Stage Presence

DATE: Wednesday, February 23, 2022

'My HCC Story' – Marcelle Dion LaBrecque '16

Marcelle LaBrecque

"I started at HCC as a music education major, with the intention of transferring to a Massachusetts program to become a choir teacher. Ultimately, I decided to focus on musical theater and went to New York City. Private instruction gave me my footing in the industry, which led to several film and TV opportunities, nightlife and cabaret bookings, as well as many meet-and-greets and private events. 

During my time at HCC, I leaned heavily on people in the theater program and in Student Activities, in particular Mary Starzyck in the Fine & Performing Arts office, who pushed me to audition for the music and theater departments, my English teacher Laura Schlegel, who supported me after my parents and I had a falling out, and Lauren LeClair and Elizabeth Golen in Student Activities, who gave me wings and a place to feel authentically myself.  

HCC really provided such a supporting and nurturing environment, which allowed me to explore my gender and sexual identity with other queer and trans/non-binary folk. When I expressed interest in moving to New York to pursue a career in performing arts I was met with nothing but support and encouragement. 

Last year, I auditioned for the role of Lola/Simon for the Festival Players Summer 2022 production of "Kinky Boots," in Cambridge, England. The story follows the character Charlie Price, who inherits a failing shoe factory and needs a new product to save the family business. Charlie meets Lola, a larger than life drag queen, and the two band together to create "built-to-last high-heeled boots for women who are men" to save the business. In the end, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different. 

I'd already had a bit of success performing "Land of Lola," the opening song from the show. I decided to give it a shot and auditioned with the creative team over Zoom. I think they saw how much Lola and myself were one and the same. To be honest, I didn't have to do much when it came to "acting." A few hours later, I got the email saying I'd booked the role. I was in hysterics.  

I've worked so hard over the years on my theatrical training and to cultivate a successful drag persona. It's been a long time coming, and I'm so honored to have been chosen to tackle such an iconic role. 

I continue to receive messages of support from HCC alumni commending me for chasing this insane dream that I thought was only that. A dream. And now it's a reality, and I have to thank each and every person who gave me a kind word, a hug, or wish of success. 

I fly to England in April for rehearsals."

On stage, HCC alum Marcelle Dion LaBrecque '16 goes by the name Marilyn Monhoe. 

PHOTOS by DANNY BRISTOL: Marcelle Dion LaBrecque '16