Cast of 54 Below's <i>When I Grow Up: Broadway's Next Generation</i> cabaret, courtesy of 54 Below
Cast of 54 Below's When I Grow Up: Broadway's Next Generation cabaret, courtesy of 54 Below

They may not be "revolting" children but they certainly are taking over Broadway.

It takes just a quick scan of the Broadway lineup to discover that talented youngsters are everywhere you turn. This season alone, we've seen performances by seasoned professionals under the legal driving age in Annie, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Christmas Story, Motown, Pippin, Kinky Boots, and Matilda.

In honor of this flood of fresh talent, Broadway Records is releasing a CD of the performance, When I Grow Up: Broadway's Next Generation Live at 54 Below, set for release on July 9. The album will feature 11 of these Broadway babies (all under the age of 17) lending their voices to the songs of some of Broadway's most mature musicals including Avenue Q, Once On This Island, Next to Normal, [title of show], and many more.

TheaterMania decided it was only fitting to celebrate the end of such a youthful season by learning a bit more about these future Jessie Muellers and Norbert Leo Butzes (many of whom already have more Broadway credits than most of their adult castmates). We asked each of them about their favorite musicals and Broadway idols, and the moment they knew they were bit by the by the bug.


Emily Rosenfeld
Emily Rosenfeld
Emily Rosenfeld – Annie

Age: 9

From: Westchester, New York

Favorite musical:
There are so many...yikes!...Besides Annie, I'd say Matilda, Bring It On, and Wicked!

First experience performing onstage:
The very first time I performed onstage I was about three or four years old and sang "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. I was backed-up by a karaoke machine at my after-school class called Star Kidz. I remember having the best time! I still love singing that song!

Another favorite early performance was when I was five years old and played Michael in Peter Pan at Random Farms Kids Theatre. It was so much fun because I got to play a boy, wear a dark short wig and onesie pajamas, and also carry around a teddy bear the whole time!

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
I most admire Kristin Chenoweth because she's such a phenomenal singer with a great big voice. And she's tiny and blonde just like me!

I also look up to my Annie castmates Katie Finneran and Brynn O'Malley because not only are they great actresses onstage but also the kindest people off stage! And I definitely have to mention that I really admire Laura Osnes! She's so sweet! I can't wait to see her in Cinderella!


Grace Capeless
Grace Capeless
Grace Capeless – A Christmas Story

Age: 9

From: New Jersey

Favorite musical: That's easy, Matilda!

First experience performing onstage:
The first time I performed on stage was in Godspell Cast of 2032 at Circle in the Square. I had seen the show and fell in love with it. I was so excited to be working with the Broadway cast and…able to dance and sing on a Broadway stage. I remember I had butterflies in my stomach when I was waiting backstage, but I was so excited I couldn't sit still. I remember feeling like all eyes were on me while I was out there. It was amazing.

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
Audra McDonald. She has the most beautiful voice and she is the nicest person. I got to play young Audra in a show for her. It was incredible that I actually got to meet her, plus we look alike!


Caleb McLaughlin
Caleb McLaughlin
Caleb McLaughlin – The Lion King

Age: 11

From: Carmel, New York

Favorite musical:
Lion King! I loved this musical long before I joined the cast. I love the colors, the puppets, music, dancing, and the people. Lion King always leaves me with a good feeling, whether I'm performing or just watching. I never get tired of Lion King! My other favorite is Matilda! Love the dancing and energy of the show.

First experience performing onstage:
I was so nervous! But as soon as I got onstage I felt as if I was transported to South Africa and became Simba. I was Simba! It was so much fun!

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
There are so many talented performers on Broadway. I really admire Mr. L. Stevens Taylor. He is a swing in The Lion King and he is an awesome performer. I think it's incredible that he is able to do more than one character in the show at a moment's notice.


Isabela Moner
Isabela Moner
Isabela Moner – Evita

Age: 11

From: Cleveland, Ohio


Favorite musical:
Out right now, probably Matilda.



First experience performing onstage:
I was six years old and I played a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. At the time, The Wizard of Oz was my favorite movie, and so it was awesome to be able to do it as my first show and I kind of just fell in love with the theater.


Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
Probably Ricky Martin, I'm a huge fan of him. He is also Latin American, and I just think he's a really nice person in general, and very down to earth. I also adore Lindsay Mendez. She's just so awesome and talented. I loved working with her last fall [in a New York workshop of the musical, Fly]. She played my older self. I wish her luck in her new role of Elphaba in Wicked!


Matthew Schechter
Matthew Schechter
Matthew Schechter – Mary Poppins, Waiting for Godot, Elf, Newsies

Age: 12

From: Westchester County, New York

Favorite musical:
My favorite musical in which I performed was either Newsies or Mary Poppins. I loved them both and in both was surrounded by amazing people. My favorite musical as an audience member was Fela! The story was so riveting, the music was fantastic, and the actors were so incredibly talented.

First experience performing onstage:
The first time I was onstage was during Waiting for Godot at Studio 54. It was exciting because there were such seasoned actors in the play and I felt a great responsibility to do a good job. The audience's response was fantastic as I got to bow hand in hand with Bill Irwin and Nathan Lane, alongside John Glover and John Goodman.

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
I would have to say Bill Irwin, although John Dossett is a very close second. Bill was a truly wonderful role model [while working on Waiting for Godot]. He has a level head and a kind heart. He was always professional onstage and warm and caring off. He used to come to my dressing room and show me magic tricks. I'll never forget celebrating his birthday with him, snacking on his favorites of cashew butter and blueberries.


Zoe Considine
Zoe Considine
Zoe Considine – A Christmas Story

Age: 12

From: Bernardsville, New Jersey

Favorite musical:
My favorite musical has always been Gypsy... I like the story… I have an older sister like Baby June and Louise and sometimes we joke around and call my mom Momma Rose. But I am currently obsessed with Matilda. I have already seen it twice and can't wait to see it again. Some of my friends are in it but also it's amazing!

First experience performing onstage:
It's hard to think about the FIRST time I performed because I kind of don't remember. I have been performing [dance] since I was [three]. But I can remember when I was in the production of Charlotte's Web… I played the baby spider and the audience responded to me. I realized then how much I liked performing in front of an audience. My mom tells me the story about when I was five. My sister had a voice lesson in our house. And when the voice teacher left, my mom started cooking dinner and my dad was working in his home office. She thought my sister was singing to practice what she had just learned, my mom thought ‘wow, she really has something. At the same time my mom came from the kitchen as my dad came out of his office. They both saw me standing there singing. They didn't know it was me until that very moment.

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
The Broadway actress I most admire is Kristin Chenoweth. I saw her perform for the first time when I was eight years old. It was at New York City Center. We had the worst seats, I couldn't even see her. But my mom told me all I had to do was listen. After the show, we waited for a really long time to meet her at the stage door. She was so nice and pretty. She talked to me and my sister. So, when she came to visit us backstage during A Christmas Story, I was freaking out. Although she would never remember meeting me the first time, I told her about it and she let me take my picture with her, which now hangs in my room. My wish is to sing with her someday. She is an amazing singer and actor.


Ethan Haberfield
Ethan Haberfield
Ethan Haberfield – Mary Poppins

Age: 13

From: Bergen County, New Jersey

Favorite musical: Avenue Q

First experience performing onstage:
When I was in the second grade we wrote a musical and I played a monkey. It all clicked for me that day, while playing [a] primate.

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
The Broadway actor that I admire most is Christian Borle. Christian was there for me when I made my Broadway debut in Mary Poppins and I respect him both as an actor and as a person.


Neil McCaffrey
Neil McCaffrey
Neil McCaffrey – Mary Poppins, Billy Elliot

Age: 14

From: Chatham, New Jersey

Favorite musical:
My favorite musical currently on Broadway is The Book of Mormon, but Rent is my favorite show of all time.

First experience performing onstage:
The first time I performed onstage was in a community theater production of Cheaper by the Dozen. I had this scene where I had to sing a song in German and I got a laugh. I think that was the moment that I decided I wanted to pursue performing.

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
I admire Hunter Foster and Celia Keenan-Bolger because of their versatility to play so many different kinds of characters.


Rozi Baker
Rozi Baker
Rozi Baker – Mary Poppins, Shrek, Bonnie and Clyde

Age: 14

From: I was born in New York City, but I live in Montclair, New Jersey now.

Favorite musical:
Wicked! I love it!

First experience performing onstage:
Do church Christmas pageants count? No? Then I'd have to say it was on a little stage at the JCC, where my Broadway Prep teachers, Amelia DeMayo and Deb Roberts, held the end-of-the-year productions. In my first one, I was Linus in Snoopy and Charlie Brown. The whole reason I started training in musical theater was because I wanted to play Jane Banks in Mary Poppins on Broadway. My first night…the boy who opened with me was the same boy who played Charlie Brown in my first production! Ethan Haberfield!

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:

 That's so hard to answer, because I have worked with so many actors and actresses who are masters of their crafts! My first Broadway show was Shrek, and I still consider myself…beyond blessed to have been able to watch a whole cast…of comedic singer-actors at the top of their game, in action, every night! They kept it fresh and funny every performance!


Matthew Gumley
Matthew Gumley
Matthew Gumley – Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, The Addams Family, Elf

Age: 16

From: I was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and moved to New York City when I was seven.

Favorite musical:
My favorite musical is Les Misérables. It was the first musical I ever saw on Broadway. I was four years old. I sat through the entire show mesmerized without moving, not even at intermission!

First experience performing onstage:
The first time I remember performing onstage was when I was five years old. I played the youngest Snow child in the musical Carousel.

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
I have had the privilege of working with so many amazing actors on Broadway and there are so many I admire, but Nathan Lane, who I worked with in The Addams Family, is a comedic genius! I learned so much by just watching him every night.


Kelsey Fowler
Kelsey Fowler
Kelsey Fowler – Grey Gardens, Mary Poppins, Sunday in the Park with George, Bonnie and Clyde

Age: 16

From: New Jersey

Favorite musical:
Oh, that's so hard! Wicked and Les Miz are the top two.

First experience performing onstage:
The first time I performed onstage was in third grade for a spoof of American Idol. I played Simon Cowell because I was the only student who could do [a] British accent. It was the first time I realized what joy performing can bring to other people. I made them laugh and smile and it made me feel so unbelievable and that's when I fell in love and "caught the bug."

Broadway actor/actress you admire most:
I most admire Laura Osnes for numerous reasons. She is so beautiful inside and out. Her talent is astounding and I've learned so much from working with her. Laura is the most humble, fun, kind, and loving person you'll meet and she is great at giving advice. She is wise and always treats everyone with kindness and respect. She's like a sister to me and I aspire to be as gracious and as talented as [she is] someday.