‘Oliver!’ excites youth

Published 11:38 pm Friday, March 12, 2010

“Oliver!” cast member Brexdyn La Dieu has a unique way of keeping up with his schoolwork amid dance classes and theater rehearsals.

“There’s pencils in the side door of the car,” said Brexdyn, 11, who is one of Fagin’s Gang of pickpockets in the musical based on Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist.” The play will be performed at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The young artistic standout does most of his homework on the run, on the way to dance classes at Maureen’s School of Dance in Chesapeake and to theater rehearsals at the Suffolk Center. Brexdyn played a Lost Boy in last year’s Suffolk Center production of “Peter Pan.”

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“I’m real excited,” Brexdyn said Friday before his first performance.

Brexdyn auditioned hoping for the role of Oliver, but said he is satisfied just to be in the performance.

“I was kind of hoping for Oliver, but it’s all right,” Brexdyn said. “Kalen [McNatt, who will play Oliver] does a good job with him.”

Brexdyn’s favorite part of the rehearsal process has been working with Todd Rosenlieb of Todd Rosenlieb Dance, who choreographed the show.

“To work with Todd is like, ‘Wow,’” Brexdyn said. “Considering I’m not in Governor’s School yet.”

The “yet” indicates what Brexdyn is thinking — that he wants to eventually audition for the Governor’s School for the Arts.

“I’m probably going to try out for singing, dancing and theater,” Brexdyn said.

Brexdyn has a two-word solo — the words “once again” — in one of the musical’s songs. It also is his responsibility to bring a glass brown bottle on stage to another character.

“It’s my responsibility, and I’ve got to remember,” Brexdyn said. “That’s all I’ve been thinking about. Bring the bottle, bring the bottle, bring the bottle.”

Brexdyn’s mother, Cheryl La Dieu, said Brexdyn’s two older brothers are just as artistically inclined.

“We enjoy the arts, and they all are very involved and very talented,” Cheryl La Dieu said, adding she is proud of Brexdyn. “I know he is so organized with school and everything. To be so young and organized takes responsibility, and he stays pretty grounded.”

Tickets range from $12.50 to $30. To order tickets, visit www.SuffolkCenter.org or arrive early for the show.