In the beginning, there are three main stepping stones that I remember very clearly. One was when I was 12 and made what I would call my official debut. I sang one song in a musical revue in London. At almost the last minute, I was nearly dismissed because they felt that in such a sophisticated setting, this little girl with a freak voice was much too innocent. My parents and an agent or two descended on the poor producers. They said, “You’ve got to give this girl a break, and she’ll sing something more difficult.” And that night, I did in fact stop the show, and the audience wouldn’t stop applauding. That was the beginning of some recognition of this sort of child prodigy that I was for several years.
The next thing was going on to Broadway (starring in “The Boy Friend,” in 1954, at 18). I had toured around England endlessly throughout my teens, but when I came to the U.S. to perform on Broadway, that was a huge step.
Then, obviously, going to Hollywood after a long period on Broadway.
I think the things that happened were mostly beyond my wildest dreams. Who could have imagined that life would have taken such marvelous twists and turns or that I would often be so fortunate to be in the right place at the right time? Performing is always a learning process, even today.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.