Michelle Hussey says what she loves most about acting is the challenge. “To become the character in a personal way - discovering their accent and idiosyncrasies - that process of discovery is what I love most. That, and the fun of being someone else,” says the star of Kelowna Actor’s Studio’s upcoming show, The 39 Steps which opens tonight. I have been fortunate to direct Michelle in a production I did last June - Calendar Girls - and was very pleased to have the opportunity to find out more about this lovely performer for this column.
After a terrifying stint on stage in grade three as Mrs. Carrot in a production of Peter Rabbit, Michelle’s start came as a 12-year-old in musical theatre. Michelle was living in Indonesia with her family and she joined a community theatre company that had a definite Broadway flair. Filled with actors from around the globe, the company was run by a woman who had a previous life as an actress in New York and she became a formative figure in Michelle’s early stage experiences. After doing leading roles in Annie and The Music Man, Michelle came back to home to Petrolia, Ontario to finish high school and went on to university to get a degree in Fine Arts with a major in drawing and painting.
Fast forward to her life today and Michelle is recognized as one of the Okanagan’s most outstanding actresses. Her success has largely been tied into the productions she has done with Kelowna Actor’s Studio and Randy Leslie. It is at Kelowna Actors Studio Michelle has starred in Brighton Beach Memoirs, A Streetcar Named Desire and now The 39 Steps. “What I love about working for Kelowna Actor’s Studio is it is a premiere experience, not to be taken for granted. I love the fast paced challenge of putting the show up in a seven week period. I love that Randy demands a lot; I enjoy being pushed.”
While Michelle’s nights have been filled with the joys and complications of tackling this “terrifying, complicated show” with a small stellar cast of four, her days are spent working on many things including advocating for those who have autism through her company Claro, a learning centre for kids who have needs on the autism spectrum and planning for upcoming events like the Walk for Autism held every May.
When asked if she has any dream roles she can’t wait to play she says that she doesn’t think that way, she actually just loves the opportunities to play the characters she is offered, always being open to what is next. To see what the amazing Michelle Hussey is working on now, you must go and see her and my good friend Doug Brown in The 39 Steps, also featuring the equally talented Brandon Shalansky and Jordan Davies, running Feb. 5-22. Tickets are available from Kelowna Actors Studio at www.kelownaactorsstudio.com
My next production is The Black Cat Cabaret, Feb. 21 & 22 at 7:30pm at The Black Box Theatre. It is a fun evening of saucy songs and scenes featuring our artists this season. There will be a silent auction, door prizes and our second season will be revealed. We encourage everyone to dress in black (like a really cool cat). Don’t miss it. Tickets are only $20 and available at www.selectyourtickets.com or get them at the door for $25.