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Frankfort teen has a role in stage production of ‘Annie’

KaylRe(back row far left) plays lil’ orphan Duffy 'Annie' Paramount Theatre Aurora.

Kayla Rea (back row, far left), plays lil’ orphan Duffy in "Annie" at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

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Updated: January 25, 2013 6:07AM



Kayla Rea, 12, has been studying singing, dancing and acting since she was a toddler.

All that hard work is paying off for the Frankfort pre-teen.

In the last two years, she’s appeared in several musical productions, made commercial recordings and even danced in a foreign film.

Kayla’s now performing one of her biggest roles as “Duffy,” one of the optimistic orphans in the production of “Annie” at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora.

Kayla is all smiles about her role.

Duffy “is the oldest orphan so she gets to be in charge, and she gets to sing this solo, ‘You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,’” she said.

And if she had the chance to trade her role for the lead part of Annie?

“I think it would be fun, but I don’t think that’s me,” Kayla said.

Her show biz role reflects her family role as the oldest of four children. Rea lives with her parents, Evan and Lynette, and siblings Alyson, 10, James, 7, and Tyler, 4, and Barney, the family’s pet beagle.

Although she’s a typical pre-teen in many ways — texting her best friend, shopping, or doing her homework — Rea’s free time is all about entertainment.

She’s not only willing to spend long hours in rehearsals and performances — sometimes eight hours at a time — but to spend long periods away from home.

At 10, Kayla was on tour for four months with “A Christmas Story, the Musical,” playing the “swing” role of four different characters.

“She totally nailed it,” Evan Rea said.

Kayla’s father knows what he’s talking about.

Evan Rea is an entertainer in his own right, a musician and a music teacher who teaches from his home studio, Evan Rea Studios.

He’s currently the musical director for “Annie,” but said he had no input into his daughter’s casting. In fact, Rea said, he was actually hired after his daughter landed her role.

Inheriting her father’s musical ability was only half of the genetic equation for Kayla.

Lynette Rea is the music director at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Frankfort and has encouraged her daughter on several occasions to audition for parts in musicals.

The Reas said because their daughter spends her free time at home singing, dancing and writing her own plays, they encourage her to do what she loves.

“She’s constantly making up dances and singing around the house — nonstop,” her parents said.

And although Kayla will confess to being “a little nervous” about some of her auditions, that’s a distant second to how nervous she becomes until she finds out if she got the part.

For Kayla, nothing compares to being onstage.

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “I’d do it, like, a million times.”

“Annie” plays through Sunday at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena St., Aurora. For information call (630) 896-6666 or visit ParamountAurora.com.



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