(Angel Lin is second from left, holding the guitar.)

A single mother and a Dublin street musician are the main characters of “ONCE”, a musical coming to Charlotte April 1-3 at Belk Theater. But the person who may have helped fuel the fire in the characters’ special friendship is ‘Emcee’, the owner of the Irish pub they both frequent. Though Emcee has been primarily played by a man, this tour welcomes a woman by the name of Angel Lin.

Angel Lin got her musical start as a classically trained pianist at a very young age. As she got older, she joined her middle school band, and sang in the choir, which melded into musical theater in high school. That led her to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she earned a BFA in Theater and a minor in Game Design. (We’ll explain the Game Design later.) While there, she became a member of The NYU Reality Show, a sketch comedy group that performs annually for the incoming freshman class. “We worked together over the summer to write this entire musical sketch comedy show and it talks about living in New York, being a student, mental and physical health while in college and just health and wellness in general. So that was one of the experiences that helped shape me as a performer,” explains Angel.

A native New Yorker, Angel also spent many years in Shanghai, China, where both of her parents are from. “During the school year, I’d go to school in Shanghai then fly back to New York for the summer. So it was a lot of back and forth. But I enjoyed reconnecting with my family in China but then coming back to all of my close friends here in the states.”

In “ONCE”, Angel’s character ‘Emcee’ also serves as a motivator for one of the main characters to follow his passion. When asked about the show, Angel says, “Expect to be transported and swept away by music. The show features a group of acting musicians playing our own instruments. It’s hard to describe because being able to hear and see all this unfold on stage in that way is unique.”

Also unique to “ONCE” is a preshow event offered that allows the audience members to come on stage and get drinks from the bar (it’s an actual working bar). While patrons admire the set, the cast comes out to sing a few Irish and Czech songs.

Though Angel is musically inclined and performing is her career, she is a self-proclaimed geek and loves the world of gaming and comic books (which is why she chose that as a minor in college.). “I’m a huge nerd! And I like proclaiming that because it’s something that has inspired me to go into performing. Gaming and comic books are such a form of storytelling and I think everyone who is creative has something that inspires them.” She absolutely wears that badge on her sleeve and encourages others to do the same. “So many people are embarrassed about their passions and being fans of things and they really shouldn’t. Don’t shy away from it. Embrace it!”

During the month of March, Angel has embraced the Disneybound Challenge, which requires one to dress like a different Disney character everyday. To see her fashion and character choices, follow her on Instagram @angelseesthings and on Twitter @AngelSaysThings.

For more information on “ONCE”, visit www.blumenthalperformingarts.com.

Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus.