On stage: Aidan Brito, 9, (far left) plays Grover Dill in the Walnut Street Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story, The Musical. SOURCE: MARK GAVIN
Grover Dill will almost certainly be getting coal in his stocking this Christmas.
“Grover Dill is really mean,” said Aidan Brito, a 9-year-old from Holme Circle.
Aidan is a young actor who plays Grover Dill in the Walnut Street Theatre’s production of A Christmas Story, The Musical, which debuted on Nov. 10 and will run through Jan. 10.
The Grover character is a bully in the show.
“Sometimes, I have to be really, really mean,” Aidan said of playing the character. “It’s really fun to play him.”
Aidan, a Shipley Road resident who is in fourth grade at the Commonwealth Connections Academy cyber school, is actually a nice kid, unlike the naughty Grover.
“I’m not a bully in real life. I’m just pretending to be a bully in the show. Grover Dill is really, really, really mean,” he said.
Aidan has some acting experience. In 2012, he played Tiny Tim in the Walnut Street Theatre production of A Christmas Carol.
Since then, he has appeared on Show Me a Hero, a mini-series on HBO. He’s also done commercial work, including Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, Glade Plug-Ins, Pandora necklace and Nissan. He has also been seen on the Academy of Music’s stage in the opera Nabucco.
William Brito, Aidan’s dad, explains to his son that while the boy is acting mostly for fun, for the adult performers, acting is a profession.
Brito is proud of the way his son juggles his school work and acting responsibilities.
“He’s a straight-A student, even with his busy schedule,” he said. “He’s really dedicated to his schooling and the show.”
Jared Brito, Aidan’s 14-year-old brother, is also an actor. He’s been in commercials, in the final episode of Boardwalk Empire, in a Walnut Street Theatre production of Elf and played Winthrop in The Music Man.
A Christmas Story, The Musical is making its Philadelphia premiere following two sold-out seasons on Broadway.
In 1940s Indiana, a boy named Ralphie wants a BB gun for Christmas, but finds it hard to realize his dream gift.
Aidan said that, while he bullies Ralphie in the show, he is friends off stage with the two actors who share the role.
The show is based on a 1983 movie, and features music, dancing and comedy.
“A Christmas Story is really, really fun,” Aidan said. “It’s so funny. I love it because it’s for kids, but it’s really, really fun for everybody. I love all the characters. I watch the movie every year at Christmas time. I know every scene. I love the movie, but the play is a little better because of the songs.”
Aidan has a fairly prominent role in the show.
“I’m on the stage a lot,” he said. “I’m on for most of the big, big scenes.”
Off stage, Aidan likes to play outside with his friends. He enjoys playing baseball and basketball, drawing and playing with Legos. His favorite hangouts are the Pollock and Crispin parks.
Aidan, of course, is looking forward to Christmas.
“I haven’t made my list yet,” he said.
Still, he is eyeing a computer, an iPod and “a couple of video games, too.”
The Walnut Street Theatre is at 825 Walnut St. Tickets range from $20 to $95.
There are no shows on Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Call 215–574–3550 or visit www.walnutstreettheatre.org for show times or more information. ••