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Perform: You Gotta Have a Gimmick

In the musical Gypsy by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents, the title character Rose finds herself in a Burlesque company and is advised by three of the dancers that “You Gotta Have A Gimmick!” It is a fun tune and you should definitely go listen to it this morning but I’ve often wondered about this point.

We are still telling people that they need a “thing” in order to be interesting, valuable, or heard. To be certain there are dynamic speakers that lean into their life experiences to entertain or thrill their audiences. To the untrained eye this can certainly look very much like a gimmick, but what if it isn’t?

When Gypsy Rose Lee (based on a real person) finally goes on as a performer, she finds her “thing”. Her “gimmick” is to really connect with the audience and the fact that she doesn’t, until the very end of her career, ever actually show any real skin. In short, she goes out there as herself and it is thrilling.

So, do add parts of yourself that are you unique to you to your presentations and performances. Do offer something true — whether it is your flute playing, tumbling, past-life as a doctor, or dancer. In fact, offer the most thrilling thing you can, something true.

GROW Voice, is a Boston-based business.  Founder and CEO, Gina Razón has taught voice and speech for over sixteen years to individuals, organizations and in academic settings.   She is sought after as a teacher of voice and speech, singing, and public presentation.  Gina has a BM and MM in Voice Performance, she is a practitioner of Fitzmaurice Voicework and a certified teacher of Somatic Voicework. She has served as the voice coach for TEDxCambridge and speaks at National and local events on all things voice and speech.  Gina is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, The Voice Foundation, the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and the National Speakers Association. More information at

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