Worthing Musical Comedy Society’s production of Meet Me in St Louis could be a major stepping stone for Amber Kelly.
Amber is playing the Judy Garland role in the musical which runs in Worthing’s Connaught Theatre from May 1-5. She knows it will look great on her CV next year when she starts applying to drama school.
Amber, who lives in Angmering, is hoping for a showbiz career. At the moment she is at Angmering sixth-form where her subjects inevitably include drama.
“I have been part of WMCS since I was eight,” says 16-year-old Amber.
“I did the youth theatre, but I have wanted to act since I was really little, and I know that sounds so cliched! But I have always wanted to sing and act. I just love pretending to be somebody.
“ I get so scared before I go on stage, but when you come off stage and you think of all the hard work you have put in, when you think how you have entertained people, there is really nothing like it… nothing at all like the adrenaline rush that you get. It is really incomparable!”
Based on the MGM film, Meet Me In St Louis promises a delightful portrait of a turn-of-the-century American family.
It is the summer of 1903, and the Smith family eagerly anticipates the opening of the 1904 World’s Fair.
Over the course of a year, the family’s shared respect, and good-natured humour help them through romance, opportunity and heartbreaks.
Amber is playing Esther, one of the daughters.
“It’s a show that a lot of people won’t know, but it has got some very well-known songs like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Skip to My Lou and The Trolley Song. They arranged a screening of the film at the Connaught when they knew that we were going to be doing this, and it was really interesting. I didn’t know the show at all, and it was good to watch it, though the show is slightly different to the film.
“But Judy Garland is great. She is fabulous. She is just really unique.
“There is no one else like her, but for me it is important that when I do the role, I am not trying to copy her. I am really not trying to imitate her.
“I think it is really important to be able to put your own stamp on a part. The people that have seen the film will come along to the show and see a different side to the character that I am playing.
“Esther is a really interesting character. She is really sweet. She is absolutely lovely, but she is also quite feisty.
“She is your typical girl-next-door character, but she has also got a good strong fiery edge. She really cares for her family.
“The family are rooted to St Louis and they are all really excited about the World Fair coming there the next year, but their dad comes home. He is a big businessman. I think he is a lawyer, and he is being moved to New York which comes as a big shock to the family.
“They are really shocked and upset.
“It is a lovely part to play. It is my biggest role so far. I have done lead roles before but never on this scale. It was in smaller shows.
“ I have done youth theatre productions but never a big lead role in an adult production. This is my first experience of doing a lead role in a really, really important show.
“And I will get really nervous. But that’s good. If you don’t get nervous, it’s because you don’t care.”
Tickets from Worthing Theatres on worthingtheatres.co.uk.
For more stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2