(photo above is me, circa age 8)
It happened again. The slip and fall. The attack of the klutz. The shattering of the illusion of that graceful and poised person that I pretend to be. And it happened in front of 2200 people.
Last night during Aladdin, at the end of a wonderful show, I was coming onstage for my final bow, and just as the spotlight finds me center stage, I turn the corner too quickly and my foot slides on the bottom of my long beautiful Princess skirt, causing me to slip and fall flat onto the stage floor. Everyone was shocked, including me. I hear the collective gasp of 2200 people watching me, wondering what I would do, and if I was okay. I’ll tell you, the sound of that many people inhaling sharply at the exact same time is visceral. Time stops, and it feels like you’re inside of a frozen bubble of anticipation. Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt, and I bounced up and walked forward with forced dignity to take my bow. I raised my arms to graciously accept their applause, and to show them that I was, in fact, physically alright. The audience cheered louder, and I guess I proved that even a princess isn’t perfect.
The funnier thing is that, this has happened to me before. This exact thing. Falling flat onstage during my bow. In another Disney show, actually. A lifetime ago, I originated the role of Gabriella in the musical stage version of Disney’s High School Musical.
And the end of one performance, I ran onstage hand-in-hand with my co-star John Jeffrey Martin (who played Troy). Of the two of us, I was supposed to bow first. So he steps to the side, then gestures to me as I dip into a low curtsy…. until my back foot loses its grip on the floor and keeps sliding behind me, causing me to face-plant into the stage. I recovered quickly, but was completely mortified! That is, until my co-star, in true gentleman fashion, took his final bow and purposefully threw himself down onto the stage too. The audience roared in laughter and applause. And surprisingly, I felt so much better! Now, I wasn’t the only lunatic who fell during the bows! I knew that it was all pretend, but I felt so grateful to him in that moment for taking the fall. And I still do.
For further proof of my klutziness, I leave you with this:
Here’s a song from a concert that I did with my brother, Adam Jacobs (Broadway’s original and current Aladdin), at Feinsteins/54Below in NYC. Thank you Ryan Scott Oliver for giving me the words to encapsulate the Mess that lives underneath the pretty princess crown. ;)