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The Northern Ireland teen who’s thrilling Broadway with her big stage debut at age of 18

Published 05/05/2016

Una Morrison gets a standing ovation after her performance at the Davenport Theatre in New York on Tuesday night
Una Morrison gets a standing ovation after her performance at the Davenport Theatre in New York on Tuesday night
On her way: Una Morrison

A Londonderry girl has wowed Broadway... at the tender age of 18.

Una Morrison made her big stage debut this week, singing The Secret of Happiness to a packed house at the Davenport Theatre in New York.

The St Cecilia's pupil got her chance to bring the curtain down at the end of the popular musical Daddy Long Legs after winning the Amercian-based talent competition Give A Girl A Chance - beating more than 200 other hopefuls worldwide.

And she rose to the big occasion, earning rave reviews and a standing ovation for a faultless, nerveless display.

Una, who has been taking acting and singing lessons since she was six, took to social media to relay her excitement at a potentially life-changing Big Apple debut. "Today is gonna be the best day of my life. I'm making my debut at Davenport Theatre and I'm super excited," she wrote.

When Una, who is studying Performing Arts at the North West Regional College, found out in April that she'd won the competition, she had to keep the news to herself for a full day before telling anyone because of competition rules.

"That was the hardest part of all," she said.

"I really want to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me, the support has been amazing.

"People voted so much that I was told by the organiser that I had so many votes there was no way anybody could've caught up with me." In an online video Una, from Hazelbank, added that her New York starring role was a dream come true. "I can't believe I won the Give A Girl Her Chance contest and given the opportunity to perform at the Davenport Theatre in New York City," she said. "I've always wanted to go to New York, and now being given the opportunity to perform there on stage is just overwhelming."

A past pupil of the Foyle School of Speech and Drama, Una has a passion for musical theatre and has appeared on stage in her home town several times.

Tony award-winning Daddy Long Legs producer Ken Davenport said he was overwhelmed by the worldwide interest in the competition and added that Una fully deserved her big moment.

"I never imagined this competition would spread so far that a young woman from Northern Ireland would win," he said.

"We are thrilled to fly Una to New York to give her the chance she deserves."

Una's brother Paul posted a message of Twitter to wish her luck as well as to give her some words of caution.

"Wish I was in New York tonight to see my wee sister perform on Broadway - better not mess it up," he wrote. She didn't.

by claire mcneilly

Belfast Telegraph

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