Atlanta tween takes her talents to Broadway

She's been training to make it big since she was just 5 years old, and at the end of the month, Atlanta's own Sarah Charles Lewis will make her Broadway debut as the lead in "Tuck Everlasting."

The 11-year-old Crabapple Crossing Elementary alum began her training at the Renaissance International School of Performing Arts (RISPA) in Alpharetta at age 5. But, according to her mother, Jennifer, Sarah started humming on pitch when she was just a baby.

Lewis has played Annie in Atlanta Lyric Theatre's musical production of "Annie," and most recently starred as the lead character, Winnie Foster, in the world premiere of "Tuck Everlasting" at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. 

"I've always had music in my blood," Lewis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during a phone interview between hectic rehearsals. Her parents, both musicians, met in a band, and her brother was recently in the world premiere of the musical "Bull Durham."

Her role in the world premiere at the Alliance gave her a leg up for the Broadway production, Sarah's mother said. And when the auditions came up for 'Tuck', she was called in.

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Leaving her friends and family behind in Georgia wasn't easy. "I have the best support system at home," Lewis said of her friends, family, teachers and community. But moving to New York City has been "a dream come true," she said.

"It's hard work, but not really work if you love it like I do," she said. "It's my reward to come to 'Tuck' rehearsals. I love it all."

In the musical based on Natalie Babbitt's children's novel, Lewis plays a young woman grappling with the concept of immortality when she meets Jesse Tuck, who looks like a boy about the age of 17, but who is really 104 years old.

When asked if she would choose to live forever like the Tuck, Lewis declined with absolutely no hesitation.

"I wouldn't want to miss out on life, on being a mother and a grandmother," she said.

Lewis has always been a fan of musicals and says her favorites include "Wicked" and "Annie," but "Tuck Everlasting" tops the list.

Working with her co-stars, she said, has been her favorite part about being in the show. She's been inspired by the "incredible" Terrence Mann, who plays the Man in the Yellow Suit in the show; has learned how to quickly put in pin curls from Carolee Carmello, who plays Mae Tuck; and has garnered plenty of tips and tricks on how to keep her voice healthy from Andrew Keenan-Bolger, who plays co-star Jesse Tuck.

"And I couldn't have asked for a better director than Casey Nicholaw," she said. 

"I'd like to be on Broadway for as long as possible," Lewis said, but admitted she's also interested in expanding her horizons into film and television — or even singing pop music.

Lewis will make her Broadway debut March 31 at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City. For more details about the show and how to purchase tickets, visit the website.

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