Gettysburg grad performs for Prince Charles
How do you greet Prince Charles?
Do they serve alcohol in the throne room?
Do you still have to curtsy if you're wearing denim overalls?
These are just a few of the questions one might ponder if they're getting ready to perform before British royalty at the Buckingham Palace. Ponder no more - Gettysburg resident Kyleigh Grim, 25, lived to tell the tale.
In February, Grim, a Gettysburg High School and Gettysburg College alumnus, performed a musical number and skit at the palace as part of a showcase for benefactors of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, of which Prince Charles is a patron. Grim recently completed her studies in musical theater at the college.
Clad in denim overalls and Chuck Taylor sneakers, Grim and a classmate performed "Secondary Characters," a tune from the comedic, off-Broadway show "Title of Show." She portrayed an American tourist, completing her quirky look with an "I love London" T-shirt.
"Now I'm like, 'Well, I've performed in front of royalty, so I feel like most things are pretty smooth-sailing from here,'" Grim joked. "Did I peak too soon? Maybe."
So what's there to know about going to such a regal event? Here are five of Grim's tips and observations.
1. If you're performing, don't step off the stage. Seriously.
The security at the event was pretty strict, according to Grim. She said she and the other performers were told they could not step off of the stage, or they would be shot by guards.
"I was in overalls, and I had a bow in my hair, and I thought 'What harm am I going to do?" she said, bubbling with laughter.
Prince Charles was joined by a slew of other notable figures, such as actor Michael Sheen, who starred the film "Frost/Nixon" and television show "Masters of Sex," and Welsh singer Shirley Bassey, the indelible voice behind the theme songs from James Bond films "Goldfinger" and "Diamonds Are Forever."
Guests were decked out in beautiful ballgowns and suits, Grim said. Originally, Grim was told she would have the opportunity to change into something more formal after her performance, but two days before the event, that option was taken away.
"I wish I wouldn't have looked like such a schmuck," Grim giggled, adding that she was at least comfortable in her denim and red, white and blue sneakers.
2. Ladies curtsy, men bow.
Yes, even in her character's casual costume, Grim was required to curtsy when she met Prince Charles.
Performers received a sheet of etiquette rules prior to the event. They were told not to speak to Prince Charles until he spoke to them first, and they could greet him by saying either, "Good evening, your royal highness," or "Good evening, sir." Selfies were prohibited, she said.
The royal treatment also applied to the serving of libations. Everyone received a glass of champagne at the end of the performances, while Prince Charles received his gin and tonic on a silver platter.
3. Be prepared for Prince Charles' quick wit.
The evening wasn't all formalities. Grim said Prince Charles has a fantastic sense of humor. When she spoke to him following her performance, he often delivered quick, witty responses throughout their conversation.
He also loves music, she said, and was appreciative of the performers.
4. Don't ask for seconds.
Grim enjoyed a rich meal of macaroni and cheese, stuffing and chicken before the show. There were two types of desserts offered, but serving sizes were limited.
"There was this butler that would yell at you if you tried to get seconds," she said. "I was like, 'Oh geez, is that because I'm a peasant or because I'm fat?'"
The dinner was served in the palace, which holds many rooms, Grim said. In the throne room, Queen Victoria enjoyed rolling up the carpet and playing soccer, Grim learned from one attendee.
The throne itself is just as plush as one would expect it to be. There were actually two thrones, Grim said, and they were decked out in red velvet and cushions.
"I would much rather be the queen of that throne than the iron throne," she said, referring to the sinister-looking chair seen in the show "Game of Thrones."
5. Take it all in, because it might be the greatest experience of your life.
The college has only held a handful of similar showcases before, and the last one was 10 years ago, Grim said.
"I hit it at the right time," she said.
Preparing for her performance was a whirlwind experience. Grim was on vacation stateside with her parents when she received the news that she would be taking the stage at the palace. She rehearsed with her classmate via Skype at an airport in Orlando, Florida.
When it came time to start the show, Grim freaked out a little bit.
"Right before we went on, I was talking to my partner, and I was like I can't do this," she said. "I can't do this. I'm sorry. I'm gonna go home now. If I mess this up, there is no going back."
Fortunately, Grim didn't go home.
"It was one of the greatest experiences I'll ever have."