Every coin has two sides.
Max Ackerman, 9, is the youngest member of the 40-plus person cast of Cincinnati Music Theatre’s Billy Elliot, opening Nov. 4.
On the flip side, he shares the Jarson-Kaplan Theater stage at the Aronoff Center with one of the city’s most veteran actresses, Marcie Brooks, 66.
Max is actually ahead of Marcie in terms of when he started doing shows, fourth grade to seventh. His first time on stage was as an orphan in Oliver over the summer with the East Side Players. Hers was playing Aunt Polly in a Mt. Healthy Junior High production of Tom Sawyer.
Marcie, however, has the slight edge in overall experience. By about half a century.
“I always played the old-lady parts, even when I was young,” Marcie said. “Now I’m finally playing a part appropriate for my age.”
That part is Billy’s grandma, one Marcie is enjoying.
“I love, Love, LOVE this show,” she said. “The kids are great. The family. The story. I love the dancing.”
While Max started his own YouTube channel a couple years ago, Billy marks just his second time on stage in front of a live audience.
“I just like how fun it is,” he said. “I just can make new friends.”
Off stage and camera, Max enjoys playing basketball and video games, as well as spending time with his older twin siblings.
Marcie went from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music to New York to pursue an acting career. She earned her Equity card, toured and did regional theater before getting into advertising. She came home to Cincinnati to run the family business and worked at Stepping Stones. Now retired, she runs her own knitting business.
“Isn’t that why we do theater,” she asked. “I love to be on stage, to perform. You make connections. With your character. Your cast. Your audience.”
Billy Elliot is based on the 2000 film of the same name, featuring a score by Elton John with book and lyrics by Lee Hall. It tells the story of Billy, an 11-year-old boy who wants nothing more than to dance at the Royal Ballet School in London. Set against a British coal mining strike in 1984-85, the rough-and-tumble realities of life make dreams difficult to pursue.
Tickets are available now online here or by phone at 513-627-ARTS.