A local schoolgirl has made her West End debut with a starring role in a hit musical.
Jennifer King graced the stage in School of Rock in London last weekend, after successfully going through tough auditions and months of rehearsals.
Based on the hit film from 2003, the musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed rock star who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There, he turns a class of straight-A students into a rock band. The production features music from the movie, as well as new songs written by Andrew LLoyd Webber.
The children’s cast comprises three teams of twelve, who share the roles on a rotation and play live at every performance.
And Jennifer, from Newton-le-Willows, will be one of the three girls starring as pint-sized prodigy Tomika.
The 11-year-old made her debut in front of a packed house at the Gillian Lynne Theatre last weekend, and said: “It was really good to be around the audience and see how they reacted.
“We’ve been rehearsing for weeks, so to perform with the audience there was brilliant, it was amazing.”
“I’ve never done a West End production before, so before the start I was a bit nervous, but also excited. But as the show went on, I got more used to it and the environment.”
Jennifer will be balancing her time between performing at the weekends and settling in during her first weeks of secondary school at St Edmund Arrowsmith in Ashton. She spent the last two months living in London while preparing for the big role.
“It was really good,” she said of life in the capital.
“I’ve met loads of new people, which is good. They are great fun to be around.”
And Jennifer is no stranger to the limelight, having appeared on The Voice Kids UK last year.
Proud dad Jonathan said: “We’re very excited for her. We’re not form a musical background or anything, so it’s been a whole new experience for all of us.
“She’s always been into singing and performing. She signed up with Stagebox (an award-winning musical theatre school) and got in their elite team in Manchester.
“She was put forward for various things, TV, film etc. She joined in January, and auditioned in March for School of Rock. She went through various rounds of auditions, and a couple of months ago she got selected for the leading role.”
He added: “She’s been very excited. She’s a bit nervous but just really looking forward to it all.”
School of Rock - The Musical is currently booking up to January 2020.