Musical family helps put Jack Shaughnessy in theater spotlight

Fifth-grader Jack Shaughnessy won’t quite admit he loves being the center of attention, but the feeling he gets while on stage is similar.

“I like to be watched,” Jack said. “I just really like being able to do all the things I can do.”

For the fifth-grader at Roosevelt Elementary, the list of things he can do keeps getting longer.

Jack is practicing to be the Pirate King in the school play “Pirates of Penzance.” He has been a part of several other plays in the past, both in school and Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth. He is also part of the school choir, plays piano and, most recently, has taken up the violin.

Jack’s musical talent is no surprise to his parents, Kit and Heather Shaughnessy. Kit plays guitar, piano and sings. He used to work at a recording studio in Los Angeles. Jack’s younger sister, Vonni, is also in “Pirates of Penzance.”

Heather Shaughnessy said Jack was interested in music even as a baby.

“Before he was even talking, he just started humming ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,’” she said. “He just always loved to sing.”

The family still has pictures of Jack as a baby pretending to play a toy guitar. Jack still says today that he wants to learn how to play guitar when he’s older. He also wants to study music in college, and thinks musical theater will always be a part of his future.

Heather said she has loved watching Jack’s musical talent grow, as well as his confidence along with it. She said that when he was younger he was shy and had a lot of anxiety being around other people. But when he got the lead role in his first kindergarten play, she knew he would have a future in music.

“It was really cool to see this nervous kid get up there, in front of all those people, and just nail it,” Heather said.