My heart thumps a million beats a minute as the music starts and the curtain opens to reveal one River City Jules decked out in sequins and bling while the crowd goes wild.
I boldly look to the back, challenging the spotlight to shine a little brighter. I close my eyes and prepare to belt out a rendition of “Proud Mary” so electric that Tina Turner wants to take me on tour with her.
But when I open my eyes, I am back in the private karaoke room my friends and I rented while on vacation last year, wearing a T-shirt and jeans and singing “Jessie’s Girl” just softly enough to blend while somewhere a tear falls slowly down Rick Springfield’s cheek.
I mistakenly believed that what happened in that private karaoke room would stay in the private karaoke room, and decided to limit any photographic evidence of that wild and crazy night to an elite circle of 700 Facebook friends.
One of my friends here in Lawrence saw these pictures and, likely due to the big smile on my face in each and every shot where I am holding a microphone, confused “enjoys singing karaoke” with “being good at singing.” This misunderstanding led my friend to invite me to perform as a Dueling Diva for Theatre Lawrence on Friday.
Up until that point I had never considered myself much of a diva. High-maintenance? Sure. Particular? Fine. Difficult and stubborn? So I’ve been told.
But diva? Divas are glamorous and travel with an entourage. I wear Birkenstocks and cut my entourage’s steak for them.
And singing in front of people? The last time I sang to my youngest daughter she gently broke it to me that “music is supposed to be enjoyable.” My greatest vocal triumph so far has been crooning Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” into our neighbor’s Wii one night with 93 percent accuracy.
Singing on stage by myself was the last thing I thought I should ever do. The very idea made me laugh out loud.
Naturally, I accepted my friend’s offer.
That’s right, this Friday night you will be able to catch my worldwide stage debut at Theatre Lawrence, 1501 N.H., as I take on the spotlight and perform two songs I wrote that were inspired by my teenage daughter(s), old boyfriends and Mark Zuckerberg.
Always the back-up dancer, never the star, I have spent the past six weeks training like an Olympic athlete (except for the exercising part) with a very patient vocal coach, reminding myself that I will share the stage with seven other far-more-qualified divas sure to steal the show with actual talent. I’ll be the Smelly Cat swimming in a sea of Material Girls.
But for now I am back in dreamland, armed with the guitar I started teaching myself to play last year and a new pair of not-at-all sensible shoes, ready to wow this audience just like my girl, Tina.
If Tina drove a minivan, that is.