Freshman Sanders to lead the show

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Freshman Sanders to lead the show

Kavya Desikan

Kavya Desikan

Kavya Desikan

Athena Lewin, Staff Writer

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The fall musical, The Little Mermaid directed by Larry Sousa, runs from Friday, November 10 to Tuesday, November 21, and stars Thomas Sanders as Prince Eric and Emily Sawosik as Ariel.

Sanders has been acting in theater since fifth grade. He first began acting at SSPA, and the past few summers he has spent six weeks there.

“The first time I did SSPA, I’d never really had any intention of doing theater before that. But, […]  David Mills’ sister had been into the theater scene for a while and he was doing SSPA that year, and he asked if I wanted to do that with him, and I was like ‘okay sure’,” Sanders said.

Sanders has been in at least 20 shows, and his favorites are Summer Reading, School of Rock, Rent, and Grease. Summer Reading was Sanders’s first show.

“Summer Reading, which was written by Mr. Towers [..] that’s always going to be a special one to me because it was just magical the first time I’d ever done it,” Sanders said.

Sanders is passionate about the theater.

“It’s probably the thing I enjoy most, just music and acting, it’s a big part of my life,” Sanders said.

There are many actors who have inspired Sanders.

“I have a few favorites[…] Some of my favorites [actors] are Paul Rudd, Ewan McGregor, and Emma Watson,” Sanders said.

Being the only freshman cast as a lead, one would assume it would be intimidating, but Sanders said he doesn’t feel alienated, because he has made connections with the cast members he’s known for a while.

Sanders is incredibly thankful for getting the lead role but admitted that it is scary.

“I need to make sure I pull my weight, because [..] I hope I don’t disappoint anyone and I hope I can prove the people wrong who say I shouldn’t be cast because I’m a freshman,” Sanders said.

Westford Academy Theater Arts director Michael Towers says he has seen a lot of growth in Sanders. He describes him as sensitive and compassionate. As the person who runs SSPA, Towers met Sanders when he was entering 5th grade and has seen him grow into who he is today.

“He had a strong audition,” said Towers, “Thomas was a very, very strong candidate for big opportunities, so we were happy to give it to him. It is unusual that a freshman commands such a large opportunity, but he truly was our best candidate and […] [I am] very, very proud of him. He’s off to a good start,” Towers said.

A freshman has not been a lead in a Westford Academy Theater Arts show since 2010. But, freshman Thomas Sanders is a lead in this fall’s musical The Little Mermaid.