By Bernie Petit
Elyssa Kim was the new girl two years ago, when her family moved to Charlotte from Houston.
The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte quickly gave her a place where she could meet like-minded kids her own age in a new city.
“They have so many people and kids like me that have this common interest,” said Elyssa, a seventh grader at Charlotte Latin. “It helps you make friends with people, especially with you moving here.”
Elyssa first got involved in the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte two summers ago, playing an orphan in a summer production of “Annie.” She’s since played Christmas story narrator Maxine in “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and mermaid princess Ariel in “A Little Mermaid.” (You may also recognize her from the Central Piedmont Community College production of “Les Miserables” back in November/December, where she played young Eponine.)
She’s acted for four years, dating back to her time in Houston. There wasn’t a particular show that drew her to the stage; rather, it was the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. She loves to sing and being onstage gives her the opportunity to do that and put herself in someone else’s shoes for a while.
It’s what keeps her engaged in the art form.
“It’s always a new adventure for me,” she said. “I always enjoy the thrill of singing and acting and dancing. There’s something about it that makes it unique whenever I do a song or a show.”
Her mother, Florence Kim, said she couldn’t imagine her daughter’s life without theater.
“For a child who isn’t really into sports, the arts for her are essential to her growth as a person,” Florence said. “She’s gained self-confidence that she wouldn’t have otherwise – she can get up in front of 100 people without batting an eye.”
One of the featured cultural contributors in 2014 Arts & Science Council (ASC) Annual Fund Drive campaign materials, Elyssa feels more at home in Charlotte these days.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, one of the more than 20 Mecklenburg County cultural organizations that receive unrestricted operating support through ASC, is a big reason why.
“It definitely brings different people together of all different ages,” she said. “I’ve made some great friends through theater.”
ASC is You & Me offering newcomers to our region a warm welcome through the arts.