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April 6, 2009

Scouting out a role at Hartford Stage

By Mary Majerus-Collins

Junior Reporter, Youth Journalism International



HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Olivia Scott is an only child, but she feels like she’s got a couple of brothers while she’s playing Scout Finch in the Hartford Stage show, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

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Olivia Scott, who plays Scout in The Hartford Stage's production of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Mary Majerus-Collins/Youth Journalism International

Scott, who is 12, said she gets along well with Henry Hodges, who plays her brother Jem in the show, which is based on Harper Lee’s famous novel, and with Andrew Shipman, who plays their friend Dill Harris.

“Me and Henry kinda have a brother-sister relationship,” said Scott. “I get mad at him. He gets mad at me. Same with Andrew. We’re all like a family, everybody in the cast.”

When she got the role, Scott said, she was a little worried about how the others in the cast would be, but found out had nothing to fear.

“Everybody’s very nice,” said Scott.

Scott is in sixth grade at Eastern Middle School in Greenwich, Conn., but she will have missed school for the whole third quarter because she’s been in Hartford for rehearsals and performances.

To help the kids in the cast, the theater provides a tutor 15 hours a week, and Scott said that keeps her caught up.

She said she’s still getting straight A’s.

“I’m not really missing anything,” said Scott. “Some people just think I’ve been sick for a month.”

Outside of acting, Scott spends her time hanging out with her friends and family. She also spends her time singing and doing homework, and has two cats named Elvin and Murphy.

Scott moved to Connecticut just last year. Before that, she lived in San Francisco Bay area, which she loved.

“It’s sunny and warm,” said Scott.

At first, she didn’t like Connecticut, Scott said, because she didn’t have any friends when she came into fifth grade halfway through the year.

But this year, she’s at a new school and has good friends, she said, and Connecticut seems a lot better.

“Now I love it just as much as California,” she said. “Well, almost.”

Hartford Stage provides Scott and her mom an apartment with 14 foot ceilings and granite countertops, she said.

“It’s great,” said Scott.

Scott and her Mom have temporarily moved into the Hartford apartment because Greenwich is too far to drive back and forth every day.

She likes acting at Hartford Stage.

“This is better than Broadway,” said Scott. “This is Hartford Stage. They take such good care of us.”

She’s done many musicals, Scott said, but this show is her first dramatic role.

Because most of the people who come to the show have read Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Scott said they arrive with an idea of who Scout is.

“You’ve gotta flip that out of their minds and replace it with what you are,” said Scott.

Scott, who said she has an acting coach, an agent, a manager and a singing teacher, said she wants to do more work with Hartford Stage.

“I wanna do whatever I can, ‘cause it’s just so fun!”


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