UPPRER MONTCLAIR, NJ - At Upper Montclair’s Studio Playhouse this weekend and next, you and your family can see the final Magic Trunk Production of the season “Stuart Little”, directed by Alicia Hayes and adapted by Joseph Robinette.
The hilarious children’s play follows the adventures of E.B. White’s pint-sized hero Stuart Little (played by Kieran Wells of Montclair), the new mouse son of the Littles (Aaron Kellner and Alexis Saarela) and mouse younger brother of George Little (played by Gabriel F. Nazario-Quinones of Bloomfeld).
Nazario-Quinones has a few things in common with George, such as having brothers, pets, and a first name starting with the letter G. However, he viewed the 1999 live action/computer animated hybrid film version of Stuart’s Little’s tales, starring Michael J. Fox voicing Stuart, for research purposes to learn more about his character.
“I watched the first movie to see how George and most of the other characters I play act. I haven’t really included much from the movie because George’s lines and the way he acts differ from the movie. In this play George is a bit jealous of Stuart since he’s not the favorite child. So I try to act like I care about Stuart while being a little bit jealous.”
The 12-year-old homeschooled seventh grader is no stranger to Studio Players. He first participated in the Essex Youth Theater, a youth theater arts school based in Studio Playhouse, about four years ago. His mom Lisette then learned about auditions for Charlie Lovett’s “A Hairy Tale”, a retelling of Rapunzel, during the theater’s 2014-2015 season. Nazario-Quinones decided to audition due to his appreciation of performing onstage.
Thereafter he was featured in the theater’s productions of “Snow White & the Seven Fairy Godmothers” and “The Cat in the Hat”. He has also performed in musicals “The Wizard of Oz” at Rhino Theatre in Pompton Lakes and “A Christmas Carol” at the Off-Broadway The Davenport Theatre in New York City and the play “Lost in Yonkers” at the Wayne YMCA. In addition to theater, he is a musician as well and has been playing the trumpet for two years and the violin for five.
As for his experiences in “Stuart Little”, like most of the cast members, he plays multiple characters in addition to George Little, and it is actually one of these other roles that he finds the most memorable.
“In my role as Mr. Clydesdale (a dental patient with decayed teeth) I had to wear a fake mustache along with cotton balls in the side of my mouth to muffle what I was saying. After that, Adam (Adam Ziering of Montclair, who plays Dr. Carey) put gauze in my mouth which were just some more cotton balls, causing the mustache to slip off of my face and fall to the floor.”
Through rehearsals and performances, he enjoys the process and seeing the show’s development come to fruition.
“I love playing different characters and stepping into different personalities. I’m looking forward to the shows, and seeing how much we all have progressed through this play.”