Nobody ever called Jimmy Buffett a great singer, but a great performer? Definitely. Jerry Garcia, too. And Louis Armstrong. Judy Garland, and her daughter Liza Minelli, as well.
It’s not about perfection and it doesn’t matter that the performer felt sick with nerves before walking on, as Frank Sinatra said he always did.
Sometimes it doesn’t even take words to bind an audience: they said that Richard Burton as a young actor could be scrubbing the floor upstage and steal the show.
What it takes, says performance teacher Livingston Taylor, is a gut understanding that the audience is more important to you than you are to the audience. It takes an ear for conversation after someone yells, ‘hey broccoli face, go home.”
It’s about knowing you belong there, and knowing what to do with your arms. For a singer, or a comedian, the best school may just be dance class.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)