ST. CLOUD - Playing a Chinese soldier in GREAT Children Theatre's production of Mulan Jr., St. Cloud South Junior High seventh grader Alexis Handley feels right at home.

Alexis Handley
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

She says, "It's such an amazing feeling because when you're a character, you're playing that character and people can judge that character, they can't judge you. It's amazing."

Aimee Miron is one of the director's for Mulan Jr. She says Alexis has become a veteran at GREAT Children's Theatre.

"Here at Mulan rehearsals we really rely on Alexis," says Miron, "She is a leader. She is one of the cast members that we look to, to be an example for other cast members. We also look for her to teach, and guide our other cast members who are new."

Miron's counterpart, director Jon Legg, says Alexis shines in the public eye.

"She is better than she realizes at it. Very outgoing, very exciting, kind of turns on like a light switch when she gets on stage. It's really impressive to watch her. Off stage she is very serious, and then she steps on, and just becomes those characters. It's really fun to watch her transformations," says Legg.

Alexis got her start in acting after her aunt told her she should audition. She got a part in her first performance, Peter Pan, and says she loved it. Alexis hasn't been able to stop since then. It was that first show that Alexis credits as her favorite, but she has been in several shows since then.

The most recent one I did, I was Scuddle in the Little Mermaid. I was in Children of Eden as a storyteller. I've been Ivy, that was the first show I was in, Peter Pan. I was a lost girl. I played the little ottoman from Beauty and the Beast.

Both Miron and Legg say working with Alexis is great, and she is a blast to have at rehearsals.

Alexis Handley (left) as a Chinese Soldier in Mulan Jr.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

Legg says, "She steps up to any tasks that we give her. She has stepped into several roles. We had a couple of people unfortunately drop, and she's kind of stepped into those roles, and filled in for us on a moment's notice."

"I see her laughing and enjoying rehearsal," says Miron, "I also see her being serious and focused. We really look for that in our cast."

Alexis says she loves the feeling that acting gives her, and looks forward to many more shows in the future. She had this advice for anyone who wants to try acting out.

Oh you can. I didn’t think so at first either, but once I actually did it, it's possible.  If this is something that you want to do, go for it.

Alexis says she's excited to hit the stage for Mulan Jr. To see a preview of the play - CLICK HERE.

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