Originally created 09/22/00

Singer loves a good laugh



For a professional musician, Georga Osborne doesn't take her music very seriously.

Certainly she practices and takes care of her throat and performs with the single-mindedness of a true professional, and she absolutely holds the opera and musical-theater pieces she performs in her cabaret act in the highest regard.

But that doesn't mean she isn't going to poke a little fun at them.

Ms. Osborne performs Sunday at Poppy Seeds Cabaret, a presentation of the Augusta Opera.

Ms. Osborne traces her musical roots back to harmonizing with her sisters. She said that even as a young girl, she felt the need to sing and make people laugh.

"I found at an early age, being the youngest of seven girls, that comedy got me attention and approval," she said. "So I was kind of the clown and developed a real sense of comic timing from that."

After studying opera in college, Ms. Osborne found herself in New York pursuing her first love, musical theater. She soon found herself appearing with Debbie Boone in a touring production of The Sound of Music and on Broadway in Meet Me in St. Louis. But when St. Louis closed, Ms. Osborne said she felt that moment of panic every actor without a job experiences.

"I had a friend from college who was playing in this piano bar, so I went down there sometimes to sing. Soon, he and I had put together a show to play in this cabaret room upstairs, incorporating opera stuff and musical-theater stuff. I made fun of both - and myself."

Since then, Ms. Osborne has never looked back. Her performance soon won critical and popular praise. She has since shared her unusual take on music in London and New York and was voted the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs' Outstanding Female Musical Comedy Performer.

While she has made her name in the Big Apple, Ms. Osborne said her favorite audiences are always a little farther afield.

"When I do the shows in New York there are always people in the audience who have seen me before," she said. "It's much more exciting to perform for an all-new crowd. I love it when people who have never seen me before leave talking about the show and remembering it as a happy time."

While her act draws heavily from the worlds of opera and musical theater, Ms. Osborne said there isn't anything she wouldn't consider adding to the musical mix.

"I really want to do some Beatles songs," she said. "That's the kind of thing I grew up doing, and they've become such standards - classics really. And in this show I'm doing a Kinks song, Celluloid Heroes."

While Ms. Osborne is among the fortunate few who are able to make a living performing, she said that she continues to sing because that is what she loves to do.

"If I'm in kind of a bad place before a performance, I find that as soon as I start singing I forget," she said. "I just throw myself into the moment."

On stage

Who: Georga Osborne, presented by the Augusta Opera

When: Sunday; supper at 6 p.m., performance at 8:30

Where: Poppy Seeds, 3626 Walton Way

Admission: $55

Phone: 826-4710

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or suhles@hotmail.com.

Georga Osborne Profile

BEDSIDE READING: Saving Graces, Daily Word and Simple Abundance

DESERT ISLAND SONG: Climb Every Mountain: "It's a song that can be sung by anyone and always really lifts people."

DRINK OF CHOICE: Water: "I'm a firm believer in water. I probably drink a gallon a day."

VOTE FOR MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE ON EARTH: Switzerland: "It really does fill my heart with the sound of music."

LAST CD PURCHASED: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella: "I was auditioning for a touring production and bought it to study."

FAVORITE PERFORMER: Liza Minnelli: "She can sing and dance and act. So can Bette Midler. Oh, Bette Midler. Wow, I really like her, too."

ANIMAL TOTEM: Grizzly bear: "I put one on my computer wallpaper. It's there to encourage me to stand up for myself and to protect my interests."