Payson Woman Most At Home On Stage

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Fay Lumley has been singing her heart out all her life. She has acted professionally on stage, in film and television for 20 years.

In her lifetime, she spent enchanted evenings as nurse Nellie in a stage production of "South Pacific." She played the female lead in a stage version of "The Odd Couple."

"I feel so blessed that I am a great grandmother and still doing shows," Lumley said. "It's all I've ever wanted to do -- entertain people and make them laugh."

Locally, her performance partner is pianist/keyboardist Bob Morgan. They have a repertoire of 700 songs.

Her first memory of captivating an audience was singing in the aisles while traveling with her mother on a Greyhound Bus. She was three.

"I love to sing comedy," she said, softly humming part of a tune familiar to musical fans: "I Caint Say No."

Lumley became a drummer in the college band because she did not have to pay rent for her drums.

Unexpectedly, she found she loved playing them and they helped her career. When a piece of music called for exceptional timing it was her instinct as a drummer that came to the fore.

"I used to work really hard before an audition, learning the music, the songs, taking dance lessons," Lumley said.

As preparation is the key to a successful audition, memorizing the other actor's lines is the key to being able to improvise and make the scene flow.

When one of the leads in "The Pajama Game" started talking past my scene I started talking to take the lead back to her lines. "I wasn't about to give my scene up because I usually got applause as I went off stage."

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Fay Lumley played "Mama," a character created for car dealership commercials, for eight and a half years.

Lumley was in commercial acting class when she was asked to audition for "Mama."

When she read the script she thought, "This has just got to be for me. It's me. I'm so bossy."

She got the job on the spot and played the character for eight and a half years for Fremont Ford in the Bay Area.

"It was so funny, I got to sign autographs," Lumley said.

Her craziest role was as a scared barking dog in a commercial, but she had parts -- including voice-over work -- in television and film ("Turner and Hooch").

"People are born with talent," Lumley said. "It is polished by training.

"A lot of time people can sing, but when they get ready to present it to somebody else ... they fidget."

Physical awareness can help a singer successfully through an audition. Lumley asks, "Are they holding their hand or some other body part? Are they making eye contact with the audience? Are they using proper microphone technique?"

"I can help entertainers with their presentation," she said. "If you don't look like you are comfortable with what you are doing, it really worries the audience."

It is important to Lumley to create a love affair with the audience.

Her advice to her students applies to everyone: "Pursue the dreams that you have. That maybe sounds a little corny, but it is very important that people think about what they want to do -- maybe what they've been created to do."

Profile

Name: Fay Lumley

Occupation: Singer, vocal coach and Biblical counselor

Employer: Self-employed

Birthplace: Shreveport, La.

Family: Husband of 30 years, Michael. "He took me to my first opera and symphony." We have five children, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Personal motto: Sick 'em.

Inspiration: My husband and family and my close relationship with the Lord.

Greatest feat: I love being a mother.

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Working out in the gym, playing cards and Mexican train.

Three words that describe me best are: Fun, kooky, unconventional.

I don't want to brag, but ... I think I have a singing voice that is easy to listen to.

The people in history I'd most like to meet are: Betty Hutton and Angela Lansbury.

Luxury defined: To have good health and be able to sing for a lot of people.

Dream date: Tommy Lee Jones. We would go and have Mexican food then come back and watch "The Fugitive."

Why Payson? We had family here and when we visited we loved it, so we moved.

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