In February 2016, I joined New Directions – a local theatrical society full of talented and welcoming people – and resumed my musical theatre life that I had only briefly flirted with back in my school days. Now, a year after playing Sherrie in Rock of Ages, I’m on my third show with them and loving every moment, not to mention the fact I’ve gained so much confidence in the process. That’s what you get though when you find ‘your people.’
Like most, I was quite different as a teenager. I would cry at any negative comment towards me and I’d be too shy to sing louder than to the front row. What if they think I’m terrible? – I’d ask myself every time I had to perform. It took getting into my 30s and many years of teaching and presenting to realise SO WHAT? I’d always be well prepared, I’d be practised and know my subject. SO WHAT if people disagreed? I felt good, and that’s how I feel now. I’m no Samantha Barks, I’m no Sierra Boggess, but I AM Stacey Harris and I will always bring my best self.
I’ve never told them, and probably never would to their faces (not out of pride but more not to embarrass them) but I should really thank my buddies in my company. Whether it’s helping me learn song lyrics I’m struggling to grasp, going over complex dance moves with me over and over, talking me out of my own head when I’m struggling with a solo or even just complimenting me on one of my belting high notes, they are there for me.
September 2017 saw us perform an Autumn revue show called Comedy, Disaster and Happily Ever After. I sang Your Daddy’s Son from the musical, Ragtime and faced my biggest acting challenge yet having to sing to a grave.
I also got to have my ‘Vengeful Jailbird’ moment singing and dancing the Cell Block Tango from Chicago – something to tick off my performance bucket list! I think the biggest highlight for me during the show was getting to duet with my other half, singing Suddenly Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors. I remember my old school performing that musical and I so wanted to be in it. I couldn’t compete with the stars there so contributed by quietly playing my flute in the band instead. I had watched the film over and over again, and not just because of my love for Rick Moranis in the 90s. The harmonies, the storyline, the characters, the everything… It all captured me, and to be given that moment nearly 20 years later – it’s a moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. ❤️ Starring in that musical one day is certainly another on my performance bucket list!
Not sure how it’s gone so quickly, but a week tonight, our Winter revue show, Rock the Jukebox opens at Stiwdio Stepni in Llanelli for three nights and I cannot wait. The last two and a half months have been spent listening to Queen and Abba songs over and over, understanding how to twist and jive, learning to love disco (famously my least favourite music genre!) and living the dream performing Lady Marmalade as Christina Aguilera. There are so many great moments in this upcoming show and some fantastic solos from my ever so talented company.
If anyone is interested in coming along to support us, you can get tickets for £10 from the website but hurry, they’re selling out fast! You can also follow us on Twitter @NewDirectionsTS for updates.