The shorter days of fall are quite long for 13-year-old Jaime MacLean.
The Grade 9 student at Heritage Woods secondary in Port Moody is travelling to the BMO Theatre Centre in Vancouver to rehearse for The Sound of Music while also managing schoolwork and and preparing for an upcoming school musical.
“It’s a lot of work but it’s so exciting,” MacLean gushed while taking a quick rehearsal break yesterday (Thursday).
MacLean is getting ready to play the role of Louisa von Trapp, the third eldest child in the fabled Austrian family who’s known for playing tricks on the governess, Maria.
She wasn't originally seeking that role: At auditions, MacLean wanted the character of Brigitta, the 10-year-old bookworm who’s not afraid to speak her mind.
But when Arts Club Theatre Company director Ashlie Corcoran offered her Louisa, MacLean said she was thrilled because it’s the first time she’ll be portraying a character her own age.
Trained at the the Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts in Coquitlam, MacLean already has a lengthy resume in musical theatre.
In 2015, when she attended Aspenwood elementary school, she made her Arts Club debut at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage as Young Cosette in Les Miserables.
The next year, MacLean won the lead part in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, a Mirvish production in Toronto that also toured around the U.S. Her other acting credits include Annie with Royal City Musical Theatre as well as Shrek: The Musical and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Align Entertainment.
For The Sound of Music, whose ensemble cast also includes Coquitlam’s Ghislaine Doté (New Postulant/Ensemble) and Port Coquitlam's Tim Howe (Baron Elberfeld/ensemble), MacLean said she’s honing her acting skills by studying the stars Jonathan Winsby (Capt. Georg von Trapp) and Synthia Yusuf (Maria Rainer).
“The experience of seeing them perform at their best is just incredible,” she said. “I’ve taken so many mental notes from them.”
The show is different from other productions MacLean has been cast in: It’s heavy with child actors and, for the first time, she’s not the youngest person on the stage.
“I’ve always been the little one but now we have a seven- and eight-year-old. They’re so hilarious.”
After the show run ends Jan. 5, 2020, MacLean will continue with Bring It On: The Musical at Heritage Woods, a spring production that her Grade 12 sister, Julia, is choreographing.
After graduation, MacLean said she hopes to enrol in Ontario's Sheridan College as an acting or directing undergrad.
For tickets to The Sound of Music at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St., Vancouver), call the Arts Club box office at 604-687-1644 or visit artsclub.com. Sing-along performances are on Dec. 26 and Jan. 4.
Tim Howe (Baron Elberfeld/ensemble)
Ghislaine Doté (New Postulant/Ensemble)