Sierra Boggess sings a Broadway number during her concert commemorating the opening of the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, March 28. Photo by Meghan DeHaas.
Empowerment was the message when a Broadway princess spoke to UVU students last week.
“I believe that just as you were born on this planet, you are enough,” Sierra Boggess said during her masterclass. “From that, everything we do … must come from the place of knowing and trusting that you are enough.”
Boggess visited UVU on March 28 during the Noorda Center’s Week of Dreams program to lead a masterclass on building self-expression and confidence while performing.
Boggess made her Broadway debut in the role of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” and is credited with re-inventing the role of Christine Daaé in “Phantom of the Opera,” her performance of which was dubbed the “best Christine” by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
She began the class by asking the performers in the audience if they ever struggled with feeling anxious or nervous before performing. Many attendees raised their hands.
“Do you see how you’re not the only one?” Boggess asked. “You know the voice in your head that says, ‘Why does everyone have it figured out except for me?’ Everybody in this room understands.”
She then asked, “should we just say it all together?” The audience recited from memory a phrase coined by Boggess that has become a rallying cry for performers: “You are enough. You are so enough. It’s unbelievable how enough you are.”
Several musical theater students from UVU were asked to workshop songs for Boggess. They received her feedback, then performed again with her notes. Boggess focused on the connections the students had with the song and pushed them to think about what their character wanted.
“What do you want, and what are you willing to do to get it,” Boggess said. “And this stuff has to be life-and-death. Otherwise it’s just a beautiful girl singing beautiful songs.”
After the performance session, Boggess took questions from the audience. One student asked how they could overcome the unsureness about sounding good in rehearsal and allowing themself to move past that.
She stressed that what many pop performers do is all about “feeling themselves,” and that musical theater performers were not in the business of doing so.
“You have to live with the fact that you’re going to doubt yourself,” Boggess responded. “For those of us that want to perform and tell a story, it is not my job to listen to my own sound. It’s my job to do the work that we did today.”
Boggess believes that the joy is in the process of rehearsing. She detailed an audition she worked hard at for months where the role ended up going to another actress. “Just because my outcome wasn’t what I thought it should be, all the work was not for nothing. I got to learn material and connect with people. That’s what this is. The joy is in the work.”
Olivia is a theater education major who stumbled into journalism. She’s a little too into movies, pop culture, and Oxford commas (against the desires of her editors). She is also very online. ([email protected])