Lead's Vibrato Just Him Switching Quickly Between Two Wrong Notes
by Aidan Sears. @AidanJSears.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Baritone Dan McLaughlin began his run as Emile in the Oak Ridge Community Theater’s production of “South Pacific” on Monday, receiving generally positive reviews despite sporting a vibrato that sources describe as him just switching quickly between two wrong notes.
“There’s a point in the song where he has to hold a Middle C,” theatre critic Terrence Logan said, “but he was just wobbling super fast between a B and some note I’ll generously call a D-sharp. I guess he was hoping that the human ear would split the difference and hear a C, but that’s not even slightly how that works.”
Audience reports say that the show’s first few numbers go off without a hitch, with McLaughlin fitting in with the cast seamlessly. But it’s when McLaughlin sings “Some Enchanted Evening” that the wheels start to come off.
“I thought it was a joke at first,” Logan said. “I mean he basically started Tarzan yelling in the middle of the song. But it soon became apparent that that’s how he genuinely sings. He looked incredibly proud of himself.”
McLaughlin, whose Playbill bio claims he was classically trained, clarified to The Broadway Beat that he never received formal classical training, but was instead self-taught and “guided by the classics.”
“A powerful vibrato, like all the classics, can be an acquired taste,” McLaughlin said. “So I don’t take it personally when people ask me what the hell that was or tell me to sing the ‘right’ note. Modern ears just aren’t attuned to certain complexities.”
Anonymous sources within the cast say that McLaughlin’s vibrato has already caused some discord between cast members.
“He called my voice ‘generic pablum’ and offered to teach me what he called the true ‘singer’s force’,” an anonymous cast member said. “Before I could even ask what pablum meant, he grabbed my chin and bobbled it up and down and told me to sing. I sounded like I was riding a bike on a gravel road but he said it sounded perfect. I’m not going to wiggle my chin during a performance, so I don’t know what he expects me to do here.”
Our sources expect McLaughlin’s run to end within the week.