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April 6, 2009

From Broadway to 'Mockingbird'

By Rachel Glogowski, Associate Editor, Youth Journalism International

and Mary Majerus-Collins, Junior Reporter, Youth Journalism International



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Henry Hodges, who plays Jem in The Hartford Stage's production of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Mary Majerus-Collins/Youth Journalism International

HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Although he lives in New York City, 15-year-old Henry Hodges is spending his time in Connecticut these days.

Hodges has the important role of Jem in the Hartford Stage production of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Hodges said he’s been acting since he was four. He’s got five Broadway shows, including the famous Shakespearean play, “Macbeth,” to his credit.

“It’s everything I know. It’s really my life. I love it,” he said.

Originally from Maryland, Hodges moved to New York to pursue acting, he said. He was on tour with the production of “Beauty and the Beast,” so he’s very used to moving.

“We’ve cut down a lot of belongings,” he said, “so we’re prepared to hop from city to city.”

While playing Jem, Hodges is staying in Hartford.

He’s homeschooled by his mother, which is easier to balance with acting than a school schedule.

Hodges is a younger child in the family. His older sister, Charlotte, is 21 and goes to college in England.

When he’s not on stage, Hodges rides a unicycle, Ripstick, and does skin boarding for fun.

Hodges enjoys working with Hartford Stage.

“This is an ultimate environment to be in as an actor,” he said. “I’m constantly learning with the best.”

He enjoys acting in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” he said, and doesn’t mind doing the production many times.

“It’s always different,” said Hodges, who has to use a Southern accent in the show. ‘Sometimes a prop is not there, or someone forgets a line.’

Theater is a tight-knit community, Hodges said. Before the show, he said, the cast stands in a circle, holds hands and does a traditional “pulse,” passing a squeeze from one hand to the next.

Although Hodges has been acting for 11 years, he’s still learning new things.

“As an actor, you are never done learning.”

Hodges advises kids to participate in community theater productions and acting camps.

To aspiring young actors, Hodges advised, “Keep on trying,” and “Never give up.”


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