Dancer ‘accidentally’ wins 42nd Street role
Life truly reflected art when Courtney Hale auditioned for a local version of stage show 42nd Street.
The 21-year-old Porirua local wanted a chorus part in the famous musical, but instead won the lead role – mirroring the show’s plot, in which a chorus girl is chosen to star in a Broadway show.
Hale had not contemplated auditioning for the role of Peggy Sawyer.
‘‘I was just thinking I wouldn’t get it, which I guess is a bad attitude to have. I just wanted to be in the show,’’ she says.
At 157 centimetres she also thought she would be too short. However, she accidentally booked herself into a solo audition for the lead, and was chosen for the part.
‘‘Obviously they saw something about me that they thought ‘this is Peggy Sawyer’.’’
The musical is famous for its glitz and glamour, and Hale is looking forward to Peggy Sawyer’s wardrobe, in particular.
‘‘ I’m so excited about the costume fittings.’’
The show will have a two-week run in October. Hale will attend rehearsals three times a week, some up to 12 hours at a time.
‘‘It’s going to be a lot of hard work but I’m ready for that,’’ she says. ‘‘I’m going to get abs!’’ One aspect of her role will be a breeze. Hale is American-born, so she has no trouble with her character’s accent.
Another similarity between Hale and Peggy Sawyer is shared ambitions for a stage career.
Hale has been performing all her life, and as a five-year-old announced her showbiz intentions.
‘‘Apparently I was, like,
‘Mum, I want
42nd Street. to be a star!’ ’’ Her ambitions were encouraged by her mother, who she says wasn’t a pushy stage mum, and her aunt Deborah Hale, who runs a dance school.
Hale performed as a singer while growing up, but has managed to master ballet, jazz, modern tap and hip-hop dancing, and has a diploma from the Performing Arts School.
While the 42nd Street cast are unpaid amateurs – ‘‘ we do it for the love, it’s worth it,’’ – Hale hopes to become a professional musicals performer.
Musicals are not elitist and appeal to everybody, she says. ‘‘We sing, dance and act. It’s always very entertaining.’’
Stairway to stardom: Porirua performer Courtney Hale accidentally but successfully auditioned for the lead role in a local version of Broadway musical