Vancouver's Shannon Chan-Kent has already racked up plenty of credits as a voice actor — including for playing the singing voice of Pinkie Pie in the animated series My Little Pony — but she is hoping her latest stage performance will open the door to more roles in opera and musical theatre.
Chan-Kent is the only local actor with a starring role in the Vancouver Opera's production of Evita at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which opens April 30 and runs until May 8.
"My dream was to always be on Broadway. Broadway, the West End. I just want to be working. If I can do it here, if I can do it in Toronto, if I can do it in LA, New York," said Chan-Kent who plays the role of Argentine president Juan Perón's mistress.
Chan-Kent, who will sing the song Another Suitcase in Another Hall during the performance, previously starred in Avenue Q with the Arts Club Theatre Company.
She said she been singing for as long as she can remember, and her first solo performance was in grade one.
"I just knew I wanted to sing. I started taking singing lessons when I was about 11, and I just haven't stopped since."
Stars in 'My Little Pony', 'Care Bears'
Chan-Kent got her first gig as a voice actor when she was 14. She plays one of the voices of the character Pinkie Pie in the popular animated series My Little Pony, and has also lent her voice to various other animated productions — Care Bears, Barbie and Littlest Pet Shop.
She has a master's degree in opera from UBC, where she found a passion for the arts.
"I didn't expect to fall in love with opera and classical music as much as I did," she said. "My reasoning also for going the classical route is I just thought it's some of the hardest things you can possibly sing, and classical music is, I just figured if I could sing that I could sing anything."
However, she said it has been challenging to straddle the worlds of opera and musical theatre.
"If I'm honest, it's been really tough. I think there is a stigma between the opera world and the musical theatre world, and I feel like I can sing both, and I feel like I would love to be able to sing both.
"But a lot of people think if you're an opera singer then you're not good for musical theatre and vice versa."
Chan-Kent said she appreciates the opportunity to work with a number of Broadway stars in Evita.
"I'm so grateful. Oh man, everyday I come here I'm in awe of everyone's work ethic, I'm in awe of everyone's voices. I pinch myself every time I'm here."
With files from CBC's The Early Edition
To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Vancouver voice actor brings her singing chops to Vancouver Opera's 'Evita'