Olivia Gesualdi and Brian Roque are classmates at LaSalle Academy, where they have performed together in “Romeo and Juliet” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
The two schoolmates, Olivia from Cranston and Brian from Warwick, will be together on stage at Warwick’s Ocean State Theatre Company’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” opening March 26.
I caught up with the two delightful teenagers at OSTC’s rehearsal space above the stage, where they were one week into rehearsals with another week and a half to go. Neither were strangers to acting, although it is their first time on a professional stage, working with experienced adult actors.
“It is so different working with adults on stage,” Olivia said. “They are so helpful, and you learn so much from them.”
Olivia has performed at Theatre Works and the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket.
“My mom looks for auditions for me,” she said. “I would love to do musical theatre in New York City. I’m also interested in opera and would love to go to a school like Julliard.”
Brian has performed with the RI Youth Theatre, appeared in Trinity’s “A Christmas Carol” and has been in two short films.
“I’m very interested in pursuing film and screenwriting,” he said. “I’d like to go to Yale or a school in New York City.”
Director Amiee Turner has turned to two additional local actors, including Rudy Sanda of Cranston and OSTC’s PR person, Karen Gail Kessler, who has performed for many years with the Community Players. Both young actors have read the play and collection of Anne Frank’s letters, in addition to studying the history of the Nazi persecution during World War II.
“I’m excited about playing Anne, who was my age,” Olivia said.
She is cutting her hair for the role and has donated it to charity.
When asked if they had anything to add, both young people replied, “Come and see the show”.
I’ll be there, and hope you will, too.