Angelina Robertson has big shoes to fill.
Auditioning her way into the role of Esther Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis – a role made famous by the legendary Judy Garland – the 15-year-old Langford resident takes to the stage soon in the Victoria Operatic Society’s rendition of the classic broadway musical.
“Her voice is like she is channelling, because it’s spot-on for Judy Garland. It’s quite amazing,” director Chris Moss said of Robertson. “I kept expecting her to run around in ruby slippers and say ‘Aunty Em, Aunty Em.’ She is fantastic in the role.”
Adapted from the 1944 feature film of the same name, Meet Me sees Robertson belt out such well-known classic tunes as the “Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
“Her voice … has a certain edge beautiful and clear and the right look to match with other characters and family,” said Moss, who is involved in his fourth VOS musical. “She’s a great little singer. She is learning quickly and takes direction quickly.”
Robertson, who went through extensive auditions to land the role, described the show as a classic romantic comedy set on the backdrop of St. Louis leading up to the World Fair of 1904. The play spotlights four sisters and their journey through the ups and downs of love, where Robertson had the opportunity to don clothing her grandparents might have considered classic.
“(Our) era is so different than theirs. The way you speak is completely different,” she said. “It’s a big jump from 2015 to 1904. It’s kind of cool being in that time, an era (many) would never know … it was cool to see.”
A veteran of Kaleidoscope and Blue Bridge Theatre, and Saltwater Creative Arts studio, Robertson said she challenged herself by tackling a role and a performance she knew would be hard to live up to.
“Getting the chance to play the role is such an honour … it was nerve-wracking to play, (but) I love it so much,” she said. “I think that everyone should try to come out to see it. The music is awesome, the dancing is phenomenal; it’s a great show.”
Meet Me in St. Louis runs from Dec. 4 to 13 at the McPherson Playhouse in Victoria. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit vos.bc.ca.