12-year-old Twin Cities actor makes Ordway debut with ‘Camelot’

Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press 5/8/15

Henry Constable has had a 2015 that would make most actors jealous: So far, he has been in “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie, “Oliver” at Theater Latte Da and “Hello, Dolly” at Chanhassen, with the next couple of months bringing “Camelot” at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and “The Music Man” at the Guthrie. Also, he is learning about integers. Constable is 12.

“I really don’t have time for much other stuff,” acknowledges busy Henry, a seventh-grader at Valley View Middle School in Edina who likes to fish and swim in his spare time. He had a chance to do those things when his family squeezed in a trip to Hawaii on a break between shows and he will also get a couple weeks off between “Camelot’s” May 17 closing and the beginning of rehearsals as a “River City boy” in “The Music Man,” which starts performances June 20.

Henry has been taking acting, singing and dancing lessons since he was 4, so he’s an old hand at the process of putting a play together — in fact, he was called and asked to audition for “Camelot.” But other aspects of this show are quite unusual.

This “Camelot” is a touring production in which the actor who plays the non-singing role of Tom of Warwick is selected in each city. Henry and Alec Fisher, who alternates with Henry as Tom of Warwick (and who also appeared in “Oliver”), won’t actually get to rehearse with the rest of the cast until two hours before the first show on May 12.

“I’ve been thinking about the character a little bit. We’ve been reading about him and about the story on the Internet,” says Henry, whose mom, Katie, has helped him prepare for that rehearsal.

“I think it’s going to be interesting and fun to work with all of these Broadway people.”

Working in his largest theater yet provides other intrigues for the young performer, who will be making his Ordway debut: “It’s exciting to be in new places. You haven’t been there before and you don’t know how the stage works or where everything is.”

Henry can’t pinpoint exactly what he likes about acting, but he does say hanging with the casts — and working with directors such as Chanhassen’s “really nice” Michael Brindisi — is a big part of the fun.

“The people in shows are always really nice. When shows end, sometimes kids are crying and it is sad,” says Henry, who has also acted in some commercials, including a Minnesota Twins spot where he was an excited fan. “I just always think to myself that I can see the people again because I’ve been in shows before where I’ve ended up seeing the people again. Or at auditions, I might see the kids again.”

Given how busy the seventh-grader has been lately, there’s a pretty good chance of that — and Henry says he’s always eager to get back on stage.

“It was exciting and everything when I had that little break and we were able to get out of town,” Henry says. “But, then, when I’m out of town, I always wish I was back in a show.”

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