Roni Akurati walked into his 25th audition not knowing a thing
about Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, or
the story that has become as much a part of Chicago at the Goodman
Theatre as Christmas itself. But the tiny Lake Zurich fourth-grader
who likes math and social studies, speaks English and Telugu and
who has been acting since he was "6 or 7," would soon learn he
nabbed the important role of Tiny Tim.
We spent a few moments with him the day before rehearsals
Why did you want to be in "A Christmas
Because I love acting and I want to do more of it. You haven't
seen it? When (mom Ranjani) said Christmas Carol, then I'm
thinking, it's about Christmas. So I wanted to go to (the audition)
because I wanted to be in a Christmas show because well, Christmas
is fun and you get presents.
What is your favorite thing to do on stage or in
front of people?
Everything. (He giggles.)
Do your friends at school know you are an
Some. When I was in third grade, I was in a TV show and my
teacher put it up on the board with important things to remember.
She put 'at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Roni's show appears on TV
How do kids feel about you being an
They went 'wow, you must be rich.' I said, 'I'm not that rich,
I'm only a kid.' And then they are like, 'you must own a mansion in
two years.' And now it's two years later and I'm still acting and
we're not rich at all. Not even rich!
What is one thing that people don't know about
That I like to dance because like, people at my school think
dancing is not cool and if you are an athlete and stuff you can't
dance. I don't think that because football players have to kind of
actually learn ballet and stuff and Hines Ward, he is on a dancing
show and he is on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What do you do for fun?
I like to play football, but only with friends in my backyard.
(He says he prepares for auditions an hour a day after his homework
is done, isn't allowed to watch the Disney channel and doesn't
watch too much TV except for Sundays to watch the Bears and
Philadelphia Eagles-he likes Eagles QB Michael Vick. By the way,
he's getting As and Bs at Prairie Elementary in Buffalo
What do you think you'll like most about being Tiny
Probably having a new experience in acting and seeing just how
they act in this play and observing everyone and my character
What do you think of Ron Rains, aka Bob
He's really funny.
Rains told you Tiny Tim's famous line a little bit
ago. Do you remember it?
God bless us all or something.
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.
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