2013 Tony Award Opening number - Neil Patrick Harris - Wowza!!

Woah! If you haven’t seen the opening number of last night’s Tony Awards, watch it! Neil Patrick Harris was nothing less than genius in it, proving himself to be a consummate theatre performer, dancer and singer. I have no idea who wrote the lyrics to the songs in last night’s show, but the humour and wit added to the evening’s sparkle. 

As a singing coach and theatre performer myself, what really impressed me the most about Mr. Harris’s performance was his shear stamina. For almost 9 minutes, he was constantly singing/dancing/performing acrobatic feats and yes, running all the while maintaining his endless string of wordy, pithy lyrics. Only once did he seem even a little winded – no easy task and I was genuinely in awe watching his performance. Not a single word slip... no "take 2s"... just an amazing talent!

So, how does a performer gain this type of stamina? As the legendary Broadway performer Linda Eder once told me “Sing… a LOT”. I have never forgotten those words. Remember, the voice is a muscle just like any other muscle in the body and regular strength training and exercise will absolutely make it stronger, more versatile and able to do more. This type of lung capacity required to do this volume of activity while still singing is quite another issue though and I would suspect that Mr. Harris has quite a regimen of cardiovascular exercise in order to be able to do what he just did.

Broadway performers must be absolutely fit throughout the entire run of the show. The amount of energy it takes to do 8 shows a week (two shows on Saturdays and Wednesdays) requires amazing amounts of energy and discipline. The actors who last in the theatre are not the ones who go out partying every night – the demands of the show simply won’t allow it! They are the ones who eat very healthy food, exercise, hydrate and get plenty of sleep. Those who are lucky enough to be cast in a Broadway show are fully aware of just how highly competitive it is and if they get run down or sick and start missing shows, they can easily be replaced by an understudy and eventually replaced entirely.

As in any job, those who excel know how to manage their instrument. Bravo Mr. Harris… Bravo… your instrument is serving you well indeed. It was an absolute pleasure to watch you and I sincerely hope you host the Tonys again next year.