Jackson Arevalo--Broadway Star!
Our sweet little Jackson, who is not quite 7 months old has joined some of the youngest in history to perform on Broadway!
Okay, let’s back track a little…
About a month ago, I was hanging out at the playground after school one day when a random lady came over to me and a friend. She proceeded to tell me all about this play that was looking to cast babies and would I be interested. I quickly brushed her off, saying ‘no thanks’ to the info she offered me, while thinking, “yeahhhh, this is definitely how children get trafficked, hard pass!” A couple days went by and I thought about that encounter again and decided to google it, and low and behold, it was actually a legit thing. There was a Broadway play that was in fact casting babies in their show. It was called The Ferryman and it is the first show in Broadway history to ever cast live babies in their show. I continued down this rabbit hole of research to realize that they had already done the initial casting in the Fall, so we had missed it. As I was reading about it, I discovered that in the state of NY, children have to be over 6 months old to obtain a work permit (lol), but the role calls for a baby who isn’t mobile yet, including rolling. Not only that, but they cast 4 babies for the one role. So I figured they have to be replacing those babies fairly often as they become mobile. I found the casting directors’ contact info and shot them an email with an iPhone “headshot” of Jackson. They responded and kindly told me they weren’t casting at this time, but they’d put me on a list to contact later. I figured that would be the end of it, because even if they did contact me later, Jackson would probably be on the move by then.
Fast forward a week or two, and I had just had Jackson’s 6 month check up, and I was pretty down about Jackson’s developmental delays. I know it isn’t anything major, but I can’t help but worry about him! Then the very next day, I got an email that Jackson was chosen to proceed with a casting call for The Ferryman if we wanted and as long as he still wasn’t mobile! Silver lining to Jackson’s delays! We quickly said yes and we went through the casting call. From there, they chose 10 babies to come in for an audition.
Now at this point, I hope you are laughing. Because yes, an audition for a 6 month old is hilarious. I had no idea what to expect, but I was just excited to go through the process. Many people spend their lives trying to make it on Broadway, and here we are stumbling into this incredibly random role. I was thankful that Jackson napped well and I nursed him right before his audition—what more could we do to prepare?! When I arrived at the theater, I was not at all surprised to be surrounded my parents taking this very seriously. Some parents were talking about how this could launch their child’s acting career or how their agent told them about the part because their baby is just so cute. Mostly, I just wanted to know how there were 10 babies who were 6-7 months old and not rolling haha.
What exactly happens at a baby audition? Yes, I was curious too. So here’s what happened:
They first had me bring Jackson onto the stage where the director and actors spoke in loud stage voices to him to see how he reacted to the strangely loud talking. Jackson was unphased by it, just scowling per usual. Next, they mashed up a couple of the scenes the baby is in to see how he would interact with his stage sister who will primarily have him on stage. One big scene is where the top of Act II, the baby is placed on a changing mat on the ground in the dark while some music starts to play and about 45 seconds later the sister comes out to tend to him. About half the babies didn’t make it through that part without freaking out. When it was Jackson’s turn, he started crying at the end, calmed down briefly once the lady was with him, but then started crying again when she held him. They cut the scene and brought him off to me.
I immediately text Ron that it was over and Jackson didn’t make it through the scene. But then the director told us to take a few minutes and we could try again after the next baby. Jackson’s second try went perfectly! He didn’t cry at all and was such a sweetheart with everyone who held him. We had to hang around the theater until everyone had finished, and then they dismissed us, telling us we would hear in the morning whether or not our child would be cast.
Less than an hour later, I got a phone call that they had chosen Jackson!!
So Jackson Arevalo is now a name you can find in playbills!
He is playing the role of Bobby Carney in The Ferryman, a story about an Irish (haha!) family and the IRA in the 1980’s. He will be in 4 shows a week over the next two or so months. Thankfully the show is literally on our street, so it will be a quick walk to “work” with him ;)
Today was his very first show! We walked over to the theater this afternoon. The stage manager met us outside and showed me where Jackson’s name was already up on the wall! We met many of the cast members, everyone was so friendly and excited to have Jackson in their stage family! From there we got settled into his dressing room and got him into costume. It was a very surreal afternoon! Here’s a few photos from the day:
It has been such an incredibly random journey getting here, but we are so proud and thrilled that our son gets to have such a unique experience! He is set for life to answer the question of, “tell us one interesting thing about you.”
We love you little Baby Bobby!