There's been a lot of positive attention paid to the way Orange Is the New Black assembled its cast, pulling together a group of women who are diverse in race, age, background, and basically every other marker of identity under the sun. And, while that's certainly outstanding, the series should also be praised for how the cast is used. The creators will make an actress with a lilting Australian accent talk like a tough Jersey broad (ahem, Morello), or someone who's spent her career singing be basically mute. For the latter, Norma Romano, played by Annie Golden, hardly speaks through most of the show, owing to her stutter and then lack of a metaphorical voice in a cult she eventually joins. In reality, Golden is a singer and has sung everything from New Wave to Broadway show tunes. I like that the show was able to see her in a different direction and force her to flex a different performance muscle. Still, what does Orange Is the New Black's Norma sound like in real life?
It's actually not hard to find examples of Golden singing in real life — with a big, strong voice instead of the meek Norma stutter. Here, a few examples of some of her more vocally inclined roles.
First Things First: Norma Isn't Mute On Orange Is the New Black
It's not like we never get to hear her sing on the show. In fact, she belts it out in one of my favorite moments from Season 1. Get it, Norma!
She's Been On Broadway
Yep, those pipes are good enough to bring Golden to the Great White Way. She's had roles in shows like Xanadu and The Full Monty, but most recently she was seen in Violet with Younger star Sutton Foster. (They're singing together in the video above.)
And In Movies, Too
Golden's first big break was in Hair, where she was featured in the original 1977 Broadway play and got to appear in the 1979 movie adaptation. Here, a much younger Golden gets her hippie on, doing some backing vocals for "Good Morning, Starshine." Do we see the seeds of Norma's cultdom in there?
Of Course She Was In a Band
They were called The Shirts, and the sound was far from Hair hippie-folk. They were more of a Blondie-style New Wave outlet. She preferred the band's output to her Hair gig, she told People back in 1979. "No movie can give me the rush I get from being appreciated for my own ideas," she said.
And Now For Something Completely Different
If you were teen at a certain moment in history, it's possible that the soundtrack to Sixteen Candles was at one point in your daily listening rotation. If that's the case, you already knew Golden's voice from "Hang Up the Phone," a track that highlights the miseries of a time before cell phones and call waiting. And, there's no way to describe the video except for these two words: Totally awesome.