STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
Most 12-year-olds aren’t members of a professional union, but Malvern’s Lexi Gwynn now is. With her performance in The Media Theatre’s “The Miracle Worker,” Gwynn earns her Actors’ Equity theater performers’ union card. And she’s thrilled.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “It kind of qualifies that you’ve made it. You know what you’re doing. That confirms the fact that, like, I’m a real actor now.”
Gwynn, who was born in Newark, Del., has been performing most of her young life. When she was four, her dad, Frank, heard her sing in the car and was impressed with her talent. Dad and mom Ramona encouraged her to start lessons in acting, singing, and dancing soon after.
“I’ve been taking classes since I was, like, five-ish,” she said. “My first show was when I was about 7.”
That show was “The Sound of Music” in which she played Marta.
“It was a magical experience,” she said. “There’s always something special about your first show.”
Since then, among other shows, she has appeared in “Alice in Wonderland Jr.” at Walnut Street Theatre and “Les Miserables.” In that show, she played young Cosette, the adopted daughter of Jean Valjean, at The Media Theatre.
“That was a dream show,” she said. “I love ‘Les Mis.’”
Now, as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” Gwynn plays a young woman with physical struggles — she’s blind, deaf, and mute. But she’s smart, Gwynn said, even though she’s a little spoiled and always likes to get her way.
But mostly, “she’s frustrated. She wants to talk and she can’t hear,” Gwynn said. “Her parents think her frustration is madness.”
It’s a challenging role, but Gwynn is enjoying it. She hopes one day to play Christine in “The Phantom of the Opera” and other adult parts in “Les Miserables.”
For now, she’ll spend her time performing and going to school. Gwynn is a sixth-grade student at Academy of Notre Dame. She said they’ve been very supportive of her working as an actor. She likes school, especially classes in the arts and English.
“I’ve always been a writer and I love learning about different things that I can put into my writing,” she said.
She also likes spending time with her friends and her dog, a Chihuahua named Callie. But performing “is kind of my main thing,” she said. She wants to be a full-time working actor when she grows up. She likes the effect she can have on the audience.
“If someone has a bad day, I’ve been a person to cheer them up,” she said. “The main reason is I like to make people happy. I love to see the look on their faces, like, after the show when people tell me they liked it. I love seeing that joy in people.”
IF YOU GO
What: “The Miracle Worker”
When: Through Feb. 15
Where: The Media Theatre, 104 E. State St., Media, PA
Info.: Call (610) 891-0100 or visit www. mediatheatre.org