The lights of Broadway will soon shine brightly on a Prince Rupert performer.
Kimberly Truong is trading her quiet hometown of Prince Rupert for the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple as she pursues her dreams of life on the big stage.
Earlier this month, Truong was announced as a cast member in the revival of the upcoming Broadway play, Miss Saigon. It’s a huge step towards her career dreams for the 23-year-old.
“It’s hard to explain how much it means. It’s everything I worked for, but the excitement to be able to tell my family that I’m going to Broadway for this show that is about where we come from and everything my family has gone through is really exciting,” Truong said.
The play resembles her family’s history because they are Vietnamese. Her parents were “boat people”, which is a term that refers to refugees who left their country by sea — particularly the Vietnamese after the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam in 1975. Miss Saigon tells the story of a Vietnamese woman who falls in love with an American soldier during the Vietnam war.
Truong is cast as one of the Vietnamese girls in the ensemble, singing songs that bring back memories of her childhood.
“I am eager and hungry and ready to work. Everything I learned here at (Dance Academy of Prince Rupert) growing up, all my hard work, to always shoot for the stars and the sky is the limit, that’s what I was always told here and at home. I want to go there and show that,” she said.
Her path to Broadway did start at the Dance Academy of Prince Rupert (DAPR) under the tutelage of Teresa Mackereth. Truong started dancing when she was four-years-old because she was always dancing around the house anyway. Mackereth and Truong’s experience at DAPR are still big influences for her success so far.
“The training here is what got me into school. If I didn’t dance with Teresa and work so hard here, there is no way I would have gotten into school and there is no way I would have gotten in with my agency and auditioned for this,” Truong said.
After graduating Charles Hays Secondary School in 2011, she went to Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario to study musical theatre. Ever since completing the four-year degree program there, Truong has been in various productions. She took her dancing, acting and singing skills to Winnipeg to perform West Side Story, then she played Jasmine in Aladdin at the St. Jacobs Playhouse Theatre in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario. She also did a long contract at the Stratford Festival.
Other things the young star has done include being a lead singer at Canada’s Wonderland for a summer, dancing in a show on Prince Edward Island for a summer and performing in Les Misérable in Cambridge, Ontario.
Clearly, this isn’t Truong’s first venture into the show business, but it’s Broadway. She said she doesn’t usually get nervous for auditions, but this one was different.
“It wasn’t just for me, it was for my family and everyone that knows me knows how much this piece means to me. My singing was awful, because I was shaking,” she recalls with a laugh.
The audition process started last summer and took a long time for her to find out if she was in the show. But when her agency called and gave her the good news, she was floored.
Miss Saigon firms up Truong’s path for at least the next year. She moved to New York at the beginning of the year and will be there until next January, when the play ends. The curtain opens on the performance in March.
Despite the excitement of where her life has taken her, the Prince Rupert native makes it clear this community will always be home to her.
“Home is always where you leave everything you love but you have no doubts that it will always be there when you come back and that’s what Rupert is for me,” Truong said.
She feels humbled knowing she went from a town of 13,000 to a city of more than 8.4 million. It makes her grateful for everything Rupert gave her.
The future is bright for Truong. If all goes well, she will eventually make her way into living rooms all over North America on TV shows and movies. But for now, she is determined to make herself, her family, her dance family and the City of Prince Rupert proud in her first Broadway show.