6-Year Old Newport Boy Takes Center Stage as Tiny Tim at Playhouse
Thu, 11/26/2015 - 13:03 RCN Newsdesk
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article identified Weghorst as being from Ft. Thomas, but he is from and lives in Newport while attending school in Ft. Thomas. RCN regrets the error.
Henry Charles Weghorst makes his debut as Tiny Tim in Playhouse in the Park’s holiday favorite A Christmas Carol continuing through December.
The Moyer Elementary School first-grader is the youngest Tiny Tim ever for Playhouse, and a tiny Tiny Tim at 3’9” and 45 pounds. (Bruce Cromer’s Ebenezer Scrooge must be delighted to hoist Henry onto his shoulder once the cranky old miser has had his life-changing Christmas Eve adventure with the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and To Come.)
Henry, who lives in Newport, is already a theatre veteran: he’s been in The Four Little Pigs at The Drama Workshop, in Frozen with de la Dance Company, and Fort Thomas Independent Schools’ Goldie and the Bears. Opera fans saw him last (carrying a lantern) in Cincinnati Opera’s sumptuous production of Puccini’s Turandot.
It was playing a Yule Sprite for Christ Church Cathedral’s 75th annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival last year that brought Henry to auditions for Carol. (He’s a member of the Cathedral’s Choir of Children & Youth.) The Cathedral’s Sprites have to be five. He was already thinking about what to do when he turned six.
His mom, Rosemarys suggested trying out for Tiny Tim, warning Henry that he’d be competing for the role with boys who were older but Henry was unfazed. Henry says he told her, “I want to do that!”
Carol director Michael Haney says with a smile, “He’s just as cute as a bug. He projects cuteness. But he’s an old soul. And so focused!”
Developing that focus was hard work. Henry started practicing for the Carol audition, “like Dec. 13 of last year.”
He performed Shakespeare – Puck’s closing monologue from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – and the secret of his focus just might be his eight year-old sister Charlotte, who had orders to distract Henry any way she could when he was practicing, including singing and dancing.
“One time she threw bean bags at me,” he reported, sounding both proud and affronted.
Carol is a job – rehearsals, daytime school performances that take Henry out of school (Moyer Elementary, which counts Henry as its third Tiny Tim, has been terrific, Rosemary Weghorst says), as well as evening performances and two performances on Saturdays and Sundays.
He’s reminded that he has to be on time, get a lot of sleep, and stay healthy. (Not by his director, by his mom.)
Is being in one of the biggest professional theater productions of the year harder than he thought it would be? Ever insouciant, Henry says, “No! It’s easier than I thought it would be!”
That includes walking with Tiny Tim’s crutch, which Henry brought home several times during rehearsals to work with, but, Henry says, “I just wanted to. I didn’t need to.”
Henry demonstrated his mastery of math as he gleefully added up his salary over the several weeks of rehearsals and performances (It’s all going into a Roth IRA).
Like just about every other young actor in Carol through the years, his favorite part of the show is hanging out with the other kids backstage (They play games, have a Secret Santa and make new friends).
While Henry enjoys chess, baseball, basketball, soccer and tennis, he’s looking for his next acting opportunity and is eager to audition for Carol again next year.
A call did come in from Christ Church Cathedral to see if Henry would be available to play a Sprite again this year, despite the age rule. “I told them he was booked,” his mom laughed.
And of course you can guess what Henry’s favorite line of dialogue is: “God bless us, everyone!”
A Christmas Carol, Nov. 25-Dec. 30. Playhouse in the Park, Eden Park. 7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, 2 p.m. matinees. Check performance dates. No performances on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Tickets $35 and up. For adults and subject to change. $30 and $45 children and students. 513-421-3888, (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visitcincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.
Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts