Singer and actor Lexi Lawson at rehearsal ahead of tomorrow night’s fundraising concert for young Bonnie O’Neill at the Maclean Services Club.
Singer and actor Lexi Lawson at rehearsal ahead of tomorrow night’s fundraising concert for young Bonnie O’Neill at the Maclean Services Club. Adam Hourigan

Lexi stars in Maclean

AS A performance space, the Maclean Services Club might be worlds away from Madison Square Garden, but American Broadway star Lexi Lawson isn't phased by her first 'country' gig, particularly when she knows the reason behind the impromptu concert.

"When I heard about Bonnie's (O'Neill) story and how Germany is the only place she can receive treatment for her rare type of cancer, I was only too happy to help her get there."

Lexi has been entertaining American audiences since she was seven years old, the talented singer/songwriter gracing hundreds of stages including that of American Idol, where Simon Cowell gave her a '100 per cent' yes before she had to leave the show to take one of the lead roles in the world tour of the musical Rent.

Lexi was also cast in the musical production of Fame and has provided backing vocals for the likes of Gloria Gaynor, as well as appearing in films like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past with Michael Douglas and Matthew McConaughey, and on Nickelodeon TV.

Now she's about to blow away the Clarence Valley, performing a number of well-known, jazz, pop and soul numbers plus a few of her originals alongside local band Hekyl and Jive.

But Lexi is no stranger to embracing a good cause.

She is a co-producer of the philanthropic Girls Camaraderie Project back home in the United States, which provides free esteem building programs for school girls aged 10-13.

"This sort of thing is important to me. Music was my mentor when I was growing up in The Bronx," Lexi said.

"Young girls need people to look up to, particularly at that age where they can feel vulnerable and susceptible to negative impact."

Lexi said she would love to get her friends to come back here to conduct some workshops. "We were driving past the elementary (high) school in Maclean and saw a young group of girls out the front and thought we could easily do this here."

This is Lexi's first time Down Under, visiting Maclean with her boyfriend Leon Gulaptis to meet his family and see where he grew up. And so far she likes what she sees.

"I'm a city girl. I love New York but I didn't like Sydney much. I really love it here (Clarence Valley) though. It's beautiful. The people are lovely."

According to Leon, Lexi had seen all the big sights of Sydney - Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach - as well as kangaroos and dolphins, but so far her favourite thing has been the (controversial) fruit bats at Maclean High. "They are so cute. I can't believe they have a school with bats above and graveyard below. It's amazing, it reminds me of something out of Count Dracula."



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