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Sixth-grader stars at Syracuse Stage

Sixth-grader Nicholas Deapo is one of Central New York's most multi-talented students. The 11-year-old from Willow Field Elementary in Liverpool 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 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!"

Aspiring thespians all

The stage play features seven area youngsters in various roles. For instance, 8-year-old Hunter Metnick plays Ralphie's younger brother, Randy, and he steals scene after scene with his character's eccentricities such as eating like a pig and hiding in the cupboard under the sink.

Other local kids in crucial roles include 11-year-old Jamesville-DeWitt Middle Schooler Tristan Tierney as Schwartz, Baldwinsville 10-year-old Sara Goodwin as Esther Jan, and 11-year-old North Syracusan Madison Gregory as Helen.

Understudies such as Ted Potter from Oneida, Christof Deboni from Manlius Pebble Hill, Ashley Schultz from Syracuse's Living Word Academy and Liverpool lad Jamaal Wade take their turn on center stage on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at the 7:30 p.m. performance.

Deapo draws applause

Meanwhile, Deapo continues drawing applause and laughter from 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.

He also sports some cool costumes ranging from the infamously absurd bunny suit to a dashing white-Stetson-wearing cowboy.

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