Majestic Repertory Theatre has a secret weapon, and she’s 5-foot-9 without heels. Dancer, singer, burlesque performer and former Jubilee! showgirl Kady Heard has worked toward becoming a top-tier entertainer since she was a little kid. “My mom knew that if I wanted to be a performer past high school, I needed to be a triple threat,” Heard says. “So she worked on voice lessons with me, and I took some acting here and there, and of course, was in dance every moment of my life.”
Two days after Halloween, Heard is still dressed for the season as we sit outside Makers & Finders coffee shop. Her long green nails and dark lipstick are perfect for her other gig: tour guide at Zac Bagans’ Haunted Museum.
When she was young, My Fair Lady transfixed her, and Eliza Doolittle was her hero. “She was like a Disney Princess to me,” Heard says. Years of dance classes led her to Oklahoma City University’s dance program, where Heard’s professors recommended she try out as a Las Vegas showgirl. “Originally I wanted to be a ballerina, but when you pass 5-7 you’re way too tall. That’s why Vegas was perfect for me.”
Heard packed her life into two suitcases and moved cross country to work as a Jubilee! showgirl for two years before she left to freelance. It was then that she met Troy Heard, now her husband and director of Majestic Repertory Theatre. The couple just celebrated their six-year wedding anniversary in October, and Kady has played an integral role in the Downtown theater company since its 2016 launch.
“Troy does throws ideas at me all the time,” she says. “We’ll be sitting on the couch, and he’ll say, ‘What do you think about so-and-so as this character?’ Or ‘What do you think about doing this show but set in this completely different time period?’” When she isn’t brainstorming ideas with her husband, she’s likely to assist with the theater’s visuals, or freelance for other entertainment companies who need performers and dancers. Last year, she joined forces with friend Kim Amblad to form Strawberry Moon Entertainment, the company behind bi-monthly burlesque show Tease & Tails, which will host a Nutcracker-themed event in December.
When asked why she’d add yet more to her plate, Heard says she just loves the feeling of being onstage. “Burlesque accepts whatever you are. It doesn’t discriminate,” she says. Whether it’s taking people on ghost tours, leading them through a haunted mansion or performing as a Cabaret Kit Kat Girl, it’s about being able embody a character, to truly come alive. “I love the freedom to express me—exactly what I’m feeling in that moment.”