When I was 19, I auditioned for the tapping extravaganza 42nd Street. The audition was a huge cattle call, with hundreds of eager dancers hoping for a break. After much culling, I remember being put in a line with the others who’d made it that far, and we were each asked to step forward, introduce ourselves, then perform a series of perfectly timed rolling shuffles, just like something out of the film “A Chorus Line”! I will never forget the phone call from my agent telling me I had been cast in the Australian production of 42nd Street!
The show is still one of the highlights of my career. It was so exciting to be part of such a fabulous production. I was second cover for the role of Dorothy Brock (Nancye Hayes), and while I never got to perform the role (Nancye never missed a single show… the ultimate Pro!) it was a great learning experience. I was surrounded by an incredible group of artists, many of whom were instrumental in my own artistic development. I remember Nancye inviting me to her dressing room where she would suggest a multitude of songs and repertoire that would suit me. Bob her partner (now husband) who played saxophone in the orchestra gave me saxophone lessons, introduced me to Charlie Parker, and jazz in general. William Zappa helped me with my acting. Assistant musical director Paul White taught me how to write a lead sheet for auditions. Nancye’s first cover, Peta Doodson who became a very close friend taught me how to transpose.
The cast and crew was full of fabulously talented people who pulled together to make a great team. I feel so grateful that my first experience in a big show was in such an inspiring and nurturing environment.
Wendy Lee Taylor