How I Started
How did you get started?
When I was four, my mom went to her doctor and took me with her. He started chatting and said his mother used to be an agent for kids and I reminded him of the children she represented. So my mom made some calls and found a manager who was holding auditions near our house. I sang my ABC's for the manager and she said "I want Henry." Then I started going out on auditions and started appearing in some adsmy first was for Wranglerand in some industrial films. I got my first theater job, as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, when I was eight.
What are some of your favorite roles?
I really like them all for different reasons. Michael Banks in Mary Poppins (previews begin October 14th.) is fun because he can be kind of naughtyMary calls him a "noisy, mischievous, troublesome little boy"and I'm used to playing sweet roles so it's great to do something new. I liked playing Chip (the teacup) on tour in Beauty and the Beast because we got to visit all sorts of new places. It was very cool. Chip was very cute, sincere and naive. He always believes everything's going to turn out fine, which it does, actually. Then playing Chip on Broadway was really fun. When I got the part I asked my mom if there were actually neon lights on Broadway like the song says. I'd only been to New York a couple times at that point.
And Jeremy in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I really liked playing him because he faces his mother's death and he's strong with it and he's also optimistic. Also flying in the car was really fun and I got to do a flip while I was flying in a harness. Chitty was about two and a half hours long and I was onstage for probably two hours but I never got tired.
What's the most unexpected thing that ever happened to you onstage?
It was a Wednesday matinee of Chitty. In one scene, the child catcher drives my sister and me in a cart with wide bars across the stage. And somehow my shoelace came untied and fell out between the bars and got tangled in a gear under the floor of the cart. Then my foot got mangled in the spokes of a wheel attached to the side of the cart. I screamed "Stop! Stop!" but the problem was it was a scene where we were supposed to be screaming. It was probably the worst thing I ever felt - my foot was almost twisted backwards. They rushed me to the hospital still in my costume and there was a doctor waiting. They took X-rays and he put on an air cast and said I was really lucky there were no broken bones or bad tendon damage. He also said I could go back onstage as long as I didn't bend it or jump on it.
So we pulled back up to the theater almost as the overture was starting for the evening show. I ran in, grabbed a few bites of pizza and since I already had most of my costume on, it wasn't hard to get ready. I did the whole show but for the next three weeks I took a taxi to the theater every night instead of walking. Now it's completely healed.
Have you ever missed a show?
No, no show ever. I guess I've been really lucky because I never get sick. I take lots of vitamins.
What do you remember most about your shows?
All the wonderful people I work withamazing actors, singers, dancers, stage crew, dressers, make-upthey're all very generous sharing their experiences and helping me. I'm lucky to be working with the best people in the business. I know how to act because of the people I acted with.
What's a typical day like for you?
When I'm in a show, I go to bed late, after the evening performance, and then get up in the morning around eleven. I eat breakfast - pancakes and bacon or maybe eggs and bacon - and if there's no matinee that day, my tutor comes and we do English, reading and math. Then when he leaves, my mom teaches me science and geography. I'm in the seventh grade and my favorite subject is science.
I do some homework and then go over my lines every day, so they stay fresh, and do warm-ups, both dance and voice. Eat some dinnermaybe something like steakand then get my scooter and my mom and I leave for the theater.
What do you do when you have time to yourself?
At night, before I go to bed, my dad calls and we read books and talk about them. Right now we're reading The Hardy Boys mysteriesthey're simple but very suspenseful. Before that, it was Sherlock Holmesthey were really fun but more complicated. I love Sherlock Holmes. Also Harry PotterI've read all of those so far. I'd love to play Harry some daythat would be so cool. I also love playing with remote control carsI got a new one for Christmasand sometimes I watch Animal Planet, the Disney Channel and the Discovery Channel. On my days off I love going to dance classes and in the summer skim boarding at the beach. Coney Island is cool.
Do you have any pets?
I have a dog named Pucci who lives with my dad and sister. She's half Jack Russell terrier and half Chihuahua and comes to visit in New York sometimes.
Do you have any advice for other kids who want to get into acting?
Stick with it.
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