The bright lights of Broadway are shining down on a 7th grader from Wakefield Middle School as he prepares to take the stage in Motown the Musical. Reed Shannon will make his debut portraying multiple characters, as the young version of King of Pop Michael Jackson, Motown music mogul Berry Gordy, and Grammy winning artist Stevie Wonder in Broadway’s first national tour of Motown the Musical.
“I was speechless,” said Reed after getting the call back. He was No. 245 in line with more than 1,000 others who showed up for the open call auditions in September at New York’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
“I was prepared. I was confident and I stayed focused,” said Reed as he sang Jackson Five hits such as “I Want You Back”, “The Love You Save” and “ABC.”
Reed begins rehearsals on March 10. The show opens May 14 at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre then heads to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Detroit. The tour is expected in Charlotte in August of 2015, and the Durham Performing Arts Center is on the list too for the 2015 season.
At the young age of 13, Reed is no stranger to the stage. He just finished the NC Theatre’s production of Les Miserables, which kept him busy in the role of Gavroche. Reed was bitten by the acting bug when he was a three-year-old; he now has ten-years of acting, singing and dancing experience under his belt. His first appearance on the main stage at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium was in Oliver! (2012 – Workhouse Boy).
Reed performed the lead role in North Carolina Theatre Conservatory’s 2013 production In the Heights, and starred as the youngest Tommy in the conservatory’s 2012 show, The Who’s Tommy.
Reed says he will miss all of his friends at Wakefield Middle School including his teachers, class assignments and homework.
“I’ll have a tutor who will travel with me,” says Reed. “I’m sure I won’t fall behind in my education, because maintaining good grades is very important to me.”
Reed plans to earn a college degree in fine arts and a college degree in international relations. He plans to become bilingual, train to become an international spy and also wants to serve his country as an officer in the United States Army.