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Glen Rock Actress to Hit MSG Stage in ‘A Christmas Story’

12-year-old Glen Rock girl cast in the Tony-nominated musical, returning to the Big Apple this week.

Gabriella Baldacchino / Photo credit: Yolanda Perez
Gabriella Baldacchino / Photo credit: Yolanda Perez

Forty-five minutes before “A Christmas Story: The Musical” began a touring show in Boston on Wednesday, Gabriella Baldacchino got the call: she would be going onstage.

“I was so excited. I sat with the dance captain and she and I went through all the notes and I wasn’t nervous, because I felt comfortable with the role,” she said. “It was great.”

The 12-year-old Glen Rock actress is no stranger to the stage, but she’s a step closer to her dreams of Broadway since joining the cast of the Tony Award-nominated production, set to return to New York Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

Baldacchino is “the swing” in the show, responsible for preparing to take any of four parts at a moment’s notice should one of her fellow cast members be unable to take the stage.

She was Louise on Wednesday, but is also ready to become Marybeth, Esther Jones or Nancy.

“A Christmas Story,” based on the classic movie tale of a 9-year old boy’s holiday season quest to obtain a Red Ryder BB gun, debuted on Broadway last year and earned a Tony nomination for best musical.

“It’s a more professional environment than a local show, and it’s very strict,” Baldacchino said. “It’s very different.”

Her theater credits include an award-nominated appearance in a Porch Light production of “The Goodbye Girl,” an Off-Broadway performance of “Freckleface Strawberry” and a casting alongside her sister in “Shrek: The Musical.”

So Baldacchino was prepared when she learned she would be stepping onto a larger stage.

“I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned the responsibilities of learning multiple parts and how important it is to know all your stuff,” she said. “I’ve learned the functions of what happens behind a Broadway stage.”

Baldacchino is also maintaining her schoolwork on top of the rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule.

“I don’t think people in quite understand what kids in this business have to go through,” said her mother, Jennifer Baldacchino.

Following stops in Hartford, Conn., and Boston, the show comes home to New York for a run at Madison Square Garden that goes through Dec. 29.

After that, Baldacchino plans on resting up, but not for too long.

“In the future, there’s definitely going to be something that comes up,” she said. “It’s so much fun and I just want to spend every day of my life on the stage performing.”

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