Spotlight On
Terry Richmond

by Nancy Rosati


NR: Was Pimpernel your first Broadway audition?

Scarlet Pimpernel
TR: No. I had stuff but I never had an agent. It just has never worked, so I was very frustrated. I had been working at "City Crab," my last restaurant for almost a year and a half at this point. I had gone out of town. I had been working this theater in Florida. I had a lot of fun there but it doesn't support a lifestyle. I was in debt, living in a one-bedroom, waiting tables thinking "I'm about to get married, and I'll never have a child. What am I going to do - wait tables, eight months pregnant? What are we doing here?" So, there was a lot of that going on and a lot of frustration with the business. I'd done a lot of classes. I had done my cabaret work to try to get myself out there and nothing seemed to be working. I actually went through a period where I didn't audition for quite awhile.

NR: Really? How long of a period?

TR: About eight months. And I was never like that. I'm the person who went to every single call. I was up at 6 o'clock waiting on line. I don't know if you know what we go through to get an audition if we don't have an agent. When it's the summer stock season, you're up at 6 in the morning to wait on line outside, no matter what the temperature. You wait outside for two hours, then you wait for another two hours to get your appointment and then you try to go sing. I did all of those, and then I just went through a period where I was reevaluating and I thought "But I don't know what else I want to do." I knew I wanted to do this, and why wasn't it working?

Scarelt Pimpernel
I did my solo show, thank God, because on the tail end of my solo show ... actually what happened with Peter ... I heard Peter was directing this and we knew Peter very, very well. Chris, obviously knew Peter very well. They worked very close together for seven years. I wrote Peter a postcard, saying "Hey, we're getting married. Hope you'll come to the wedding. PS. Are you going to see me for Pimpernel?" I heard he came to town. He didn't call us and he didn't call me for the audition. I was really angry. I thought, "After all we've done for him, he couldn't even fit me in?" I was literally bad-mouthing him to everyone. Two weeks later I got a call saying, "Hi, Peter wants to bring you in for the call backs for Scarlet Pimpernel." He of course skipped the audition call. So, then I thought, "Oh, God, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I said all those horrible things." I was then thinking after this whole dry period I was in great shape because I had been doing my solo show. Fortunately, even though I hadn't been auditioning, I was in good shape vocally and I was just in a good place. I was thinking, "This is it. This is my show. I've worked with Ron Melrose, and I know Peter. This is my show! It's time!" I was so geared up. I brought my pianist to the audition. They wanted two numbers. I sang my first song. Then Ron said, "You know, Terry, we really know your voice. I really think that's fine." And Peter said, "Love to Chris." Then I thought, "I can't believe it." Because I was sure this was going to be it. I was destroyed. When they say that in an audition it usually means ... if they like you they want to hear more, whether they know you or not. They just do. I went home and said, "You don't understand, Chris. This is it. I'm not going to get called back. Why did he just bring me in just to kick me out?" - basically bad-mouthing Peter again. And there's my sweet husband, trying to be supportive, saying, "Well, honey, if you can't get this one ... " And he had a point. If you finally went to one of these, and you know these people, and they know your work, and they're still not giving it to you ... So, I was destroyed again. And then the next day, I got a phone call telling me they wanted to see me again for the final call back.

NR: How long did it take before you got the job?

TR: Well, then there was the period after that audition ... It was probably four weeks total, and completely grueling. There was the call the next day after the first time I sang but then it was a week until the next audition but now I thought, "Let's be reasonable. I can't go through what I went through last week." When I went in that week, everybody was there. Frank (Wildhorn) was there. Pierre Cossette was there and Nan (Knighton). I could see Ron Melrose saying nice things about me in Frank's ear, and I could see Peter, literally just beaming at me like he was my favorite uncle. He was just "lovely papa" which is what I had wanted the whole time. Then I had to go back to the movement call, and I didn't choke like I usually do. I left there, thinking "This is it. I'm going to be on Broadway." I was crying, I wanted to see Chris. I just felt it, I knew it was true.

A week passed. I was trying to pretend that it was OK, but starting to lose hope. I went to my class with Craig Carnelia and someone who had been at the call back with me said, "Oh, my friend Alison heard on Friday." This was Monday night. It was Alison Lory. Alison heard on Friday that she got it. And that was it. I couldn't believe it, because I was so sure. I was destroyed, and I went and I worked for three more days at the restaurant. I was doing lunch on Thursday. This was as low as you can get. I had turned 30 the day before I found out that I didn't get it. Even though I was getting married in six months, it didn't matter. I was destroyed. I was doing the lunch shift and I had told everybody that I appreciated their support but I couldn't talk about it anymore. After I finished my lunch, I went to check our machine and Pimpernel had called. I was right by the dishwasher, covered with seafood, as depressed as I could get when I called them back. There's Ron Gubin on the phone and he said, "Where are you right now? Why is it so loud?" I said, "I'm at my restaurant. I just worked lunch." And he said, "Well, how'd you like to come work on Broadway?" So, it might be that I wasn't the first choice. I don't know. I don't care. I think they also knew they wanted Alison quickly because she was filling a specific part. I don't even know and I don't care. It was huge, and it really has changed my life.

NR: What did that feel like? Was it what you expected? How did it change your life?

TR: It was so thrilling, and you have to understand that I was getting married September 20th. My birthday was July 6th so I found out about getting the show on July 10th. We were in the middle of planning my wedding. I had just turned 30 and decided my life was over, when in fact it was just beginning. I was ecstatic. It was funny because I ran upstairs in the restaurant and told all my friends, "I got it." My manager handed me a bottle of really nice champagne and I went to Chris' office, just to walk in with the champagne, and he wasn't there. So, I sat upstairs with all of his co-workers for a half hour thinking "Where's Chris?" We called everyone we knew. It was just the greatest feeling. I think part of the joy of it is, it's such a gift to your family, and to all of the people who have supported you for so long, and to my mom, to be able to be at work and say, "You're going to Broadway!" and have everyone hear it, for her to brag about it. It's such a gift to have given to all of these people.

It almost annoyed me with strangers, because all of a sudden it legitimized me and all the work I had done that I was so proud of, had meant nothing really. All of a sudden you're going to be on Broadway, so if we were out celebrating, people would tell our waiter and the manager would come over and buy us a drink and say, "Oh, you're going to be on Broadway." I felt like saying, "Wait a minute, I've been doing great work and nobody cares." But, I was ecstatic, and it definitely elevated everything. It elevated the wedding, and it was so amazing, and the self confidence was incredible.