When Isabela Gomez gets stage jitters, she jitters back. Isabela’s best friend and fellow actor, Zara Sego, plows through.
Those individual solutions to what is surely a common challenge among actors – even young ones like 10-year-old Isabela and 9-year-old Zara – will serve them well when they take the stage in Theater Works’ Youth Works’ production of Junie B Junes the Musical, Aug. 12-28 in the Gyder Theater at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, 10580 N. 83rd Drive.
“I calm my nerves by deep breathing, and I also will shake each hand seven times, then shake my feet, going all the way down to one time,” said Isabela, who is appearing as Junie B Jones’ bus friend, Grace. “It calms me down and makes me feel less nervous about what I’m getting nervous about.”
For Zara, who is taking on the title role as Junie B Jones, it’s a matter of intensifying her already intense focus.
“I just keep going with it and because it’s so fun, it distracts me from the jitters,” she explained.
The bottom line for both Isabela, who attends West Wing Elementary School in Peoria, and Zara, a student at Acacia Elementary School in Phoenix, is being on stage in a theater doing what they both love. And, doing it together, as best friends, makes it even more special.
“Being in a play with my best friend is so much fun,” Zara said. “It’s so much fun spending time together and getting to do what we love.”
“Acting makes me feel really happy,” Isabela said.
They even like the rehearsals for the one-hour adaptation of the popular books by Barbara Park with a full cast of young, local actors.
“I love rehearsals,” Isabela said. “They’re just fun and so energetic. We get to do so many things and get to socialize. It’s just amazing and it makes me really happy knowing there are other people just like me out in the world.”
Zara takes rehearsing one step further.
“We have so much to practice and so many things to do that I practice a lot at home,” she said, adding that her mom and six-year-old brother, Nolan, often help out.
The theater links connecting Isabela and Zara go deeper than being on stage together. Both had positive experiences at Spotlight Youth theater camps, their favorite play is Hamilton and they’re each interested in pursuing acting as a potential career. Zara is particularly interested in expanding her reach beyond acting to stage managing, directing and choreography.
And, both young actors are a bit nervous about opening night, “although I’m more excited than nervous,” Zara said.
Junie B Jones the Musical is directed by Meribeth Reeves with musical direction by Elize Kurbat and choreography by Cydney Trent.
Tickets are $22-26 and are available at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Box Office or online at email@example.com.
For more information about Theater Works, visit www.theaterworks.org. For ticket
information, call the box office at 623-815-7930.