When Rome Corners Intermediate sixth grader Beau Jacobs was barely 5 years old, he performed in a play for the first time with the Oregon Straw Hat Players.
It was then he discovered his young passion for theatre while finding a family in the group.
Six years later, Jacobs, 11, is a paid actor starring in the Fireside Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Story,” as the lead Ralphie. He’s signed with Madison’s The Rock Agency, and will be part of a documentary tackling stereotypes around boys pursuing dance. Jacobs also has an upcoming audition for KIDZ BOP, a brand of compilation albums featuring kids singing G-rated versions of contemporary songs.
In “A Christmas Story,” a play based on the 1983 movie of the same moniker, Ralphie, a nine year-old from the 1940s town of Hohman, Indiana, wants a Range Model Air Rifle for his Christmas gift. After a series of adults telling Ralphie he will “shoot his eye out,” he fears getting the rifle might not be an option for him, learning a different lesson in the process.
Jacobs will perform in “A Christmas Story” until Sunday, Dec. 22. Tina Bastian, Jacobs’ mother, told the Observer he is double-cast with another performer, meaning he will star in the role in 30 out of 60 of the Fireside productions.
Bastian said she and the rest of the family are “in awe” of Jacobs – his fearlessness on stage and his courage for pursuing his budding career.
And Bastian said Jacobs living out his dreams at his age is thanks to some key local organizations and individuals, including the OHSP.
“We can’t stress enough the positive impact OHSP has had on Beau, specifically the influence of Jen Nichols, Beau’s ‘Theatre Mom,’” Bastian said.
Bastian said Nichols directed Jacobs during the OHSP production of “Les Miserables.” She also wanted to thank the “whole Kapusta family, not to mention the big kids he’s had the opportunity to share the stage with.”
A lot of Jacobs’ experience includes landing roles and ensembles in OHSP plays.
Those productions include being in the ensembles for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Hello Dolly,” “Big Fish” and “Miracle in Mudville;” Shepard in “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and Uncle Bill in “Believe.”
Additionally, Jacobs performed in “Titanic” with OSHP last summer and auditioned for “Sweeney Todd” last weekend.
“His home with (OHSP) has allowed him the safe place to blossom and grow,” Bastian said of her son.
But Jacobs’ love for performance doesn’t stop with acting and singing. Jacobs also enjoys dancing, mainly hip-hop and tap, voiceover work and even juggling. Jacobs also enjoys sports like basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis and karate.
In an attempt to balance all of Jacobs’ interests, Bastian said RCI has accommodate those needs with allowing Jacobs to take online classes.
All upcoming performances of “A Christmas Story” can be viewed on the Fireside Theatre website at firesidetheatre.com under the “Season” tab.