Theater & art

Rise

At 11, Aidan Gemme is already a stage pro

Aidan Gemme (left) with Jeremy Jordan during rehearsals for “Finding Neverland.”
Lane Turner/Globe Staff
Aidan Gemme (left) with Jeremy Jordan during rehearsals for “Finding Neverland.”

Age: 11

Hometown: Westchester County, NY

Think of: Fred Savage, from his “Wonder Years” days. Aidan has the same fresh-scrubbed innocence. But his dancing-singing-acting chops are reminiscent of another former child star, Neil Patrick Harris.

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What caught our eye: He exudes a boyish charm onstage, but he can also convey the wisdom and emotional maturity of a 40-year-old. Both traits come in handy for his current role of Peter in “Finding Neverland” at the American Repertory Theater. His resume reads like that of a real pro: He played Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins” on Broadway and played the Boy in “Waiting for Godot” with stage legends Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. He hadn’t read “Godot” before he landed the role, but he now understands its existential theme. “The Boy doesn’t really have a personality, and you can’t get information on him. I didn’t step into him. I just stepped out of myself.’’

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Lightbulb moment: “When I was really, really little, I said, ‘Mommy I want to be rich.’ I just wanted to be famous. I went to this audition, and I freaked out and never wanted to do it again. Three million gagillion kids were going to audition to get a manager, and you had to read something. I was 4, and I couldn’t read. We just left when it came to be my turn. But my friend Zach got me into it. I went to St. Louis and did a show [“Mary Poppins”] at The Muny, and I had so much fun. That’s when I knew I was meant to do it.”

Biggest thrill: “When the curtain came up on the first show of ‘Mary Poppins’ on Broadway. That was the first professional show that I did.”

Biggest surprise: “Just being able to play Peter. For some reason, it struck me that I really wanted to do this.”

Inspired by: “Steve Martin. I love, love ‘The Pink Panther.’ I met him once. I was like, ‘Why aren’t you speaking in a crazy French accent?’ Also, my brother Alexander. He just turned 15.”

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Aspires to: “Play Major League baseball. I play shortstop, first base, and I pitch. I live sports.”

For good luck: He doesn’t have a ritual or token. “I do my voice warm-ups, but that is not a special ritual. I’m superstitious overall, but not when it comes to acting.”

What people should know: “When I’m acting, don’t think, ‘Oh, look, I’m seeing Aidan.’ I want you to see a character. When I’m playing the violin in front of 25 people and I know half of them, I get really, really nervous. But when I’m playing someone else, I can step into it and not get nervous. What is nice about doing Peter is that he was an actual person. I can step into that and be who he was as if I’m actually living in 1904.”

Coming soon: He’s preparing for the transition to middle school after “Finding Neverland” ends its run at the ART on Sept. 28. “It’s the first year of changing classes.”

Links: www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/finding-neverland

Patti Hartigan can be reached at pattihartigan@gmail.com.