01/10/2013 12:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Do People Ever Make Mistakes in Live Performances?

This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Michele Maika Berg, Actor Les Miserables Broadway

Oh yes, people make mistakes. Sometimes the words to songs you have sung a million times just fly out of your head. One of our "Javerts" (in the Broadway production of Les Miserables) was excellent at making up lyrics that actually rhymed when he forgot the words a couple of days in a row. Too bad they didn't make much sense. Or you sing a note that you didn't quite support well enough with your breath, and it does not sound so good. Yeah, that is no fun. But, as an actor, when you mess up, as they say, the show must go on, and you must too. Some really funny stuff happened in Les Mis with the turntable.

Sometimes that thing would go crazy, and it would spin really fast in the wrong direction. One time, it spun really fast and then stopped short, and we all fell down on top of each other during a scene in the prologue. My very favorite mess up was when my friend "died" on the barricade but her head was not on the turntable that had to spin around in a few minutes, letting all those dead guys off the stage. If she didn't move her head, it would clunk along the fake cobblestones and she could get hurt. Well, the stage manager ran close to her off stage and whispered, "get your head on the turntable!" Imagine all those "dead" students perfectly still, no music, and then one "dead" body convulses, lifts up, and "dies" again!...this time with her head on the turntable. We laughed about that for years! The thing is, that is the thrill of live theater, anything can happen.

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