Being part of a Broadway production is a pipe dream for most in the performing arts, but for one Truro actress, that dream is becoming reality.
Julia McLellan found out a month ago she’s been selected to perform in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots.
“My mind is still blown. I still can’t wrap my head around it,” said McLellan on being selected to perform at the Broadway Theatre in New York City.
“I feel so incredibly lucky and grateful, because these things really are just pipe dreams for so many, and for it to actually be happening for me is just so incredible.”
Kinky Boots is a musical based on the 2005 British film of the same name about a man who inherits a shoe factory and starts making boots for a group of cabaret performers and drag queens.
McLellan is no stranger to the show. She’s performed in Ontario productions as well as touring with it nationally. But it doesn’t make the move to Broadway any less intimidating.
“It’s super nerve-racking as it has been a dream of mine for so long,” she said.
“Anytime a dream like this is realized, it’s definitely a little scary, but as I’ve done the show a few times, it feels like home in a way. It just feels like I’m going home to a new group of family members.”
The performing arts have been a passion of McLellan’s for the last 24 years.
Her mother put her in ballet when she was three at the Cobequid Dance Academy, and that led her to pursue voice and acting lessons. She entered the music theatre program while attending Cobequid Educational Centre.
“Being in the music theatre program at CEC gave me the basis for going to Sheridan College, which is Canada’s biggest music theatre program,” she said.
“I went there for three years, and that is really when I started to figure out this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
After graduating from Sheridan, McLellan got her first big role as Ariel in a Winnipeg production of Footloose, which further cemented her choice of making a career in the performing arts.
“I think I’d call myself a lifer, I’m pretty hooked,” said McLellan.
“It’s been the only career I’ve ever loved and the only thing I felt I was ever good at. It’s home to me, and although it’s not an easy career or a stable one all the time, it’s definitely got me hooked.”
Working in the performing arts isn’t always glamorous though, awith relocation and busy schedules.
For McLellan though, the chance to perform on Broadway is worth any hassle.
“I’m lined up for eight shows a week, so I will definitely have to move to New York,” she said.
“I am looking for an apartment as we speak, which in New York is a daunting task, but yeah, I am excited for the move.”
Currently, McLellan is performing in Ontario as part of the production, The Kings and Queens of Country, a country review that showcases classic songs of country legends.
McLellan will wrap up her last show on Christmas Eve with a matinee performance before packing her things and catching a plane to New York the next day, where she will perform her first Broadway performance on Christmas night.