Eleven-year-old Stapleton resident Zoe Stahlhut plays a young girl named Alice in the production of Benediction at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) beginning this February.
“I’m mostly excited but a little nervous,” says Stahlhut, who is a sixth-grade theatre major at Denver School of the Arts (DSA). This is her first DCPA production. Two other students from DSA are part of the production.
Benediction, based on the novel by Kent Haruf who died this past November, is a heavy drama that takes place in the high plains. Stahlhut’s character, Alice, is an 8-year-old tomboy who loses her mom and moves in with her grandmother. She meets two other people who are also grieving and together begin an unexpected journey to rediscovering meaning in life.
At times Stahlhut struggles relating to Alice because she’s never experienced tragedy. But, she also notices lately that Alice has very much become a part of herself, even outside the theater. “Sometimes I click into Alice. I run around more than I used to and now I’m a little less girly girl.”
At 5, Stahlhut appeared in a Honda commercial with her family. Afterward she began to pursue acting. She likes being able to transform into another person and place on stage.
She has auditioned for several DCPA productions, which she calls an “intense, challenging experience.” She rehearses for Benediction 3–7pm every day after school and says thankfully she really likes the other cast members.
She looks forward to the play’s opening but is very nervous to perform for her fellow classmates who will be going to the show. “They see me every day and they’re all older than me because I’m in sixth grade so I kind of feel like I look up to them and hope that I can have the same education they have.”
Stahlhut hopes to someday be a professional actor and perform on Broadway or star in a movie.
Benediction runs Jan. 30 through March 1, 2015. More information and tickets are available at http://www.denvercenter.org/shows.