Heather Feeney is bringing a little New York to Squamish.
The Squamish-based film and stage actress and mother of two has been absent from the stage for five years — whisked away, as it were, by motherhood — and is now returning, with Love, Laugh, Cry and the Music of Your Life, a two-night, 18-song, one-woman musical theatre cabaret this Saturday and Sunday.
But take note, casual theatre fans: you'll find no "Grease Lightning" or "Ol' Man River" in this set. Feeney has interwoven contemporary cuts from various plays — including I Love You Because, Working, Nine To Five, among others, as well as several other standalone songs written by New York composers and lyricists written without a show attached to them — that "tell a story from beginning to end."
"I love classical musical theatre as well, but I also really like finding a really good story," Feeney says. "My favourite is to tell a story through song. All of these songs are story songs. They have a beginning, a middle and an end there within the song where, for me, I connected with each and every one."
"When I was looking for songs to do, I was looking for songs that I thought the general public would be able to connect to as well," she continues. Because when you do a performance, you want someone to come away from it and have it touch them in a personal way."
Originally from Calgary, Feeney earned a BA in Psychology at the University of British Columbia before moving to New York to pursue an acting career. She landed numerous Off Off Broadway roles before taking a part in the U.S. National tour of Pippi Longstocking. When she returned to New York, she landed a role alongside Kenny Rogers in the Off Broadway production Christmas From the Heart.
In 1999, she moved back to Vancouver, working in film, TV and theatre, including roles in Dead Like Me, Masters of Horror and Da Vinci's Inquest. She met her husband on the set of Scary Movie 3, and they moved to Squamish to raise a family.
Since having children, she says it's been too difficult to take roles in Vancouver theatre. She's been dreaming of Love, Laugh, Cry for the better part of five years.
Having never performed in Squamish before, she knows she's something of an unknown talent in town.
"I know people who have seen my poster and gone, 'Who is this girl?'" she laughs.
She's now taking the "baby steps" in building an audience.
Depending on the success and reception of these shows, Feeney says she and accompanist Scott Knight plan on holding bi-annual concerts in the spring and fall.
"I just have to suck it up and maybe not do a sold out crowd the first show, but hopefully the next show will be."
Tickets are $20 at Xocolatl, Westland Insurance, The Adventure Centre and the BAG. The final performance is tonight (Sunday, April 29) at 7 p.m.