Ava Della Pietra, 8, played the role of Little Cosette.
by Christine Sampson, Editor , August 26, 2013
So many little girls who grow up loving musical theater aspire to be on stage themselves some day, and for Ava Della Pietra, that dream has already come true.The eight-year-old Setauket Elementary student recently returned from traveling the country with the 25th anniversary national tour of "LES MISÉRABLES," which visited 32 cities in the U.S. since December of 2012. She got to perform the role of Little Cosette, singing the song "Castle on a Cloud" in front of audiences that often numbered more than 2,000. "It's a beautiful show," she said. "It has beautiful music. There's a lot of feelings in the show." One of five young actors in the production, Ava said she never got stage fright and was only a little bit nervous at her audition. "Once I heard the music, I felt really comfortable," she said.Not only did Ava say she met some of the nicest people she'd ever met while on tour, but she said she also learned a lot from the professionals around her. In between shows and schoolwork, she had the chance to take violin lessons, piano lessons, tap lessons and acting lessons from the actors and musicians with whom she performed. Ava said she also learned a very important lesson about the theater business."It takes patience to be an actor," she said.
On a typical day on the tour, Ava said she would wake up at 10 a.m., eat breakfast and then be at the theater group's school by 11 a.m. She worked with a tutor for four hours per day, then had to eat dinner quickly before the curtain call. The shows would often end very late."Then I would read a book and go to bed," she said.
Michael O'Donnell, resident director of the 25th anniversary tour of "LES MISÉRABLES," was responsible for teaching roles to new actors, including Ava. He said she made his job very easy by following directions well. "I learned rather quickly that Ava was beyond her years in many ways," O'Donnell said in an email to Patch. "Not only is she a very talented violinist, she is also a top notch quick study. She came to her first day of rehearsal as prepared as any professional actor I have worked with."
For now, Ava is looking forward to going back to school at Setauket Elementary, where her favorite subjects are math and science. She said she is excited for the annual lip synch talent show, which she missed this past year while on tour with "LES MISÉRABLES."Ava's parents, Pam and Stephen, traveled with her on much of the tour, while her nanny, Linda Darcy, and her paternal grandparents also traveled with her to some of the cities.
Pam Della Pietra called it "a remarkable experience."
"There’s a lot of people we feel very thankful to in the production," she said. "I’m glad it was such a positive experience for Ava and we look forward to her continuing in the field as long as she would like to."