Millikin Senior Rocks Out in NYC

Brock Hayden , Staff Writer

Millikin Students of sophomore standing or higher may very well remember Sidney Davis from her spellbinding performance as the Fairy Godmother in Millikin’s production of Cinderella last season. However, this past week, Davis traded those fairy wings for a plane ticket to New York City to perform with Sheri Sanders, musical theatre actress and author of Rock the Audition – How to Prepare for and Get Cast in Rock Musicals.

Sanders, who has had master classes twice on campus, announced on her Facebook page that anyone who had a 70’s song should consider auditioning. Davis sent Sanders a message about her song choice of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Thelma Houston and eventually, by way of an e-mail and a phone call, was chosen to be one of the students who would sing with Sheri in concert.

“At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to go,” Davis said, “because I also have rehearsals for String right now.” Luckily, things worked out and Davis was able to make the performance. The show consists of Sherri’s story of becoming the pioneer that she is today in the audition world. It goes through the decades of music and Davis, of course, was the 70’s disco portion of the show.

“I sang it (the song) twice. The first time Sheri told me to just do it with the disco feel and then she wanted me to sing it again with a more literal feel. That was interesting because my mom was in the front row, which was the only row I could see … My mother and I are very close, but I’ve never moaned or done anything of a sexual nature around her, so it was interesting,” Davis said.

Despite having to lose herself to the music in front of her mother, Davis says the feedback she got from her audience was exhilarating. “There were even two Millikin alums in the audience. I couldn’t have expected it to have gone better.”

When asked if she believed other students should look into Sheri’s methods and the like, Davis gave a firm and unabashed “yes.” “The genre is taking Broadway by storm … even shows like Spring Awakening, which I wouldn’t think you would need a pop rock song, are requiring those kinds of songs in auditions,” Davis said. “If you are ever trying to audition for anything and Sheri’s book is not in your library, you’re a fool. And it’s the music we listen to on the radio, so why not culture yourself?”

One thing is certain: Davis did an excellent job of getting Millikin’s name out there. “The director asked me if I was from Millikin, and I said yes and he just said ‘Millikin’s got it’,” Davis said. “Millikin’s name is gonna stick with him.” Davis’ name will undoubtedly be stuck in the minds of several industry professionals in the big apple. A path to success has been forged, both for Davis and for Millikin’s theatre department. Much like a fire is starting down in the soul of Thelma Houston, according the lyrics of Davis’ chosen song, a fire is burning a name for Millikin on the streets of New York City.