Alyssa Bryce is a princess.
Donning flowing wigs and colourful, cartoon-like costumes, she transforms herself into an ice princess, a mermaid princess or even a bow-wielding, red-headed Scottish princess.
While Bryce enjoys working weekends at Storybook Princess Parties, the Colwood resident hopes to take her passion for musical theatre from the backyards of Greater Victoria to the packed houses of New York.
“My ultimate goal is definitely Broadway, there is no doubt about that,” the University of Victoria theatre student said. “I have tried doing auditions for film and even considered working in Disneyland, but I realized I don’t want any distractions from my true passion.”
Bryce recalls a story her grandmother tells of when she was just two. Lounging in the pews during a church performance, the toddler marched up to centre stage to belt out her own rendition of Jesus Loves Me in front of the surprised crowd. She doesn’t remember it herself, but suggested it could be foreshadowing for today, where randomly breaking into song at the family home isn’t the exception, it is the rule.
“My family has been very into theatre,” she said.
“We’ve been a musical family and I always sing around the house. We have a karaoke machine, and if I don’t get my homework done it’s because we have karaoke … (Music) is in our blood and it is our family in general.”
Musicianship is a family affair in Bryce’s household. Her mother, Kelly Charleen, is coming off an ensemble performance with Kaleidoscope Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors, and her younger sister performs alongside Bryce at Storybook Princess Parties, which is the family business.
On the advice of her voice coach, Bryce entered a senior category earlier this year at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, despite being underage. She wound up winning and was invited to the associated honours concert, where she secured a spot in the provincials in Powell River. There she also won her division in musical theatre.
“(Alyssa) is someone that has the natural talent and ability … and as a singing actor she has a one of those really unique, exciting belt voices,” her coach Joanne Hounsell said. “Her voice is very special. It’s a big voice and an exciting sound and whenever you hear it, you say, ‘gosh she’s going all the way.’”
Also the operator of Saltwater Creative Arts in Victoria, Hounsell said Bryce comes to life on stage. There’s a vulnerability in the young performer that helps carry her acting, alongside her growing singing arsenal.
“To follow the idea of a dream is that … it has to be something that you couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Hounsell said. “She is young, but that is so evident and clear (with her).”
Bryce’s resume includes stints with Four Seasons Musical Theatre, Kaleidoscope Theatre and Saltwater, going back to when she was 12. She plans to major in acting at the University of Victoria and hopes to move to Toronto before eventually making the trek to the Big Apple.
“Something is powerful about music. It is a monologue you are reciting, except with music. It is the most amazing thing I was blessed with, so I want to keep working harder so I can improve even more,” she said. “I picture my life going on and I cannot picture my life without New York or Broadway in my career. It (would) devastate me to not have that.”