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Mona Vale's musical mother and daughter

Think local

In the footsteps of Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, Melanie Griffith and Dakota Johnson, and Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, comes a Northern Beaches mother and daughter team treading the boards with grace and pizzazz.

Tracy Sharpe and 15-year-old daughter Ella-Jane of Mona Vale recently performed side by side in a theatre production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Zenith Theatre in Chatswood.

But unlike the aforementioned Hollywood starlets, it's actually the teen, Ella-Jane, who can boast to be the veteran of the family.

As Peninsula Living found out, it was Tracy's "first time doing anything like that".

"EJ [Ella-Jane] was already a part of the production, and then I got asked to take the role of Mrs Mackready for no other reason than they needed somebody with an English accent" Tracy laughs.

"They said to me 'Do you fancy it? and I said 'No, not at all' but ended up doing it anyway."

In stark contrast, Ella-Jane has been in musical theatre for more than two years and has been singing for five under the tutelage of the brilliant Erana Clark.

In the Chatswood Musical Society's production of the C.S. Lewis classic, the Oxford Falls Grammar student was cast in one of the leading roles as Susan, which included singing solos and acting.

"It was a challenge because I've done a lot of singing and musical theatre but it was a big acting part as well," Ella-Jane reveals.

The fact that both Sharpes featured in the musical came as a huge shock to their friends watching on.

"I didn't tell anyone I was doing it," Tracy smiles.

"I just kept that as a surprise, and it was - no one expected me to come out on stage let alone first."

Ella-Jane gave her mum thumbs up for her debut performance, which Tracy says will be her one and only foray into the arts.

"No, I can't see that happening again - those nine lines were enough," she smiles.

But it did give her a firsthand insight into her daughter’s world.

"I was really proud watching her do The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe actually, because I knew that was a real challenge with the acting. To see her grow from when she first went into the production, to how she was when she was finished on stage made me really proud.

"And she works very hard.

She's always on the piano or playing guitar or going to dance or drama or musical theatre."

Tracy also learnt that it isn't as easy as Ella-Jane makes it seem.

“At first you think it's a bit of fun and then when you realise that they're selling tickets for $40, you think 'Right, I've really got to do this now’," she tells Peninsula Living.

"Before when [Ella-Jane) was nervous I would say 'Just get on and do it, it's fine - don't be so silly'. But when you walk out and there are all these people staring at you, yeah, I finally understood where she was coming from!"

The family moved to the peninsula from Bristol in the UK four years ago, and most of their relatives including Ella-Jane's older brother and sister are still scattered around England.

As far as Tracy can recall, Ella-Jane is the only singer in the family tree, but music is definitely in the blood.

“In my family, my mum was a ballerina, and my father played the drums and my eldest daughter is very musical in that she plays the drums, guitar and piano but nobody sings so we don't know where that comes from,” Tracy explains.

Ella-Jane is now looking forward to travelling to Boston in the US for a six-week camp at the Berklee College of Music.

To pay for the trip, Ella-Jane has been busking at Manly Corso every Sunday. With just her voice and a keyboard, the motivated performer has already raised approximately $700.

So if you're down at the Corso on a Sunday, take some time to appreciate the talent of this future Broadway star.


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