‘Oliver!’ begins

Published 10:18 pm Thursday, March 11, 2010

When 10-year-old Alyssa Felgentreu got a callback audition for “Oliver!” at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, it was just like “American Idol.”

“The doors opened, and she’s waving a piece of paper and says, ‘I got a callback,’” mother Tracie Felgentreu said. “I’m extremely proud of her.”

“Oliver!” begins Friday night at the center, and runs through Sunday.

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The Elephant’s Fork Elementary School fifth-grader found out about the show from her mother, who learned about it from someone at work. She immediately jumped at the chance to audition.

“I just thought it was a great opportunity for me to show my inner star,” Alyssa said. “I just like acting and singing and dancing.”

Alyssa has acted in a couple of school and church plays, and always puts on a show for the family, Tracie Felgentreu said. When Alyssa found out she got the part of a child in Fagin’s gang of pickpockets in the musical based on Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist,” she began crying, her mother said said. She wasn’t the only one.

“There were tears streaming down both our faces,” Tracie Felgentreu recalled.

Alyssa’s father bought her the movie version of the musical, and Alyssa began listening to the songs as she lay in bed. She practiced them in the backyard.

“I think the whole neighborhood knows them by now,” her mother said.

Alyssa has juggled her regular schoolwork with rehearsals — four rehearsals per week at first, and then every day this week.

“I’m more excited [than nervous], I have to say,” said Alyssa, who called making new friends her favorite part of the process.

“Oliver!” will be performed Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $12.50 to $30. To order tickets, visit www.SuffolkCenter.org.