Elizabeth Scarborough keeps turning heads – and her own – this summer at Legends in Concert in Myrtle Beach.
As Legends’ tribute artist to Taylor Swift through Aug. 16, singing “Love Story,” one of five numbers filling her 13-minute set, she shakes her long, curly locks just like the real-life star does.
Scarborough, a Charleston native majoring in public relations at the University of South Columbia said spending her summer break working at the theater keeps getting “better and better,” in the run-up before returning to Columbia to complete her degree.
She said as a fan of Swift’s since age 12 that she grew up through high school, “without realizing it, imimating and mimicking” the young star artist known since 2006 for such country and pop hits as “You Belong with Me,” “Mine,” “Mean” and “Red.”
“I didn’t decide to do this professionally,” Scarborough said, speaking between two shows on a Thursday, “until 11 months ago.”
Jason Aiesi, general manager of Legends in Myrtle Beach, said he came across her on Facebook last year, and “that pretty much did it,” leading to her tryout last August. After ironing out a set from “10 to 12 songs on the table ... so hard with Taylor’s catalog,” Aiesi said, Scarborough’s doing a fantastic job.”
Not usually six summer acts
“It’s electric this summer,” Aiesi said of having her as a rare sixth act for summer, with the Blues Brothers (portrayed by Dan Meisner and Russ Peterson as Jake and Elwood Blues, respectively), Michael Jackson (Aiken native Jimmy Lucas), Madonna (Kimberly Goltry), Elvis Presley (Leo Days), and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (Chris Van Dahl), the rest of whom continue through August.
Aiesi lauded Scarborough for her investment into her portrayal, especially to rehearse in March, during her spring break.
“She came here and completely immersed in it and dedicated herself to it,” he said.
Some songs posed a challenge to get ready for stage, Scarborough said, “but it has evened itself out.”
“I work on all those songs, constantly on improving them,” she said, “with stage presence, and vocally.”
Off stage, she enjoys playing guitar and piano, and she called Swift’s “All Too Well,” off the “Red” CD, one of her favorites, “such a powerful song.”
Taking turns with Legends colleagues, Scarborough said, “You come here, and you get the stars being brought to life.”
She also said stands only one inch shorter than the 5-foot, 11-inch Swift.
“We’re both tall,” Scarborough said.
Other Legends sites looming?
Of this first Taylor Swift act that Legends has presented at any of its sites across the continent, Aiesi said, “I can definitely see her working at other Legends venues. There already has been talk of that.”
Aiesi said Legends brass, though, have always “first and foremost” shared a “paramount concern” about Scarborough completing her degree, hence her departure after Aug. 16 in time for the new semester. She said she’s looking forward to fall semester, which she and her college roommate will begin after relocating their residence, bringing quite the change of pace from “nine shows a week.”
Scarborough earned Aiesi’s praise for staying “very passionate” in her part of every Legends show.
“It helps when you’re a fan, too,” he said. “That adds to it.”
Scarborough said everyone in the company locally, which including Legends’ four-piece house band and the four dancers, “have been so helpful with me.”
A snapshot of the rest of the summer roster brings such interactive audience songs as Tyler doing “Walk This Way” and needing some “Yeah” chants, dancers sauntering up and down the concourses during Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and mirroring Madonna’s moves in “Vogue,” getting all arms and hands in the air with the Blues Brothers during their take of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” and Elvis going acoustic with a guitar and the band in the round.
During intermission on Monday night, a row of women were announced among special groups in attendance: seven teachers from Charleston who each had Scarborough as a student. Their repeated cheers must have accentuated their collective grade in mind from what they saw.