Young Arlington Heights actor can't escape 'A Christmas Story'
Cody Bolithon is having a busy holiday season.
By day, Cody is a seventh-grader at South Middle School in Arlington Heights. But on nights and weekends, the 12-year-old is on stage in The Paramount Theatre's production of "A Christmas Story -- The Musical." Cody plays Sammy, a member of the ensemble and a friend of main character Ralphie. He performs eight shows a week in the Aurora theater's production, which opened this week and runs through Jan. 3.
He is also learning the lines and dance moves as the understudy for Ralphie, in case he has to go on in the lead role.
All the nights of driving back and forth from Aurora for rehearsal, staying up late to do homework and spending whole weekends on two-a-day performances have been worth it, though.
"When you get up on stage and you finish a number and the crowd is cheering for you, it's a really nice feeling," he said.
Cody was 8 when he took his first acting classes at Metropolis' School of the Performing Arts in Arlington Heights. He's been in "Oliver" and "Billy Elliot" at Drury Lane in Oak Brook, and he played Rudolph in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at the Broadway Playhouse.
Every role he takes on makes him enjoy acting a little more.
"I like that there is a lot of teamwork involved, too. The whole cast becomes kind of like a family," he said.
Cody's mom, Yolanda, said it has been exciting to see him progress from one show to the next and find a group of friends among other young actors in the Chicago area.
"To see him up there having fun and doing his thing -- it couldn't be better," she said.
Cody won the 2014 Chicago Bulls Kids Talent Search and sang the national anthem before a game last year.
He will get a break from his busy schedule on Christmas Day, but he probably won't escape "A Christmas Story" entirely. TBS has notoriously played the 1983 movie for 24 hours straight from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day for several years.
"I'm just glad I'll get to spend that day with my family," Cody said.
So is being a normal 12-year-old and a child actor exhausting or fun?
"A little bit of both," Cody said. "But, mostly fun."
Tickets to "A Christmas Story" are $41-$56 at The Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. For tickets and information, go to ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666 or visit the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and two hours before evening performances.