Broadway's 'On the Town' welcomes 3 special stars

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — If theatergoers at Wednesday's matinee of "On the Town" take special attention, they'll get to see the Broadway debut of three special teenagers.

Nathan Adams, 13, from San Diego, Alyssa Call, 13, from Highland, Utah, and T.J. Little, 19, from Fort Worth, Texas, will have small parts in the show thanks to the Make-A-Wish organization.

"Broadway at 13 years old? That's a dream. It's crazy that it's happening," said Nathan, who has suffered from heart problems and has dreamed of a Broadway debut since kindergarten.

On Tuesday, the teens and their parents and siblings got a backstage tour of the Lyric Theatre, and practiced their scenes with Chip Abbott, the show's dance captain and swing. They got fitted for costumes and met the cast before all seeing the evening's show — for the first time.

At the matinee, Nathan will be onstage as a workman at the beginning of the musical, Alyssa will play a school girl at a museum for the song "Carried Away" and T.J. will be a sailor in the night club scene that opens the second act. Each will be featured in a Playbill insert and be handed flowers during their curtain call.

"I've really liked acting for a long time. I'm not scared of the stage," said Alyssa, who has undergone brain surgeries, is a member of the Utah Children's Choir and has been in several community productions with Alpine Community Theatre.

Little, who has battled aplastic anemia, called it "nerve-racking" and "surreal" to play in front of 1,300 people in Broadway's biggest theater.

He regularly performs at Casa Manana in Fort Worth, will be in "Big Fish" this summer there and plans to be a musical theater major at Coastal Carolina University in the fall. "At the end of the day, it's another performance," he said.

The Tony Award-nominated musical they're in is about three sailors trying to cram in a year's worth of fun into 24 hours of shore leave. It was later made into a film with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

One of the teens' fathers wasn't sweating about what was facing their child. Jeff Call, Alyssa's dad, said: "She can sing in front of 1,000 people and she doesn't get nervous."