Laurel McMahon and Grace Truslow sat down with me in the lobby of Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre Company, waiting to rehearse their roles in the Tony Award-winning musical, “Les Miserables.”
Every day after school and all day Saturday the Warwick residents are dropped off at the theatre to prepare for the roles of their lives. Both girls alternate the roles of Young Cosette and Young Eponine, playing pivotal parts in a musical they have never seen.
Laurel is a student at Saint Rose of Lima School, while Grace attends our Lady of Mercy School. Both have experience in the theatre. Eight-year-old Laurel has performed in many productions, including playing Pinocchio in “My Son Pinocchio” and Little Alice in “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” with the Manhattan Man Music Productions.
Grace’s musical theatre credits include Gingy in “Shrek, Flounder in “The Little Mermaid” and Veruca Salt in “Willy Wonka” with the RI Youth Theatre and Young Fan and Want in “A Christmas Carol” with Academy Players.
Laurel and Grace both won their roles after a general audition at the theatre attracted a number of young actors. The girls have a lot in common, starting with looking alike, having winning smiles, coming from a family of local actors, and taking dancing lessons (Laurel at Let’s Dance in Lincoln and Grace at the Talent Factory in North Kingstown).
Laurel dreams of performing in a Broadway musical some day, and Grace also wants to pursue her acting and some day write a musical. Both young ladies said that the adult actors helped them to learn their roles and feel comfortable on stage. They said they were not nervous and looked forward to opening night.
“Les Miserables” is at Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre Company through Oct. 20. Tickets are available at the box office or by calling 921-6800.