Oak Creek Kids Take Center 'Stage'
Two residents have leading roles in First Stage production of Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly.
They're both just a couple of worms, who while they may seem shy on the outside, desperately want to make a big splash for themselves in the world.
These aren't actual worms, mind you, but rather two actors playing the role in First Stage's production of Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly.
And it just so happens that these actors, Austin Zdziarski, 15, and Thomas Mazza, 14, live down the street from each other, on Regency Drive in Oak Creek. They are in separate casts of the musical, held through May 13 at the Todd Wehr Center in downtown Milwaukee.
The play, based on the books of Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss, follows the worm, fly and spider as they deal with some of the same life challenges people face, according to a show synopsis.
Austin and Thomas said the musical is directed at children, but has enough for people of all ages to enjoy.
"Our director does a really good job of making (the show) for a wide variety of ages," Thomas said.
Thomas and Austin have been involved in First Stage plays for the past few years, but this is the biggest role for both.
They both started performing at an early age. Thomas comes from a family of performers, while Austin began doing plays and theater at his church.
The thrill of opening night and the enjoyment of getting up on stage and making children laugh is what brings them back. The nervousness, however, never quite goes away, either.
"The first time I auditioned, I got so nervous I didn't sing my song because I just wanted to sit down," Austin said.
For this musical, the time commitment involved is no joke -- for four weeks, the pair went through three-and-a-half hour rehearsals on the weekends and four-and-a-half hours every other weeknight.
With school during the day, it's akin to having two full-time jobs. That's where living so close to each other had a major benefit, as carpooling was made easier.
And if one is going to put so many hours into performing, Austin and Thomas said First Stage is the place to do it.
"I walk in and I feel, 'I'm going to do something great today. It's going to be an amazing day,'" Austin said. "It's amazing to meet new people and interact with other people from show to show."
For more on the musical and showtimes, visit the First Stage website.