7th grader, Elijah Dixon, is performing in Joe Turner’s “Come & Gone” at the American Stage which is running from January 18 – February 27. The play shines a light on America’s newly freed men and women determined to take their rightful place in a new world.
Elijah plays Reuben Mercer, the boy next door, a role shared with partner Tyrese Pope. He joins a cast of veteran actors, one of whom, Kim Sullivan, is the only actor to have performed in all ten of Wilson’s American Century Cycle at the same venue. This doesn’t make him nervous, though.
“The older actors are all very nice to me and give me advice,” Elijah said. “One of them even told me not to go down at the end of my sentences, but to always go higher. That way the audience can understand you better and understand the inflection.”
Elijah’s acting career began at Perkins Elementary School Center for the Arts where he was cast as Mr. Bumble in “Oliver!” and Carpenter Thomas in “The Island Of Weekie Wala Wala”. He has been participating in the American Stage’s summer programs for two years, where he was selected to play Fat Sam Staccetto in “Bugsy Malone, Jr.” and Mr. Gerald Blushing in “Rockin’ The Band”. In fact, it was from this summer program that Elijah was selected for his part.
“They said I was one of the best, and that’s why they decided to call me in,” he said. “I felt really excited, like I was famous or something.”
This is the largest production Elijah’s ever been a part of. “We’ve been rehearsing since the beginning of December,” he says. “I go to the theatre five to seven days a week to rehearse and I also run lines with my family at home.”
This definitely isn’t the end for him though.
“Acting is one of the careers I plan on doing for the rest of my life. I’m going to keep doing the summer program, and I’ll take advantage of any roles that come up.”
Elijah is performing Wednesdays and Saturdays through now until February 26th at the American Stage. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit americanstage.org/joeturner/.