You could say Vincent Davis was keeping in the spirit of the show he was auditioning for. Cinderella was famously late in leaving the ball, and Davis didn’t even get to the vocal auditions for the national tour of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical until they were over.
“I came to audition for Lord Pinkleton during the dance auditions,” he said. “The voice auditions were already over.”
Armed with just his résumé and his powerful singing voice, Davis asked to audition for Lord Pinkleton. The “Cinderella” creative team let him sing “The Prince is Giving a Ball,” and before he could leave the building, the team called him back for a second audition.
“I got the role from me being as persistent as I am,” he said. “I don’t take no for an answer.”
His résumé included a lot of Kentucky, which is where he is spending this weekend as the “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” tour comes to the Lexington Opera House for five performances, Friday through Sunday.
I was bit by the vocal arts bug, and I just kept at it.
A native of Memphis, Davis completed his undergraduate work at Kentucky State University, earned a master’s degree at Bowling Green University in Ohio and completed coursework toward his doctorate at the University of Kentucky.
While in school, he studied under Andrew Smith at KSU and Everett McCorvey at UK.
Davis debuted in Germany during his undergraduate years, performing as Robbins in “Porgy and Bess” at Theater AM Geotheplatz in Bremen and at Alte Oper Haus in Frankfurt.
“I was bit by the vocal arts bug, and I just kept at it,” said Davis, who taught music before his passion for performing live took over. Some of his favorite roles were Nicely Johnson in “Guys and Dolls,” Alfredo in “La Traviata” and Don Josè in “Carmen.”
“This is a very fulfilling role,” Davis said of Lord Pinkleton. “It’s interesting because, although this is musical theater, Pinkleton demands more of a classical background. Having that type of training with McCorvey really helped.”
McCorvey seems to have a knack for getting singers cast in the role: Another former student, Phumzile Sojola, played the part in the 2013 Broadway production.
Now, if you are a Disney fan who doesn’t remember a Pinkleton, don’t worry.
It’s humbling as an artist too. I’ve studied voice for 26 years, but when you become one small part in such a beautiful production, it makes me know why I do what I do.
The modern retelling, originally written for television in 1957, comes from the creators of The Sound of Music, The King and I, and Oklahoma.
Lord Pinkleton is a member of the royal court, and Davis describes his role as the “town crier.”
“Everybody loves Lord Pinkleton,” Davis said. “He is always coming in with news. His big (musical) number is ‘The Prince is Giving a Ball.’”
“When it all comes together, it’s mind-blowing,” Davis said of the process. “It’s humbling as an artist too. I’ve studied voice for 26 years, but when you become one small part in such a beautiful production, it makes me know why I do what I do.”
He’s getting kudos for it, too. In October, The Baltimore Sun’s Tim Smith wrote in a “Cinderella” review, “Speaking of voices, the most impressive belongs to Vincent B. Davis, a genuine operatic tenor who sings the heck out of his all-too-brief music.”
Bringing the performance to Lexington means more to Davis than just a hometown show.
“I want them to feel pride in one’s work,” Davis said of his two teachers, who will be in the audience. “I am a result of other people’s hard work. This is the result of good teachers.”
If you go
‘Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella’
What: National tour of the Broadway musical presented by Broadway Live at the Opera House.
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17, 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19
Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St.