We make plans and Life just plays jokes and spins us around.

Udana Talks About Her TV and Movie Career, Pt. 3

NOTE: This interview with Udana Power was conducted by publicist Bill Murphy in late Spring, 2013. This is Part 3 (covering the years 1976-1979) of what’s likely to be a 4-5 part series of interviews with Udana about her appearances on TV and in movies. We hope you enjoy it!

Udana-1976Bill Murphy (BM): Let’s start with Hawaii Five-0, 1976. You did this episode (“Tour De Force, Killer Aboard”) just after LaVerne & Shirley. The show was filmed in Hawaii, so they must have flown you out there, right?

Udana Power (UP): Yes.

BM: What was that experience like?

UP: It was the first time I’d been to Hawaii. It was into the unknown. Exciting. Cliff Gorman [who played the bad guy in the episode] was there. I called him as I got in just to connect with him as an actor. But he didn’t want to. I think he thought I was asking for a date. I wasn’t. The episode was really fun. I didn’t get to see much of Jack Lord. I mean, when you’re working on something like that you’re only there doing your scenes and connecting with the director and the people you’re doing the scenes with as well as the full crew. I remember being in the station wagon [in her first scene]. Remember station wagons?

BM: Oh, yeah. [laughs]

UP: They don’t have station wagons any more. And it was a woody [wood paneled sides] station wagon. The sides were metal, painted to look like wood. (laughter) So 70s and 80s. Here’s another thing I noticed, and I noticed this in the episode of Soap: many women had dark hair, and there were no highlights in the hair. It was pre highlights. [Laughs]

BM: [laughs]

UP: I was killed off in the first few scenes. [Laughs]

BM: Yeah. I think you lasted about 10 minutes into the episode.

UP: Yep. But I threw myself into it like it was a leading role. I was interested in making sure that the scenes were good. I felt like I was up to speed. I knew my lines and, as Spencer Tracy advised a young actor, I knew my lines and didn’t bump into the furniture.

BM: Cliff Gorman. What was he like to work with?

UP: Terrific. He was an excellent actor. Very professional. Intense. I really appreciated Continue reading