Category Archives: performing

How Could I Ever Know?

Musical theatre.

The most beautiful words I can think of tonight.

I went to a concert in memory of my Musical Theatre high school teacher who lost her battle with cancer five years ago at age 30.  Students at my school put on a fundraiser concert in her memory every year.  Tonight, they sang.  What else is there to do?  Some of the kids up there don’t even know who Mrs. MacDonald was, she was before their time.  But I remember her.

She was one of the first people who said to me, “Kayla, if you want to do this for a career, you can.  You have the talent to make this happen”.  She cast me in her shows, she spent time with me working on my parts, she believed in me.  Long before anyone else did.  Even longer before I believed in myself.  I remember her talking to me before I went on as Nancy in Oliver and helping me shade in my clevage!  What an amazing teacher she was…

She came in one day and asked me for some stretches because her hip had been bugging her.  How could I ever know.. that she would eventually need her femur replaced because of the cancer growth?  As a 28 year old woman, she rocked a cane.  She still came to our classes as a volunteer long after she stopped being able to work.

I remember the call.  Mr. Baxter, the musical director of our shows called my cell one day.  That was super weird in itself.  I picked up and he just said “Kayla”.  And I knew.  I had graduated school already and I hadn’t seen him in a while.  But I knew.  I called my best friend.  She was at dinner with her family.  I was in tears, she picked up her cell.  I said “Mrs. MacDonald”.  And she sobbed and said “No”.  That was it.  “No”.  I ruined her dinner.  I felt bad about that afterwards.  Weird what we feel in those moments.

She was so young.  So full of love for her art.  So full of hope for us.  It’s an amazing feeling.  To be endowed with so much as a young person.  To have someone believe so fully in you.  You don’t even understand it at the time.  But I do now.  Five years later.

I just need to say some things to her.

Thank you.  For believing in me.  For creating the Musical Theatre program at my high school.  For continually pushing for more time, energy, and resources to create better shows at that high school.  For coming into my life.  For changing my life.  For telling me that I could do this.  I can honestly say that without her I would not be where I am today.  I wouldn’t.  It didn’t even cross my mind that I could do this for a living until she talked to me.  I owe her so much.

I miss you.  I may be able to go a long time without bringing up these feelings, but when they come up, they are hard to take.  I find it tough to be in that school and know you’re not there.  I keep thinking you’ll walk down the hall.

So tonight, I’ll sing.  In my room, after the concert.  Because I can’t think of a better way to honour you.

 

42nd Street: The Hats

The next show I’ll be working on is called 42nd Street and it’s set in 1933.  I wanted to do a little bit of research on some fashion and relevant information about the time period and I thought I’d share it with you!

Let’s start with hats!

These are examples of “Cloche” hats.  Cloche is the French word for bell.  They were quite popular in the 1920s through the very early 1930s, although it started to be more fashionable to turn up the brim in the early 30s.  By 1934 these hats would have been considered out of date. I think some of the girls in the company of “Pretty Lady” (The show within a show of 42nd Street) would still be wearing these Cloche hats because they wouldn’t have had the money to buy the new style because of the depression.  Although, they would’ve been aware that they were risking being “behind the times”.  

Here are some more fancy versions of hats of this era!

I love these styles!  I think they’re totally wearable today!

For example..

Omg.. babies wearing Cloches… I love it!

New Years Eve.

I know it’s a little late, but I wanted to share a couple of photos from my New Years Eve this year.  I actually had to work that night!  We had a show scheduled that started at 9:10.  We performed for a crowd who had paid lots of money to have a dinner, show, and special New Years celebration with the cast.  We were all geared up to perform when our lead came in and was deathly ill.  His wife, who’s also in the show, was so sick she couldn’t come in and her understudy had to go on.  So, needless to say, the energy backstage was CRAZY.

Nevertheless, the show went on.  Mr. Best Things was even in the audience which always makes me happy!  The show came down at 11:54 or something crazy like that.  We changed like mad women ( I was dressed as Cyndi Lauper.. there was no way I was ringing in the New Year dressed like that!), grabbed a glass of champagne and headed back onstage to ring in the New Year with the audience.  It was actually pretty fun considering I was at work.

After all that craziness, we headed up to Laura Mae‘s room for some casual festivities with just the cast.  Chelsea from Mixed Mediums Theatre took some photos of us!

My dress is vintage that I bought at a consignment store in South Africa about 5 years ago.  My Granny loved it.

It’s our second New Years together! How crazy is that?  Last year we were in Niagara Falls, ON.  This year, Edmonton! Crazy!

We’re so in love, eh?!

All in all, a fun New Years Eve!

What I Do

For those of you who have been wondering what I do for a living, I thought I’d do a quick overview. In pictures!

My professional career as an actor/dancer/singer started in 2005 at Sheridan College where I studied Music Theatre – Performance. I sang, danced, acted, choreographed, stage fought, wrote essays, and cried my way through the years up until graduation in 2008. In case you’re wondering, theatre school is known for it’s ability to “break you down and then build you back up again”.  Hence the crying. All in all, a great experience.

I did a show straight out of school called “Oh Canada EH!?”.  Every time you hear the word, “Eh”, you have to yell it right back, Eh?!  Then they yell “EH”!  It’s not all glamour in show business, I promise. Moving along…

Next up, I got to play Susan in a musical version of “The Lion, the Witch and, the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis called “Narnia”. Lots of stage fighting, crying over dead lions, and fake bow shooting fun to be had!

In “The Wizard of Oz” I got to hang from the flys (the rigging above the stage) dressed like a monkey in a harness and risk my life every night. I love flying in shows!

In “Beauty and the Beast” I got to swoon over Gaston every night.  One of my favourite shows ever. 

I’ve been in “White Christmas” twice. It’s such a lovely dance show, and being in the ensemble is such a blast. Once I even got to learn the original Broadway choreography from one of Randy Skinner’s assistants. Dream come true.

I got to bop around in “Hairspray” playing one of the “Nicest Kids in Town”. Cardio workout onstage every night!

In an Elvis Jukebox musical called “All Shook Up”, I got to be dressed all in pink for the whole show and try not to fall in love with Elvis’ swinging hips every night.
I travel all over the country performing in shows for a living. I have a super fun job. It’s not all glamour though, don’t be fooled. The major disadvantage is that I work contracts. So generally, I’m performing for about 2-3 months at a time, then I have to audition and book another show (hopefully). Performing is not for the weak of heart… not sure what I’m doing in this industry. I’m pretty sensitive.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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