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12-year-old triple threat takes stage in Mary Poppins

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Long-time performer Jenesa Lee starred as Pinocchio in Pinocchio.

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Long-time performer Jenesa Lee starred as Pinocchio in Pinocchio. Photo Store

Jenesa Lee is one of only two kids in the upcoming production of Mary Poppins at Rainbow Stage from Aug. 9 to 29.

It’s a well-earned opportunity — the 12-year-old girl has spent most of her life practicing her craft.

"She’s been in the last three years of the St. James Divisional Musical Theatre. That is for Grades 4 to 8 through the (St. James — Assiniboia) School Division. She’s been dancing for nine years. And she’s been taking private voice for two years," Jenesa’s mother, Christine Lee, said.

That’s quite an impressive resumé, but Jenesa also had other things to worry about other than acting, singing, and dancing.

"I’ve been in the school system for a long time, and it used to be where they recognized positive things that happened to kids. She was made to feel like she shouldn’t say anything because of all the mean girl stuff going on," Lee said.

"There used to be texting stuff going on at school, and people trying to impersonate me on Instagram. And then people were bullying me and starting rumours about me," Jenesa explained.

For Jenesa, performing is an outlet from the negativity.

"It’s what I really like to do in life. Singing and dancing and acting are what I do pretty much every single day, all day," Jenesa said.

Recently, Jenesa auditioned for Rainbow Stage’s production of Mary Poppins.

"She’s Jane Banks in Mary Poppins, and there’s only two kids in the whole show," Lee beamed. "It’s quite a huge part because the two kids are onstage pretty much the whole show other than a couple of costume changes. And it is kind of special for her because her private vocal coach, Paula Potosky, got the lead role of Mary.

"The morning I told her she got it, she kind of smiled and then she asked if Paula got in because she was so excited to do it with her," Lee said.

"We really got to know each other and now she’s more than just my vocal coach. She’s more like a friend to me and my family now," Jenesa said.

Other divisional musical theatre productions in which Jenesa has participated include the lead role in Pinocchio, as well as parts in productions of Music Man, Honk, and a school production of 101 Dalmations, playing a wide variety of unique characters.

Jenesa enjoyed playing Amaryllis in Music Man because "I just liked being able to be a girl and be able to sort of be funny."

"Next year, they’ve already casted Jenesa as Flounder in The Little Mermaid," Lee said.

For more information about Mary Poppins, or for ticket prices, call 204-989-0888 or visit rainbowstage.ca

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