INDIANAPOLIS — He's a rising star and while he may be small, his spirit is big enough to light up a national stage on the Broadway tour of Les Miserables.
Henry Kirk is 11-years-old but the Park Tudor student is getting to take part in something many adults could only dream of, being a part of a Broadway show.
Kirk started dancing at a young age at The Dance Refinery on Indy's south side, where he continues to train today.
As the oldest of the three Kirk kids, he got a unique introduction to the arts through his younger sister.
"It's a funny story. My sister, she did dance and I was sitting outside," Kirk said. "She was like 1-year-old and didn't want to go in. So me, being the charismatic self that I am, I went in to the dance class and got interested and I just started from there."
Kirk says he has been dancing and performing for eight years now, and more recently fell in love with theater.
"My mom signed me up for a camp because I was doing musical theater at TDR at the time, and I just loved it," Kirk said. "It was so much fun, so my mom signed me up for a camp at Roncalli High School. The production was Willy Wonka."
Kirk says he enjoys performing live on stage because he can interact with the audience.
"I like seeing people happy and making them laugh," Kirk said. "It's fun to see their reactions."
A trip to New York City with his family sealed the deal.
"One trip to New York, we saw a lot of shows. We saw The Music Man and all the kids are in there and I was like, I want to be in The Music Man or some other kid production," Kirk said. "That was kind of the turning point where it wasn't a dream, it was an objective."
With the support of his parents, Kirk put his plan into action and focused on theater.
Kirk starred as Randy in the classic, A Christmas Story, at the Civic Theatre in Indianapolis, where he got to flex his performing muscles.
He also played Uncle Fester in a production of The Addams Family.
He eventually got connected to an agent and began producing self tapes that would be sent out to audition for different roles.
Kirk says it is a tough process and shares this advice with other kids who may be interested in following in his footsteps:
"Don't give up because you are going to get a lot of no's," Kirk said. "It's a process. You need to understand that sometimes you are not always going to get what you want, and you are going to have to roll with the punches, as my dad would say."
The young performer is now traveling the country in his national tour debut for six months with Les Mis playing the role of Gavroche, a boy who lives on the streets of Paris.
He says on a typical day on tour, he wakes up and drinks tea for his voice during breakfast. He then does his classwork from Park Tudor with help from a tour tutor. Next, they have a cast meeting and do sound checks. He may have a little break before getting ready for showtime.
His parents have been switching off who is on tour with him and who is home with his two siblings. Kirk also wanted to shout-out his grandma for helping make all of these transitions possible for his family.
"It's a hard process, but it pays out in the end. It's so worth it," Kirk said. "This is my passion and I really want to get into more Broadway shows."
He hopes to continue his dance training and look for more performance opportunities in the future.
Kirk encourages everyone to come see the production of Les Mis at one of their touring locations.
"It's a very fun show, and I would recommend coming to see it," Kirk said. "The cast members are really, really nice. And all the kids are very, very sweet people. We get along very well backstage. So, all good things about the show, it's very, very nice."
To learn more about the national tour you can visit https://www.lesmis.com/us-tour