By Doreen Jung, Arts Editor. The house lights dim and the orchestra begins to play. The curtain rises and the magic of musical theatre begins. Life has always been filled with music for Kaylee Harwood.
Pictured at right: Kaylee Harwood, photo by Kevin Clark
Coming to Vancouver to perform in “Out of a Dream” the award-winning Langley actor ignites the stage with songs and dance from the golden age of musical theatre. Patrick Street Productions takes audiences on a nostalgic journey through Rodgers & Hammerstein’s legendary Broadway songbook. Thrilled to be part of this dreamy revue, Harwood credits director Peter Jorgensen with having a great impact on her acting career.
Photo at left by David Cooper.
Born in London, Ontario, Harwood moved to Langley when she was nine. She attended Langley Fine Arts School as a Dance Major and then went on to graduate from Trinity Western University with a degree in Theatre.
“I’ve been training as a dancer since I could walk,” says Harwood. “It was an innate thing for me, making up songs and dances.” Throughout her childhood, she sang in choirs and as a soloist. It was after her first year of university that Harwood discovered her passion for theatre. “On a whim, I auditioned for a community theatre production of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. When I got the lead role, it was a clarifying experience for me and I felt that my experience in singing and dancing was paying off.”
In her third year of university, Harwood entered the theatre program and began her formal training in acting. “A lot of the craft is learned on the job,” she adds. “But Trinity stands out with their training program. It is well rounded and does a great job equipping students.”
Pictured at right: Kaylee Harwood as Guenevere in Camelot. Photography by David Hou.
Harwood credits her classical training in voice with providing her with a versatility and a great framework in technique. Her musical interest was sparked by Rogers & Hammerstein and then it broadened into contemporary music and opera.
“I love to sing operas, arias and duets,” admits Harwood. Her fascination with performance comes with “the rush of being part of something so ephemeral.” “I love the feeling that, somehow it all comes together,” describes Harwood. “In every show that I’ve been involved with, there is such a collaboration. Some days you can’t see the forest for the trees. Other days, it just all falls into place and it is crystal clear as to what I am meant to be doing.”
Kaylee Harwood as Franca & Kelly Wong as Giuseppe in The Light in the Piazza. Photo by David Cooper
.Some of Harwood’s favourite roles include Guenevere in “Camelot”, Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” and Franca Naccarelli in “The Light in the Piazza”. A self-described travel junkie, Harwood once combined a trip to Italy with preparation for the role of a fiery Florentine woman named Franca Naccarelli. She spent two weeks in Florence and then over a month wandering from the north of Italy to the south.
“I did what some might call research,” says Harwood. “But I have to roll my eyes when I call it that with a wine glass in hand.” She continues to explain, “I knew that I’d be speaking and singing scripted Italian lines, but I wanted to pick up the cadence and musicality (not to mention physicality) of the language to lend authenticity to the world of the show.”
“Out of a Dream” brings together the timeless songs and beloved shows of Rogers & Hammerstein.
Pictured at right by Kevin Clark
Their music and lyrics convey stories that move the audience to laughter and to tears. Harwood injects her own special energy into her performances on stage. While working in musical theatre, she asserts, “There is no job that I would rather do.” As long as she can remember, Kaylee Harwood has been swept away by the music.
Kaylee Harwood will be performing in:
“Out of a Dream”
A Revue of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s music
Conceived and adapted by Peter Jorgensen
February 5 – 15, 2014
York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive, Vancouver