An exclusive guest post from the BWW News Desk:
Nineteen-year-old Henry Hodges has spent the last fifteen years either on stage or in front of a camera. From playing Chip in "Beauty and the Beast" to Jeremy Potts in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and Michael Banks in "Mary Poppins," Henry has practically lived on Broadway for most of his young life.
In How to Act Like a Kid, Henry uses his considerable experience-and wisdom beyond his years-to give young readers advice on open calls, auditions, rehearsals, dance and voice classes, child wranglers, studio teachers, and how to do homework in green rooms! Most of all, he relates how to live a normal life while devoting your time to performing on stage and screen. He covers all the ups and downs of childhood acting, including disappointments: he didn't get the role of Tiny Tim when he first auditioned for "The Christmas Carol" because he was too small, but returned to win the role for two seasons!
For the first time, young aspiring performers will be able to read about, learn from, and be inspired by an extraordinary young actor through his own words.
BroadwayWorld brings you an exclusive excerpt from the book below! To pre-order on AMAZON.COM, click here.
Most kids on Broadway have been in local productions, school plays, and camp shows. And in all those, you can believe they've been the star, the focus. When they get to a professional production, they're still good, but they're not the best. If they're expecting constant praise, they're not going to get it.
I had to learn to accept criticism. My first touring show was Beauty and the Beast and I played Chip, a teacup. At the end, I ran across the stage as a human again, not as a teacup. My last line was "Do I still have to sleep in the cupboard?" I took my time saying the line because I had gotten a note from the director telling me to make that line really clear. But the delay bothered the conductor. It threw off the orchestra for the beginning of the finale.
I got a note from the conductor. Because I was taking too long to say the line, he was having to add another loop of the music, an extra four bars. The conductor gave me the note four times to speed up. I almost didn't get invited to be in the Broadway production because of it. Sometimes you get notes that confl ict, and I was still thinking about my director's note to make the line clear. In this case, I should have just listened to the conductor the first time.
Every show has a different vibe, but we all try to keep the drama on the stage, not backstage. I violated this one time, and boy, was I sorry. In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the amazing Raúl Esparza played a kooky mad-scientist father beloved by his kids. During rehearsals, Raúl taught me bits of magic, sleight of hand, and hat tricks that he used in the show. He'd spray me with a water gun, make funny faces, and just generally goof off, all in the name of fun.
One day, I decided to retaliate. I was in my favorite magic shop on Eighth Avenue in New York City and bought something I thought was certain to make Raúl laugh. Just before one Wednesday-night show, I snuck into his dressing room and sprayed two squirts of Fart in a Can in it.
Two minutes later, there was an announcement over the backstage loudspeaker. "Whoever is spraying that stuff, please stop!" My heart sank. I walked out of my dressing room to discover that even the hallway, which was very far from Raúl's dressing room, smelled terrible as well.
Immediately, I went to the stage manager and admitted what I had done. Soon, the ushers began to complain about the smell in the seating area. The 1,932-seat Hilton Theatre (now the Foxwoods Theatre) smelled like Fart in a Can!
I kept thinking, This can't be happening. It was just a spritz! During intermission, I apologized over the loudspeaker to everyone backstage. I then went from dressing room to dressing room, telling everyone I was sorry.