In our new interview series, author Tim Federle will sit down with a Rosie’s Theater Kids’ student to get the scoop on life behind the scenes. Up first: Dauan (pictured).
Tim: Okay, first things first, so I don’t embarrass myself for the whole interview: how do you pronounce your name?
And how do most people pronounce it?
(Laughs.) Dwayne or Dawn.
You’re a senior in high school and you’re 16. Where’s home?
The Lower East Side. I live with my mom, stepdad, and younger brother.
Were you born there?
No, I was born in Brooklyn.
Like, before it was hip?
I actually don’t know where. (Laughs.) I should probably find that out.
What was your first experience seeing a Broadway show like?
Rosie’s Theater Kids took us to see Mary Poppins.
It was amazing, actually. When she started to fly (Dauan’s mom interrupts him in his room.) Mommy, I’m on the phone, can you please talk to me later? (Back to me.) Oh, my goodness.
So, you’ve had all these singing and dancing classes. Are you the next Nathan Lane or Brian Stokes Mitchell?
No, I used to do track and field but then I started to move away from that to focus more on dance.
Is dance your greatest talent? Put another way: if Dauan were a secret superhero, what is his super power?
My ability to be open to meeting new people.
I imagine you have a lot of friends, then. I’m curious, do you guys go to Chipotle or Taco Bell?
Okay, me too. Let’s say you can go to Chipotle with any celebrity. What do you order?
(Laughs.) A burrito bowl, because if I order a burrito or a taco it’s too messy, and I’ll be worried about how I look. Instead of talking to Beyonce.
Oh, so Beyonce’s the celebrity?
Pretend she gets a text message: her car is waiting outside. You only have time for one question.
I’d ask her if I could dance for her. Like, could she get me a job?
(I laugh.) Okay, the car is willing to wait for one more question. What do you ask Beyonce about herself?
I’d say, How are you able to continue going? How are you able to say, I’m going to keep doing this. Do you ever want to choose a simpler life?
Speaking of that, a lot of adults say things were simpler when they were younger. What do you think about grownups saying, We used to go actually outside and play?
Um, we go out and play, too. It’s just, we go out and play and also play on our phones. We do all the things you did, and more.
Do you think those same adults are right when they say you’re living your best years right now?
Maybe. When you’re younger, it’s like fun, fun, fun. Whereas, when you’re a little older, like 20 and so on, it’s like work and life, work and life. Whereas when you’re 16, at this age, it’s in the middle. It’s simpler.
You mentioned a stepdad and your mom. Do they support you?
In everything I do. My stepdad used to dance.
And your little brother?
(Laughs.) He’s into video games.
Who is Dauan in 10 years?
Hopefully dancing for a company, and happy.
Who is Dauan when he’s Beyonce’s age?
Hopefully still looking good, like her.
(Background noise from his side of the call; I think I can hear his mom again.) Anything else sound really exciting about the future?
Freedom! And having my own place!
As told to Tim Federle. Interview edited and condensed.
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