Through small, faded speakers at the Deseret Book in Orem, the background track of “Think of Me” from the Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera” started playing in front of about 30 people. The sight would have been quaint, if Sandra Turley, a Broadway professional, hadn’t opened her mouth and started singing. Her enormous voice filled the store, reminding people why they came in the first place: to hear the love Turley has of music, that rang through each note she sang.
Turley, a BYU alumna and mother of three, recently released her debut CD, “On Broadway,” a tribute to her time on the stage. The mix of songs are from ten different musicals, ranging from “The Sound of Music” to “Wicked.” Turley has played the role of Ariel at Disneyworld and Cosette from “Les Misérables” on Broadway. With all the success, it’s surprising that she didn’t make the cut when she first auditioned for BYU’s Young Ambassadors. Turley say down with The Daily Universe and spoke about her career and her new album.
DU:When did you first begin to sing?
ST: I sang when I spoke as a child. I grew up in a really musical home with my mom singing and playing the piano, all six of us kids and our dad sang. My family would sing together in church, and we even have great family videos of us at Christmas time and belting it out with my whole heart. I loved singing with them and hearing our voices together.
DU: What was the inspiration behind your album?
ST: They are all Broadway covers, everything from 10 different Broadway shows. They range from classic, older Broadway to complementary Broadway. I guess the theme is that it’s all the stories that I love the most, the Broadway stories that pierce to my heart.
DU: Do you have a favorite track on the album?
ST: The “Les Misérables” medley track that we put together is my favorite in that sense that it’s my love letter to “Les Mis.” I helped to arrange it with Curt Bestor and it poured out of my heart and out of my brain. I love that musical, every note and every word, so much.
DU: You are also involved in motivational speaking and are traveling this summer with Deseret Book’s “Time Out for Girls” tour, inspired by the “Time Out for Women” series that has happened in the past. What does that include?
ST: Deseret Book runs the “Time Out for Women” tour and they go across the country, and are even international. The event is packed with presenters who talk about their stories, books or art, and that’s been highly successful . So last year they tried a “Time Out for Girls” in select cities for Young Women to come. They can show up in their jeans and be comfortable, still getting spiritual messages just like at church settings, but it’s in a more funny, silly environment. I get to sing and speak, performing stuff from my album while weaving in scriptures.
DU: Does your family travel with you when you’re doing performances?
ST: We’re still this young ruckus of a family, so when it comes to firesides and stuff my husband just seems to run around and wrangle our three little ones. So that’s a work in progress, but we love to support each other. Our oldest daughter is six and she actually sang a little piece with me on the album.
DU: Did you ever think you would have the success that you do when you were a small child, or even when you were at BYU?
ST: When I was younger, “Les Misérables” was the first show my parents took me to, when I was 13. I can still picture the seat I sat in. It was during the curtain call that I remember thinking, “I am going to do that one day,” but not knowing at all how I was going to go about doing that. So I pictured it, I’m kind of a visionary person so I can see things happening. I just had to find the way to do it.
DU: What is the one thing that you love the most about your album?
ST: It’s the stories that I love so much. I think it’s great that they’re beautiful melodies, and it’s nice if people like listening to it, but what’s more important to me are the depths of the stories. Some of the stories are just funny, others are tender and sad and can make you weep, but allowing these stories to evoke memories and emotions, that’s all I could hope for.