The opportunity to play Éponine in Les Misérables is a dream come true for Stacey Evans.
“I’ve wanted to be Éponine since I saw the production by Taree Arts Council (in 1995),” she said.
Entranced by the performances, particularly those of Lydia Welsh as Éponine and Patricia Williams as Fantine, the then 12-year-old decided she wanted to be on the stage when she grew up.
Now, 23 years later, as Taree Arts Council brings the world-famous musical back to the Manning Entertainment Centre, she is stepping into the character’s shoes.
”I’ve wanted to do it since I was a kid so it’s a little bit surreal to be in it.”
Stacey describes Éponine as gutsy and tough but vulnerable.
“Inside she is a young lady in love with someone she’ll never have because of his social stance. He’s far more superior and would never look at her that way.”
She watches as Marius (Alex Blenkin) falls in love with Cosette (Caitlyn Cameron).
“She really wants a life she will never have, it’s very sad and you can relate to her.
“Some things are so out of reach and I feel for her.”
The cast has been in rehearsal since April and Stacey is enjoying the experience.
“Everyone is so friendly, kind, supportive and encouraging of each other. That’s a huge aspect of it. It’ll be a fantastic show.”
I had only ever sung country and rock and I had to learn how to sing opera. My range went from okay to massive.Stacey Evans
Stacey started singing when she was 10 and attended the Hunter School of Performing Arts for three years in high school.
Her first show with Taree Arts Council was The Pirates of Penzance in 1998.
“I had no idea when I went that it was an opera. I had only ever sung country and rock and I had to learn how to sing opera. My range went from okay to massive.
“I use it as an example at what persistence and practice can do for your vocal range.”
She’s gone on to appear in a number of Taree Arts Council productions.
Also in 1998 she appeared in Leader of the Pack, following up in 2000 with a role in Noises Off.
Stacey spent some time living overseas as well as time in Sydney where she sang in a band on the Sydney club circuit.
She returned to Taree, appearing as Rizzo in the 2007 production of Grease and in 2013 starring as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
She runs a performing arts school and said she feels grateful she can live her life doing something she loves.
“Musical theatre is my life. I live and breathe it every single day and night and I’m extremely lucky and grateful every single day, and that’s the truth.”