Broadway singer Sandra Turley shares stories of life, gospel

Published: Monday, Sept. 10 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Singer Sandra Turley has recently released a new CD of Broadway songs.

Provided by Shadow Mountain Music

Sandra Turley was 13 years old when she first saw the musical “Les Misérables” and knew what she wanted to do.

“I’m going to be there,” she said of one day being in the production. “I just didn’t see how to do it.”

Turley, both of her sisters and her three brothers grew up in a musical home in Connecticut. She pursued voice lessons, auditioned for local shows and researched what it would take to get there. When the time came for school, she applied to BYU.

She eventually found herself on Broadway in New York City performing the role of Cosette in “Les Misérables.”

Turley is scheduled to speak at several Time Out for Girls events this fall, including in Boise, Idaho, on Sept. 7-8, and Las Vegas on Sept. 21-22. Time Out for Girls events, which coincide with Time Out for Women events sponsored by Deseret Book, will also be in Salt Lake City, Oct. 26-27, and Portland, Nov. 2-3. For information, see www.deseretbook.com/timeout/tofg.

“I want them to be the most comfortable with the principles of the gospel,” said Turley of what she shares at these events. Also, she wants to see what their talents are and what they can do to work to fulfill those.

BYU to Broadway

“I learned about theater in that environment,” she said of being a student at BYU. She also performed the part of Ariel in Disney World's production of "The Little Mermaid.

When “Les Misérables” was touring Salt Lake City, the production held auditions, so she went to sing.

“This is what I wanted to do,” she said of possibly being in the show, figuring she had nothing to lose by auditioning.

She sang and then made the callbacks and didn’t hear anything for five weeks.

Suddenly, they were offering her the part of Cosette and she had two weeks to move to the East Coast.

“Maybe this is the big test,” Turley said of all decisions and changes in her life at that time. “All of the pieces fit together.”

Her husband, Josh, was able to transfer to another branch of the accounting firm he was working for. Since, he has worked for other companies, including Time Warner and Discovery Channel.

“Walking in (to the theater) in two hot seconds they knew I was Mormon,” Turley said. From there came many opportunities to share different aspects of the gospel, including some fairly deep conversations, and she had to be ready for questions.

By the end of her 3 ½ years on stage, “the walls were broken down,” she said.

She finished up her degree through correspondence classes.

“I was super lucky,” Turley said of being able to be on Broadway. There are hundreds of people who train and hone their craft, but don’t necessarily make it there.

When other aspiring Mormon singers ask her for advice, she tells them two things.

“Have a rock-solid testimony,” Turley said. “Without a testimony, the industry will eat you alive.”

And second, if at all possible, try to do something else. “It’s a tricky business for a religious person,” she said. “It’s a business: The industry expects you to market yourself and you become a product.”

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