MUSICAL theatre student Gracie Lai has seen her dreams come true after winning a part in a top musical.
The 24-year-old, who grew up in Portsmouth and attended Mayfield School in North End, will play the part of Liat in South Pacific.
Gracie was accepted to the Performance Preparation Academy (PPA) in Guildford, where she carried out her musical theatre training.
She said she is thrilled to have got the part in South Pacific.
‘It feels amazing to have been given this role,’ she said.
‘I never would have expected to be cast in a lead role so soon so I feel very lucky to have this opportunity.
‘I was very surprised when I got the news that I had been chosen and didn’t quite believe it at first.’
Gracie only became a fan of musicals at the age of 16 when her school put on a production of Oliver!.
‘I wasn’t one of the lucky girls who have been dancing since a young age but as soon as I was introduced to the world of musical theatre I was hooked,’ she said.
‘I knew from then on there was nothing else I wanted to do so I started auditioning for drama schools and tried year after year after year.
‘I never gave up, I knew it was something I had to do.
‘I suppose I am a little nervous. But I have a very supportive cast who have been incredibly helpful and I know I am prepared for the industry thanks to the training I was given at PPA.
‘It’s nearly a completely sold out run so there will be a lot of people watching - I just hope I don’t disappoint anyone.’
South Pacific is an epic, Tony Award-winning musical which starred legendary Broadway actress Mary Martin.
It tells the story of an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during the Second World War who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed race children.
And Gracie said she has had a lot of support from her loved ones. ‘My family and friends have been incredibly supportive and are very excited for me,’ she said.
‘It really helps to have people who believe in you around you,’ she said.
‘It gives you the confidence and self-belief that is hard to maintain for a performer.
‘So I appreciate the friends I keep because they help in more ways than they know.’
Gracie has been rehearsing for two weeks now and the show opens at Kilworth House Theatre in Leicestershire on Friday, May 30.