Riverwoods girl, now starring in play, has her sights set on Broadway
Brittany Smithson, left, plays Jennifer Jacob with Jamie Davidson (Swill) in the Highland Park Players' production of How I Became A Pirate. The group performed a dress rehearsal at Edgewood Middle School in Highland Park on January 31, 2013. | Ray Whiteh
Updated: February 11, 2013 11:08AM
RIVERWOODS — She’ll be performing for audiences with eight other adult cast members for the second time this weekend, but 12-year-old Brittany Smithson doesn’t seem to have much time to be nervous about it.
Smithson, a busy, young Riverwoods resident and seventh grader from Bannockburn School, also has to worry about juggling school, work, with dance lessons, dance competitions, voice lessons, volleyball and planning her Bat Mitzvah.
“She’s a very busy kid,” Brittany’s mother, Heidi Smithson, said with a laugh.
When the Highland Park Players Theatre for Young Audiences presents the musical stage version of the children’s book, “How I Became A Pirate,” this weekend, the young Bannockburn School student from Riverwoods will take the stage as the outgoing lead character, Jennifer Jacob.
The story begins with Jennifer digging in the sands of North Beach and excitedly noticing a ship full of pirates. When the pirates recruit her to help find the perfect digging spot for their treasure, the adventure begins.
“They teach her how to be a pirate, and she teaches them some stuff about how to be a kid—like how to play soccer,” Brittany said. “It’s just really fun!”
Show dates are Feb.9-10 at 1 and 3 p.m. at Edgewood Middle School Theater, 929 Edgewood Road. Tickets are $10 and are available online and at the door. For more information, visit www.highlandparkplayers.com or call (847) 682-4640.
Q: How long have you lived in Riverwoods?
A: My whole life.
Q: How did you get involved in the Highland Park Players Theater?
A: Me and my dad were just thinking about how I could get moving with what I want to do, trying out for stuff, so we started looking on the internet and found one that was perfect for me and thought “why not? Let’s see if it works out.” And it did!
Q: What is the character you play in “How I Became a Pirate” like?
A: She’s a character that’s outgoing, happy, adventurous and would be fun to hang around.
Q: Have you had roles or acted in plays like this before?
A: I haven’t done anything with a community theatre before, but I have done a lot of musicals, like school musicals and camp musicals. I was actually in a performing arts camp, where we did “Ariel Junior,” and I was Ariel. I’ve been in some other kinds of camp plays, and was in musical theatre in a place in Deerfield called Starland.
Q: What originally got you interested in theatre and singing?
A: When I was younger, I loved watching princess movies and I thought: “Mom, is this real?” Then I saw some plays about those movies and thought: “This is so cool!” It just sounded so amazing to me because I didn’t know there were plays and musicals about that. I also just love singing and dancing… it’s like one of my hobbies — I love to do it — and it got me thinking: “Should I start doing musical theatre? Should I start with singing? Should I just dance? Should I act?” Honestly, I really want to be on Broadway…it inspires me to think about what I’d like to be when I grow up.
Q: Between singing, dancing and acting, what’s your favorite?
A: It would be between singing and dancing… I do really, really like singing…
Q: Where do you dance, and what styles?
A: I dance at Starland and Lincolnshire Dance Academy. I dance jazz, ballet, lyrical, musical theatre, leaps and turns and I’m on a competitive hip hop team
Q: What do you do when you’re not singing, acting or dancing?
A: I’m on a volleyball team at school, and I love it. I also like to hang out with my friends and have a bunch of sleepovers.
Q: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
A: I like to listen to Broadway songs, but I also like to listen to pop.
Q: What would you consider your greatest accomplishment in life so far?
A: I’ve been working with a lot of foundations at my school and have been helping out with a lot of programs. For my Bat Mitzvah, I did a Mitzvah project where I’d give school supplies to schools in Nicaragua that aren’t as fortunate, and I worked with a program called Esperanza Granada, where I helped a family get some money so they could build their house up a bit more. That was really fun.