"I've always been dramatic," says Selaney "Laney" Yancey, 16.
When she was six, Laney was cast as the lead in a church Christmas production. Mid-performance, while she was onstage, her mic fell off. She was stunned but then made a joke and carried on as the audience laughed. "I remember I liked the way that felt," she says.
Ten years later, Laney is a junior at McCracken County High School, where she continues to perform. Her day revolves around drama, from first hour drama class to after-school rehearsals at MainStage School of Performing Arts. She is playing Audrey in their production of "Little Shop of Horrors." Laney loves the whole story that comes with musical theater. She has always loved stories, books having been her first love. "I would lose myself in the story," she says.
For Laney, theater has been therapeutic, helping her to deal with a teenager's need to fit in, to find identity. Though she has struggled with the quiet that comes at night with nothing to distract her mind, now, she says, "at the end of the day, I feel pleased that I could take on the day. I'm proud." She says theater has helped her not only become a better actor, but also a better person. "I had to find my own home, not in other people but in myself," she says. "Theater helped me do that; it created this whole safe space."
Laney's dream? New York University to study musical theater. "I want to give entertainment to people," she says.