SE Queens actors shine as stars

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Erica Barnett (l.) and Madison Zamor both play the role of Kayla in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular show. Photos courtesy of MSG Entertainment

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By Ivan Pereira

December 22, 2011

Two budding performers from southeast Queens have hit it big this holiday season as they landed a major role in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular show.

Nine-year-olds Erica Simone Barnett and Madison Zamor both play the role of Kayla in the annual extravaganza and both said they were excited when they learned they had beaten out hundreds of other girls for the part.

Although they have been away from school since October when the rehearsals began and extremely busy performing multiple shows a week, they said it has been a memorable experience.

“I really wanted to get this role. It was a dream come true,” Erica said in an e-mail.

Erica, who attends PS 51 in Richmond Hill, and Madison, who attends Our Lady of Lourdes in Queens Village, tried out for the part back in April. Both girls said the audition was nerve-wracking not only because they were competing with so many other girls their age, but also because they were doing it in the same place where other famous stars performed.

“I had to sing a song of my choice by myself in the large rehearsal hall where the Rockettes practice!” Madison said. “I have only been auditioning for a little less than two years, and this is the biggest thing I have ever done.”

The girls were called back for another round of auditions in the summer and both girls were told they got the part, sending them and their families into an excited frenzy.

“I started crying and my mom started crying and my dad — he literally ran around our entire house yelling ,“No way! No way! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! I can’t believe it!” Madison recalled.

Since October, the girls have taken off from school while they rehearse and perform in the show. Erica said she will be a part of 70 out of the 210 performances of the show between November and next month and Madison said she is in 12 shows a week.

During their time at Radio City, both have tutors who help them with their studies and their fourth-grade teachers send them class assignments every day so they will not lag behind once the show ends.

“It’s not too hard — I miss school, but I am having so much fun at Radio City,” Erica said of her course work.

The show’s larger-than-life story has kept the girls on their toes over the last two months. In the show, Kayla and her mother embark on a long adventure and ultimately get to meet Santa Claus at the North Pole.

“Santa Claus wants Kayla and her mother, Natalie, to know that Christmas isn’t just about presents but about spending time together and experiencing the joy of Christmas,” Erica said.

This year, the show added a new element that capitalizes on the 3D craze that has been hitting movies and video games recently. Although the girls said they have not been trained to be the next Wonder Woman, they were able to show off their action skills.

“I get to battle the Humbugs and gingerbread men and this giant snow monster with the Rockettes. It’s so much fun,” Madison said.

Both girls said they will miss the cast and crew once the final curtain comes down next week, but they said they would be happy to return to their classrooms and share their adventures with their friends.

“It has been an experience that I will never ever forget,” Madison said.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2011 at 1:41 pm and is filed under Feature, Print Articles, Profiles, TimesLedger. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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