By Litchfield Performing Arts, a not-for-profit educational charity.

Stories from Backstage – Brave is As Brave Does: Eartha Kitt and the Big Surprise

Eartha Kitt was a legend.  No two ways about it.  I saw her live in 2004 at Mohegan Sun and rarely have I seen anyone own the stage the way she did.  She was 77 years old, beautiful, and sexy with the best pair of legs I have ever seen. A row of admirers were hanging over the edge of the stage and throwing flowers.  They loved her!

In 2005, Eartha Kitt graced our stage at Litchfield Jazz Festival. I met her lovely daughter Kitt and she asked if I would like to visit her mom backstage.  I was thrilled to.  In the dressing room, Eartha was reclining in a makeup chair.  The makeup artist was working on her hair and face.  That face was beautiful but absolutely stony.  No smile, no change in expression when we were introduced.  No reaction from her daughter to this. Apparently, it was business as usual. I of course thought this pretty odd.

A few minutes before the curtain, Abram, our peerless stage manager, was chatting her up stageside, but more in the fashion of an air traffic controller than a friendly colleague.  He was trying to do what briefly looked impossible:  get her ON the stage.  She was terrified.  She had been doing this work with extraordinary success and legions of fans for 62 years!  And she still had stage fright!! Abram in his gently compelling way got her up those stairs and onto the Mainstage and abracadabra!  Eartha Kitt, the fabulous Eartha Kitt we all knew and loved emerged and was more fabulous than ever.

The morale of the story: If Eartha can get up in front of thousands of people countless times despite near-crippling stage fright, everyone can.

Just Do It!!!

VWM

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