Published on March 31st, 2018 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Tracey Bell
Tracey Bell has been entertaining corporate and public audiences for over 30 years as an award-winning celebrity impersonator.
Known for her performances as Madonna, Cher, Liza Minnelli, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Celine Dion, Dolly Parton, and more, Tracey Bell will be performing at Celebrities Nightclub in Vancouver on April 6th for a new public show, A Dozen Divas.
We talked to Tracey Bell about her illustrious career and what to expect from her new show.
Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and how you got started in the entertainment world?
I’m a dynamic entertainment entrepreneur and also a big kid playing dress-up and make-believe. From the age of 20, I’ve made my living as a performer in an unconventional way. I’m my own producer, manager, promoter, costume designer and roadie. The other 5% of the time I get to be the star. I’m self-employed, creating one-woman shows, mostly for corporate audiences.
It all started when I was checking coats at a night club in Edmonton. I was in my third year of university and had two other part-time jobs. The staff at the club performed onstage, so I did a Tina Turner routine for fun. Within a few weeks, I was performing as Marilyn Monroe, Cher and Liza Minnelli. The club hired me to perform every night, so I happily dropped out of school and quit the other jobs. Then I moved to Calgary and started my own business; travelling and performing at corporate events, private parties, shopping malls, fairs, exhibitions, street festivals and clubs.
You have a new show coming up in Vancouver. What can audiences expect from this?
I’m performing a fast-paced, high-energy comedy impersonation show. I’ll change in seconds in a style that’s similar to what you see in a magician’s show. I’m impersonating more than a dozen different celebrities from the present and the past 7 decades, performing short versions of their top hits. I stay in character as the stars, joking in stand-up comedy style as well as interacting with the audience like improv comedians do. I bring audience members up onstage and inspire them to be superstars with me. It’s a really fun show.
What kind of preparation is involved with your work?
Doing research, writing, editing tracks, rehearsing, sourcing wigs and having them styled, designing costumes and having them made, practicing costume changes, figuring out logistics, travelling, prepping the stage, rehearsing with the sound and light technicians, hydrating, eating like an athlete and putting on a ton of make-up.
What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
I love getting audiences to laugh and have fun. I enjoy connecting with people and inspiring them to lighten up, be playful and shine.
“In my career, I’m going to follow my creative heart.”
How do you choose the celebrities you impersonate?
I choose famous women who are widely recognized by different generations and have strong personalities as well as distinct styles.
What has been your favourite moment so far as an entertainer?
I’m supposed to say it’s when I won my awards or performed for billionaires or on The X-Files or with Hilary Swank, but that wouldn’t be telling the truth.
My favorite moment happens onstage, when I’m having fun, playing in character, and I say or do something unplanned that gets a huge, unexpected laugh and surprises me as much as the audience.
What’s the biggest misconception about celebrity impersonators?
Maybe people think that impersonators are obsessed with the stars, or have multiple personality disorders or lack their own personalities. I can’t speak for other impersonators, we’re all different, but my goal is to engage the audience and entertain them, not be an exact replica. I work at being a more approachable version of the stars.
I’m putting a lot of my own personality into the characters I portray.
What books and authors have been influential in your career so far?
The Artist’s Way and A Course in Miracles have helped the most. I still go back to those two for inspiration and motivation. I’ve also read some performers’ autobiographies.
What are your future plans?
In my career, I’m going to follow my creative heart. I’m having fun producing new routines and improving my classic acts. I’m trying new things. I’m experimenting. The show’s a work in progress.
Where can we find out more about you and the show?
Thanks to Tracey Bell for speaking with us!
Tracey Bell performs in Vancouver on April 6th at Celebrities Nightclub. For more information, please visit TraceyBell.com.