Isaiah McAleese has a passion for performance.
Oceanside residents may recognize the nine-year-old from his role as Jimmy Glover in Bard to Broadway’s Anne of Green Gables this past summer, his solos in Parksville Ballet School’s Christmas Crackers last year or his performances in Oliver Twist and Treasure Island in the local after school theatre programs.
Although he has been acting publicly for about three years —a nd singing and dancing — his grandmother said he’s been entertaining family with his brother Noah for even longer.
“They used to put on performances for us every night,” said Iris Kessler, explaining the boys lived with her and her husband for three years. “Isaiah would initiate (the shows), be the director, producer and write it up in his little books. And he’d pull out a guitar and this and that and just improvise the whole thing … and it was just amazing.”
McAleese moved to the area from Invermere, B.C. about three years ago and enrolled in a summer theatre program. He said he loved it because it allowed him to be himself and have fun while burning off some energy.
He also loves to sing so he joined a couple of choirs, and his love for dance now has him enrolled in jazz, tap, ballet and musical theatre at Parksville Ballet School.
He’d like to add hip hop to the list as well, he said.
Having played roles both big and small already in his young career, McAleese wasn’t sure if there is one he prefers.
“I like them both,” he said.
“Because when you’re in the smaller parts and have a big voice people are like ‘Oh my gosh look at him’ … and when you’re in the bigger parts you’re more noticed.”
One thing he does know for sure however, is when he gets on stage he feels comfortable, capable and “very, very excited.” As his grandmother put it “something takes over” and he “just blossoms.”
McAleese listed a few late celebrities that he looks up to, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, but it was easier for him to come up with a local idol, fellow B2B actor David Matthews, who played Mathhew Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables.
“He’s funny and he’s very intelligent and a good singer and dancer,” he said.
Although McAleese was sure he’d be trying out for a role in Bard to Broadway’s next big production, he wasn’t so sure about becoming a glamorous Hollywood star.
“I don’t want to be too big of a celebrity,” he said. “I don’t want the crowds to be taking pictures of me every few seconds.”
Plus, he may just want to become a race car driver or a hip hop dancer when he grows up, he said.
But in the meantime Oceanside residents may recognize a young boy on our local stages, filled with passion and enthusiasm, and tip their hats to Isaiah McAleese.