You may have seen her last summer when she stole the show in the leading role of Ariel in Rainbow Stage’s acclaimed production of The Little Mermaid.
Or you may have seen her on TV in CBC’s production of Over the Rainbow with Andrew Lloyd Weber.
Or was it around town, in one of her many performances with the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, that you saw vocalist Colleen Furlan?
You can see her again this summer as she returns to Rainbow Stage once more in the feature role of Cosette in Les Miserables.
It’s a production Furlan’s very familiar with, having previously played the main character of Jean Valjean in Balmoral Hall’s all-female version of Les Mis. Furlan says playing a male lead was a challenge.
Furlan says, “I had to pay attention to various male characteristics and attributes that I thought Jean Valjean would have whilst still trying to look natural on stage. As Valjean ages throughout the show it was an added challenge to play a man at different stages of his life.”
She added that despite the challenge it was an eye-opening experience and she was grateful for being allowed to play an iconic role at such a young age.
She’s rapidly becoming a regular at Rainbow Stage. Prior to last year’s Little Mermaid showstopper, she appeared in their 2013 production of Mary Poppins. And later this summer she’ll appear again as Sister Mary Robert in the hilarious Sister Act.
When she’s not performing at Rainbow Stage, Furlan is very busy with other projects.
In addition to fronting the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra she also sings with the University of Manitoba Singers and toured Eastern Europe with them last spring. In Hungary and Serbia they performed in various cities and towns where they sometimes joined up with local choirs.
And, in addition to all this, she will soon be entering her final year at the U of M’s Desautels Faculty of Music.
After graduation, Furlan is planning to make a full-time career in music and theatre, both in Winnipeg and nationwide. Her goal is to eventually perform on Broadway.
She’s also a keen dancer. She does hip-hop, jazz, lyrical and ballet, but her main passion is Scottish Highland dance, at which she excels.
The style is close to home for Furlan; her mother is the principal instructor at the McGregor Studio of Highland Dance. Every summer for the past seventeen years, Colleen Furlan and her mother have spent time in Scotland successfully competing in various Highland Games. She was invited to compete at the Royal Braemar Highland Gathering for Her Majesty the Queen. There, Furlan presented the Queen with flowers; they met again here in Winnipeg a few years later when she danced a solo performance for Her Majesty at the Forks.
Watch for her in Les Mis. It runs from July 9 – 24.