See what I did there? Sorry (not sorry).  Couldn’t resist.

Anyhow, most folks in the theater have rules about what they will and will not eat or drink before or during a performance.  Singers, imho, have the most rules. 

Let’s see – you can’t eat or drink anything that is going to make you burp. 

Singing around burps is difficult and sometimes simply not possible – and you better time it for a point when your body mic is off (and then hope that your mic has actually been turned off) or everyone there is in for an audio treat.  Also, often you’ll end up burping right into someone else’s face (or at least their personal space) – not likely to be a pleasant for the person on the receiving end.

I don’t think I need to even mention avoiding anything that is going to make you gassy – or even worse, running for the loo.  So, that rules out pretty much anything on the Taco Bell menu.

Some things are known to fill your throat with mucus – milk, chocolate – also, swimming is known to clog you up as well.

Very cold things are not great for the vocal cords and throat. 

And please don’t eat or drink something that is going to dye your teeth or tongue a color not found in nature. 

I tend to not want to eat at all before a performance.  But that means I run the risk of running low on energy (and blood sugar) before the show is over – so you need to keep something on hand that will give you a quick boost; but has none of the unwanted effects listed above.

Some people like to eat before a performance. They want to start with a full tank so their energy needs will be met.  But they run the risk of all of the effects listed above – so please for the sake of your fellow performers (if not for your own sake) – choose wisely.

Also – I avoid caffeine before a show.  When the regular pre-show jitters hits, caffeine is going to take me right over the top, straight to shaky and anxious. 

So what is my “go to”?  Hot herbal tea (preferably mint) with sugar as well as some kind of hard candy. What do you avoid?  What is your go-to? 


  1. Oh, Lordy – SO many memories are coming back whilst reading this! You must have gotten stuck with a
    garlic eater at least once – the worst, right? Or – uh oh – the dreaded schvitzer, the guy who was soaked by
    scene 2 & had to hug you? Gadzeeks – I miss those days!

    As to what & what not to eat — you pretty much nailed it. I used to eat a big slug of protein (omelet or burger
    patty, maybe half a tuna sandwich) in late afternoon – that was enough to get the energy going, wash it down
    with a nice cuppa with lemon (in summer, iced tea minus the ice). I always kept a little stash of unsalted nuts
    in the dressing room (usually cashews – softer & quieter to chew) & hard candies (Jolly Rancher, but no red
    ones) & a thermos of tea. The only danger in all this was that by the time the curtain came down I’d be
    ready to eat the props – that wonderful thing of unwinding with the cast after a show, couple of drinks & food –
    then go home & try to sleep .

    You’ve done it again – supplied me with so much nostalgia I’m getting misty-eyed — and craving tea with lemon.

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. One of my favorite things when touring with Bottom’s Up – after the show, the whole cast going for breakfast (because in a casino, there is always a place open serving breakfast!).

  3. So sorry – how could I have forgotten to compliment you on the BRILLIANT heading for this entry? Why,
    ol’ Will Shakespeare himself must be giving an appreciative groan right about now.

    Nothing I appreciate more than a good bit of word play (unless it a good bit of chocolate) & this one is GREAT. Thanks!

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