NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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December 14, 2012

'It's really just a magical show'

Local actors appear in North Shore Music Theatre's 'A Christmas Carol'

Sitting in the audience of the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” last weekend, Jessica Sousa was nervous.

The Rowley mom couldn’t help but have butterflies in her stomach knowing that her 7-year-old daughter, Emily, was making her acting debut in the beloved Christmas musical. Earlier in the evening, a “very, very excited” Emily couldn’t wait to get to the theater for opening night.

When the Pine Grove School second-grader climbed onstage, however, Sousa’s fears disappeared. The girl is playing the role of Ignorance, as well as a Christmas caroler in the ensemble.

“She was totally calm up there,” Sousa said. “She looked, honestly, like she was in her glory. She had the biggest smile on her face.”

Puzzled, her 5-year-old sister, Kayla, wondered why Emily wasn’t waving back to her as she signaled her from her seat in a row close to the stage, Sousa said with a laugh.

That stage presence may be due to the fact that while this is Emily’s first play, it isn’t the first time she’s performed for an audience. Since she was 3 years old, Emily has taken dance classes at Donna Coco studio, Performance Plus in Salisbury. No stranger to the stage, when the girl heard about an acting workshop at North Shore Music Theatre last summer, she asked her mom if she could attend. There, she learned of the upcoming auditions for the musical.

“It’s really fun,” Emily said. “I just like that I get to be on stage. I like how you get to dance.”

The play, which has become a holiday tradition for many families around the North Shore, is based on the Charles Dickens classic in which the miserly, Christmas-hating Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future one Christmas Eve as they seek to teach him a lesson and change his destiny.

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