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Seventh-Grader Prepares as Understudy at Millburn Playhouse

Jonathan Charette sits down with Patch to explain how he manages studying for school while preparing to be two understudies.

Jonathan Charette is 13-year-old from Short Hills who studies, plays tennis and hangs out with his friends just like most seventh-graders. 

However, for 16 hours a week Charette does something a little unique for his age – he acts as an understudy for two roles in the Paper Mill Playhouse's winter musical, "The Sound of Music".

Charette is the understudy for characters Friedrich and Kurt von Trapp. He sat down with Patch and explained how he manages studying for school while preparing to be two understudies:

Patch: With school, sports and other activities how do you find the time to prepare as understudy?

Charette: It's been hard but it's all about balancing out your priorities. School is a priority and then I have activities but "The Sound of Music" comes first right now.

Patch: So with all of that on your plate, why do it?

Charette: Because it's so fun. 

Patch: How did you get started acting?

Charette: When I was 6-or 7-years old, I was in the car and heard a radio commercial for this acting place in the city. I ended up taking classes there with my brother for two years. Then I went to Paper Mill and started taking classes there. 

Patch: What is you favorite part about acting that you've enjoyed since becoming an understudy?

Charette: It's watching the adult actors and being able to watch them work their craft.

Patch: What is like being an understudy at a theater like Paper Mill Playhouse?

Charette: It really fun because Paper Mill is such a good theater and it's a great theater to start off at. But being an understudy is just fun. You don't have all the pressures of performing but you do know the part.

Patch: Can you explain what you have to do as an understudy to prepare?

Charette: Well for the understudy rehearsals, we had three of them. For the first two we would run through the show without mics. Then in the third rehearsal we got to perform the show with mics and they did lighting for the whole show.

Patch: What do you dream to do in performing?

Charette: I would love to be on Broadway.

Allison December 12, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Jonathan, Congratulations on being an understudy for this show! I wish for you a great life as a performer! Enjoy the experience. (From, Allison Klausner)

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