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Willow Field sixth-grader stars in 'A Christmas Story'

Willow Field Elementary sixth-grader Nicholas Deapo is one of the Liverpool Central School District's most multi-talented students. The 11-year-old plays violin, piano and percussion and sings in the 2010 All-District Chorus.

Deapo not only plays music, he also writes it. Four years ago he won the "Hey Mozart" Young Composer Competition sponsored by Hartwick College. Five years ago he played Tiny Tim in Syracuse Stage's production of "A Christmas Carol."

This year he's starring as Ralphie Parker in Syracuse Stage's version of "A Christmas Story" based on the 1983 film of the same name which is in turn based on a memoir by the late Jean Shepherd. We all know Ralphie - he's the kid who wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, but everybody tells him, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

The stage play features seven area youngsters in various roles including a talented Baldwinsville gal, 10-year-old Sara Goodwin as Esther Jane, and 11-year-old Madison Gregory from North Syracuse's Roxboro Road Middle School as Helen.

Liverpool lad Jamaal Wade, a 12-year-old who attends Chestnut Hill Middle School, fills in as an understudy for three roles, Flick, Schwartz and Farkus. Wade and his fellow understudies take their turn on center stage on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at the 7:30 p.m. performance.

Deapo drawing applause

Meanwhile, Deapo continues drawing applause and laughter from his downtown audiences.

His theatrical asides are particularly priceless, as in the fantasy scene when an older Ralphie returns home blinded by soap poisoning, and the kitchen scene in which his crocodile tears win him a reprieve from punishment.

Did I mention that Nick Deapo is a young man of many talents? Besides performing on the bandstand and the stage, he's an insatiable reader and movie-goer and a dedicated student of American history.

"A Christmas Story" continues at Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genesee St., at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22-23, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 26-27, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 and closes at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30. Ticket prices cost between $16 and $48; 443-3275.

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