Acting is nothing new for Richmondite Linda Leong Sum, but her first foray into a mainstream non-musical production will see her playing a 65-year-old Thai immigrant sitting in a lawn chair atop the roof of a Las Vegas wedding chapel in search of UFOs.
Leong Sum will star in the upcoming Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre play The Theory of Everything at the Roundhouse Theatre in Vancouver Jan. 9 to 12.
"It's about a group of characters coming together and they all have their issues. It's a very interesting slice of life," said Leong Sum, 49, who first took to the stage in high school musical theatre in the 1980s. She took a long break from theatre but rediscovered it again in 2004 when she moved to Richmond and signed up for a part in Gateway Theatre's King and I with her two children.
"I saw an audition notice and it was a show I was interested in," she said. " I've always loved musical theatre. It was a fun thing to do, and I thought it was a good way to get my kids involved."
It worked - her kids who are 15 and 16 are also partial to the performing arts; one attended the academy program at Gateway. Leong Sum, a former lawyer and currently the human rights coordinator at Langara college, credits the local theatre company for offering opportunities to actors of all backgrounds and experiences to grow their careers. She performed there again in 2011 in The Forbidden Phoenix.
Performing two or three times a year at various venues (Leong Sum is a member of the Broadway Chorus theatrical troupe) she said she has been fortunate to have played a variety of roles that aren't always the stereotypical Asian immigrant.
"I've played a Cockney-English-accented woman," she said, adding a lot of companies are now engaged in colour-blind casting.
You can catch Leong Sum in The Theory of Everything at the Roundhouse starting Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 adults and $10 students/seniors. Visit vact.ca for more information.