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Acting Up: Broadway Kids Share Stage Tips [Kids Today / USA Today]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
Kids Today / USA Today
Cover story
Feb. 18, 1996

Soon, spring plays will be performed in schools across the country. That means right about now, you may be getting ready for, or are in the middle of, play tryouts.

If you have butterflies in your belly just thinking about it, don’t worry. Kid stars on Broadway get stage fright, too.

Their tips:

Patrick Levis, 13, of Silver Spring, Md., plays the lead, Josh, in the new Broadway musical production of Big, a 1988 movie that starred Tom Hanks. He says: Stay calm!* “A lot of times people say they get nervous and forget their lines when they get on stage. My routine is to take deep breaths and keep reminding myself to stay calm. If I can’t calm down, I get a drink of water and sit down. When I am ready, I go back on stage and give it my best shot.”

*Simon Pearl, 10, of Long Island, N.Y, plays a street beggar in the dramatic
musical Les Miserables. Pearl says: Learn your part!* “The best thing you can do is get into character by reading the script well before you have to audition. Decide how your character reacts and how he or she talks. But don’t dress in costume. Dress smart and appropriately.”

Crysta Macalush, 9, of Allentown, Pa., is also in Les Miserables. She plays a street urchin, too. Macalush says: Don’t worry. If you don’t get a part, it’s OK. There is probably another part waiting for you. I am always happy just to get an audition. But when I do get the part, I am really excited. When I perform on state, it feels like I’m playing with my friends.”

Patrick Lavery, 8, of Benville, N.J., plays “Chip the Cup” in the Broadway musical version of Beauty and the Beast. Lavery says: Have fun! “The most important thing about having a successful audition is to have a good time. Just give it your best shot. You never know who the casting director is looking for. If it’s you, great. If not, you haven’t lost anything so long as you had a good time.”

THE FIVE MOST POPULAR SCHOOL PLAYS:

1. The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson
2. Our Town, by Thornton Wilder
3. You Can’t Take It With You, by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
4. Bye Bye Birdie, by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams
5. Little Shop of Horrors, by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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