Ever since Caleb Quezon saw Wicked on Broadway when he was six years old, he knew he wanted to perform.
The thirteen-year-old from South Tampa plays the debonair Lumière in this weekend’s PCYT production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr. at the Straz Center.
“This was probably one of the most difficult characters for me to play because he’s a ladies man and hits on all the girls, but it’s a fun character,” said Caleb.
As soon as Caleb began taking classes at the Patel Conservatory at the Straz shortly after he saw Wicked, he knew it was the place for him.
“The people here always accepted me and were always so nice,” said Caleb. “My first director was Miss Ami [Sallee] and she’s always fun to be around.”
Over the years, he’s been in several of our PCYT (Patel Conservatory Youth Theater) productions, from Music Man to last summer’s hit Seussical, the Musical, Jr. He even had the opportunity to perform in the 2008 Broadway tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the Morsani theater as an orphan.
“A hundred kids auditioned, and they only chose six,” said Caleb. “It was pretty difficult..we had three days to learn our lines and blocking and then it was the night of the show.”
Accustomed to putting a show together quickly, he and more than 50 cast members have been working for Beauty and the Beast, Jr. for nearly three weeks. In the first week, it was a crash course of lines and choreography, and they’ve been polishing and practicing ever since.
“Line learning has never been that much of a challenge for me, but choreography is hard for me,” he admits.
Today the group endured mic checks and sound checks as they went through technical rehearsal in Ferguson Hall. The incredible, professional sets and production team give the kids invaluable experience.
The long rehearsals and challenges are all part of the fun, says Caleb.
“It’s what I love doing. I want to be doing this my entire life,” he said. “Whenever I’m on stage...I’m what God made us to be, which is unique.”
Bring the kids out to see the wondrous Beauty and Beast, Jr. at 7 p.m. this Thurs., July 19 and Fri., July 20, 2012. Click here for tickets.