From community theatre productions in Surrey to a big stage in Vancouver, Chelsea Rose has taken steps toward stardom over the past two decades.
The Newton-raised actor/singer stars as Maria in “The Sound of Music,” an Arts Club Theatre Production set to fill Vancouver’s storied Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage with familiar Rodgers & Hammerstein songs for a fall run.
Rose got her start doing shows in Surrey with Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society (now Fraser Valley Musical Theatre), and also acted, sang and danced at Sullivan Heights Secondary years ago.
“I was about 12 or 13 years old when my dad (Tim Tucker) saw an audition posting in either the Now or The Leader, one of the papers, for the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullvan Society’s production of ‘The Pajama Game,’” Rose recalled.
That was back in 2001.
“He suggested we both audition, and we both got into the ensemble,” Rose added. “It was absolute blast, I loved it, and I knew that was something I had to continue doing. So I continued doing shows with them, and my dad as well, and he’s still the musical director there.”
This fall, Tucker helps bring Fraser Valley’s musical panto “Sleeping Beauty” to the stage at Surrey Arts Centre (Nov. 23 to Dec. 4), while daughter Chelsea keeps very, very busy with “The Sound of Music” in Vancouver, from Nov. 10 to Dec. 24.
The musical is legendary, of course. In pre-Second World War Austria, Maria teaches and cares for the seven von Trapp children before eventually falling in love with their widowed father, Captain von Trapp (Damien Atkins). Many iconic songs are sung, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and, of course, the title track.
For Rose, the role of Maria is a dream come true.
“I grew up with ‘The Sound of Music’ and remember the first time I saw the movie,” she recalled. “And Julie Andrews, if I ever had an icon or star, a hero of mine, it would be her. This role is one of those bucket-list kind of roles.”
It’s also a demanding one.
“There’s a lot going on,” Rose noted, “and every moment I’m offstage I’m changing and getting ready for the next scene, so there’s not much downtime for Maria.”
In life, there’s not much downtime for Rose, who sings in the symphonic metal band Ophelia Falling when not acting on stage.
“We’ve been together since 2017, so five years-ish,” she reported. “It’s something I love to do, and the goal of the band is world domination, according to my guitar player,” she said with a laugh.
“It’s very difficult, actually, to split my time and my passion between theatre and acting and the band,” Rose continued. “I sometimes feel iike I have a split personality. I’ll be playing a big metal gig at the Rickshaw Theatre until one in the morning, then the next morning I’m doing a children’s play, playing a sasquatch — yes, that actually happened,” she laughed.
Rose plays a sasquatch in Axis Theatre’s “Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish,” a “deliciously dark Kwantlen First Nations fable” that played Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre just prior to the pandemic, in February 2020.
”I’ve worked with Axis Theatre over the past six years doing a few projects, including that one,” Rose explained. “We filmed it and it’s gone on tour again, and this is the first year I’m not involved in it, with a new cast.”
As for Ophelia Falling, the band rehearses every Monday, even with Rose’s commitments to “The Sound of Music” production.
Last fall at the Stanley, Rose was among cast members in “Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol,” and now returns to star in a large-cast production of “The Sound of Music,” directed by Ashlie Corcoran, who was born and raised in White Rock and is the artistic director of the Arts Club company.
It’s Corcoran’s second time directing the show, first staged by the Arts Club in the fall of 2019.
“This is one of the most beloved musicals of all time and one of my most favourite productions to work on,” Corcoran said. “I am thrilled that we will be once again celebrating the festive season with this piece and am so excited to be working with this extraordinary team.”
Elsewhere, other Arts Club shows this month include “Mom’s The Word: Talkin’ Turkey” comedy at the Granville Island stage. At BMO Theatre Centre, the new “Me Love Bingo!: Best in Snow” sure sounds like a fun “immersive” show that spins “the ol’-timey game of luck into an unexpected journey filled with guest performances, silly prizes, and nuanced storytelling. Join your drag-clad host, Kyle Loven, and his pals for a reality-blurring experience of community and camp.”