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Two Miami Eight Year Olds Take To The Stage In MADELINE'S CHRISTMAS

When you are eight years old, the saying Follow your dreams, is supposed to be more of a metaphor for life when you grow up, than an actual daily mantra for a second or third grader. But don't tell that to Katiya Pedrouzo or Andrea Contreras, two Miami girls who are acting out their own dreams on the big stage at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. Pedrouzo and Contreras, age 8, are both starring as Madeline in the upcoming Actors' Playhouse Musical Theatre for Young Audiences production of the holiday favorite, Madeline's Christmas.

Pedrouzo, who has taken Theatre Conservatory classes at Actors' Playhouse, was first exposed to theatre a few years ago when her older sister, Natalya, played Daphne in the 2006 Actors' Playhouse production of Madeline's Christmas and later appeared in the 2009 Actors' production of Les Misèrables. However, both girls really began to take an interest in acting after attending the Summer Theatre Camp at Actors' Playhouse earlier this year. When each girl heard about the auditions for Madeline this fall, they both knew it was something they had to do.

After auditioning for the part, Theatre For Young Audiences Director Earl Maulding cast both girls as the beloved Madeline. "Both girls have excellent stage presence, strong melodic voices and an inherent star quality," says Maulding. In addition to Pedrouzo, a third grader from John I. Smith Elementary in Doral, and Contreras, a second grader from Kendale Elementary in Kendall, there will also be niNe Young performers from area schools in each cast that make up the ensemble. The girls will miss about 10 mornings of school during the run of the show, but both girls' parents say their teachers have been nothing but supportive. "Her teachers have all been extremely supportive and encouraging of Katiya's acting. They have already lined up field trips for her classmates to come see her perform," says Tracy Pedrouzo, Katiya's mother. Madeline's Christmas will be performed at 10 a.m. almost every weekday throughout the run of the show for area school groups to have an opportunity to see their fellow classmates on stage.
For both Pedrouzo and Contreras, this will be their first role in an actual production alongside professional adult actors. The girls received valuable experience on stage during summer camp and theatre classes, but nothing quite like playing the lead role in front of a 600-seat audience. Contreras says she is not nervous at all, just very excited. " I want everything to come out perfect." Both girls feel that the classes and camps have really helped them prepare for their acting debut. "The summer camp taught me to have more energy inside my heart, so I could get used to being in front of a lot of people," says Pedrouzo.

The two young starlets are both eager and excited about their upcoming role as Madeline. "There is a lot of running around and pulling out beds," remarks Pedrouzo excitedly. They also recognize the important lessons Madeline teaches about the holiday season in putting others before yourself. "It's about helping others," Contreras notes as Pedrouzo nods her head in agreement.

So where does the dream go from here? "Obviously you want to see your kids chase a dream," says Ivan Contreras, Andrea's father. "She realizes acting is a tough career, and obviously you always want her to have something to fall back on, but as long as it is something she wants to do, I say go for it."

Andre Pedrouzo, Katiya's father, adds "It is something she tried, and she fell in love with it."

"I want to be an actress when I grow up," says Contreras. It looks like Contreras and Pedrouzo are both well on their way.
You can watch both girls live out their dreams on stage at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre Saturdays at 2 p.m. November 19th through December 26th. Additional holiday performances will be held Sunday, December 20th and Thursday, December 24th at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 each. Select weekday 10 a.m. performances are also available for pre-arranged fieldtrips and can be booked through the education department at educate@actorsplayhouse.org or 305.444.9293 x 606. Actors' Playhouse provides detailed study guides and a talkback with the cast for all weekday student performances.
The 2009-2010 Theatre for Young Audiences season presents more amazing favorites including Jack and the Beanstalk (January 28-March 27, 2010), The National Children's Theatre Festival winner YOUNG KING ARTHUR (April 29-May 29, 2010) with the 2010 KIDS FEST all day cultural events taking place on May 1st and 2nd, and Pippi Longstocking (June 23-August 7, 2010).
Actors' Playhouse Musical Theatre for Young Audiences has been awarded the South Florida Parenting Magazine's Kid's Crown Award, voted by their readers, for "Best of the Best Live Entertainment for Kids in Miami-Dade County" and has also been named a Kid's Crown Hall of Fame Winner.

This event is made possible with the support of the City of Coral Gables, with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, The Cultural Affairs Council, The Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, and by the Peacock Foundation, Inc.

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