Five Broadway Debuts From Five Excited Miz Kidz
Les Misérables' newest group of talented tykes take us all the way from callbacks to ill-fated games of backstage Uno.
Broadway debuts are thrilling at any age, but when you can still count your age on two extremities, those bright lights just seem to shine a little bit brighter. The latest revival of Les Misérables recently welcomed five new Miz Kidz to the cast and, in the process, made five more Broadway dreams come true. These new cast members are Athan Sporek (Gavroche, age 7); Sam Chuck (Gavroche, age 10); Fabi Aguirre (Little Cosette, Young Eponine, age 9); Lilyana Cornell (Little Cosette, Young Eponine, age 9); and Eleanor Koski (ensemble, age 9).
TheaterMania chatted with all five Broadway newcomers (and newly christened "BFFs") in the house of the Imperial Theatre before one of their performances. While shooting the breeze about dream roles, hidden talents, and pre-show meals, the young pros eagerly recounted their own Broadway success stories, most of which featured heaps of dumbfounded parents and lakes of happy tears.
Congratulations on all of your Broadway debuts! Can you tell me a little about your auditions and how you all found out you got these parts?
Athan: I auditioned and then I got a callback, so I went and I practiced a lot of times. Then I got the part and I was so excited. My manager texted my mom about it and then she brought my whole family to the house.
Fabi: I was a little nervous because it was my first Broadway audition. I sang "Castle on a Cloud." They called my agent and my agent called my parents and then when I came back that day from school my dad acted like, "Oh, you didn't get it." and I was like "Okay." And then he was like "You got it!" and I was like "Yayyyy!"
Lilyana: I auditioned for the part two years ago and I made it to the final callbacks but I didn't get it. This year I tried again and I got a callback and for my callback I sang "Soon" from Thumbelina and "Castle on a Cloud." When my dad FaceTimed me he said, "You got the role!" and I literally froze — like my hamster. And I started crying. My mom was crying too.
Sam: I hadn't seen Les Mis at all. I'd heard about it but I didn't really know any of the roles. I auditioned for the role with Athan and a few other boys and it went really good. I was really excited for it and then after two weeks I was like, "All right, I didn't get it." And then one day, it was a half day at school and I came home and my mom was trying not to smile because she got the call from my agent. My dad brought in an ice cream cake and it said, "You are Gavroche," and I started crying really badly. Then I stuck my face in the cake because I really wanted to eat the sprinkles. Then I went to bed that night and was like, "Wow, I'm gonna be on Broadway."
Eleanor: I actually got an audition from an agent that's not mine yet…So we sent in a recording and my dad said, "They're probably not going to respond." And the next day we actually got an e-mail saying, "We want her up, we like her." So I went up for the audition, and it went really well. And that same day my dad and I were shopping and my dad went, "You got a callback!" and I started screaming in the store. Then I went to the callback and I thought it went really well. We waited for about three or four weeks and I found out I got the part, which was just amazing.
What was the first Broadway show you ever saw?
Athan: My first Broadway show was Kinky Boots.
Fabi: I saw Matilda. And I saw Les Mis in November before I knew about the audition. It was phenomenal. I was speechless.
Lilyana: This was my first Broadway show. I saw it the day after my audition, and my mom said, "You saw in your brain that you were gonna be up on that stage singing 'Castle on a Cloud.'"
Sam: My first show was Mamma Mia! I remember we sat in the first row in the front mezzanine and that two and a half hours I blanked out because it was so amazing.
Eleanor: My first show was Mary Poppins. And the day after my audition I went to see Les Miz for the second time and I just knew I wanted to be on that stage performing.
So do you all get along?
Fabi: We laugh hysterically.
Sam: I make them laugh.
Lilyana: Once I almost fainted.
Sam: She pushed me and my face went in a garbage can.
Fabi: We were playing Uno and he stole one of my cards — a Green three — and I was like "Give me back my card!" and then I pushed him accidentally into the trash can. [laughs]
Lilyana: And that's why none of us touch that card.
Athan: It's an unlucky card.
What are all of your go-to pre-show meals?
Sam: Sushi. It's amazing. And I drink Starbucks…sometimes.
Fabi: I'm really picky. I don't like seafood or animals. My favorite things would be pasta, lasagna, and beans.
Lilyana: Mine are cheese, cheese, and more cheese. I love cheese .
Fabi: She's like from Wisconsin.
We know you all can sing and act, but do any of you have any other hidden talents?
Lilyana: I am a lover of animals. A lot. And I'm a dancer, gymnast, and I do hip-hop….I play flute.
Fabi: I swim, dance, I hula-hoop …
Sam: I do tap and hip-hop and I used to do gymnastics. I like to go on Roblox and build different kinds of sets — like stage sets….[and] I used to play guitar.
Eleanor: Tap, dance, swimming, and I love taking pictures….I also do harp.
Athan: I dance, I do violin, and I do gymnastics.
Lilyana: We could be a whole band!
Sam: Miz Kidz! [makes guitar noises]
If you could play any other role on Broadway, what would it be?
Lilyana: I have three. Older Cosette, Older Eponine, and Fantine!
Fabi: Older Cosette, Older Eponine, Fantine, probably Madame Thénardier, I'd like to be Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Matilda when I get older, or Annie.
Eleanor: Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. I would love to be in Matilda just as a random character. I would love to be Older Cosette, Older Eponine, or Christine from Phantom of the Opera.
Sam: I have four. I want to be Jack from Honeymoon in Vegas, cuz that's a really fun role. I want to be Mrs. Wormwood in Matilda, cuz she's the best. I want to be Javert [so I can] go on that cool set piece and die. [laughs] I die four times a week.
Athan: I would want to steal Ramin's part and become Jean Valjean.
Fabi: You'll just have to grow a few abs first.
Eleanor: Keep dreaming.