Ex-Cashman student begins her second act

Courtesy photoAmesbury native Carly Gendell is appearing in “I Have a Voice,” an anti-bullying video.

AMESBURY — The School of Rock may be out for 12-year-old Carly Gendell, but the show will go on.

Beginning in December 2015, Carly spent 11 months on Broadway performing as the original Marcy in “School of Rock — The Musical.”

But all good things (and contracts) on the Great White Way must come to an end. While “School of Rock — The Musical” is still packing houses, Carly is now free to broaden her acting career and recently spent a day working alongside almost 100 of her peers to shoot a music video for Broadway Kids Against Bullying entitled “I Have a Voice.”

The video is an all-volunteer production, and Carly put in a good 12 hours shooting the public service announcement at New York’s Professional Performing Arts School.

“They had so many kids there because they wanted to make it look like a real school,” Carly said. “You can watch other videos of kids in school and there will be like only four or five kids in the halls. But when you see our video, you see all these different kids flooding the school. It really feels like a school.”

The video tells the story of a seemingly isolated young man who follows clues left for him by classmates to find an empty closet, which turns out to be filled with glow-in-the-dark stars when the lights are turned out. “I Have a Voice” lets kids know they are not alone.

“The point of the story is that stars shine bright in the dark,” Carly said. “Anyone can have a voice.”

Shooting a movie or TV show creates a lot more down time than running a stage production. Having shown up for her morning call time, Carly spent most of the production waiting to get in front of the camera. When she did, she ended up one of only four kids stargazing in a closet.

“It took a long time because they had to shoot different scenes,” Carly said. “I wasn’t involved in the story until very late at night. It was about 10 or 11 when I started to get into the story, but it was really cool. I had to stay in (the closet) for a good 10 minutes and it was a lot of fun.”

An alumna of the Cashman Elementary School, Carly now lives with her family in Boylston where she attends the Walpole-based online virtual school, TEC Connections Academy. That gives her the freedom to go on auditions as well as take dance, music and acting lessons in Manhattan, where she often runs into her former “School of Rock” cast members.

“There is the group that I hang out with when we are all together,” Carly said. “I hang out with my friends still and it is really good.”

“I Have a Voice” was not Carly’s first music video. She also appeared “when I was way younger” in the video for Lizzie Marrella’s “My Everything” and had a prominent role in the Kids of Broadway co-production of David Aleksander’s “Y Sentirás Mi Amor/Silent Night” last November.

With all of her stage and screen experience, Carly’s mother Katrina said her family could find itself in either New York or Los Angeles one day. For the time being, Carly is just another professional actress looking for her next job.

“I don’t know (where we will go) yet,” Carly said. “I’m too young to decide.”

Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached on Twitter @ndnsully, via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145.

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