West End stage still beckons for Grantham youngster

Jake McDonald-Pike.
Jake McDonald-Pike.
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An 11-year-old’s dream to become a West End star has received a huge boost, after successful auditions for the musical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

In May the Journal reported how Jake McDonald-Pike from Springfield Road secured an audition to play Billy Elliot, and although the Grantham youngster did not progress to the final rounds he clearly made an impression.

Shortly afterwards the casting director contacted Jake to ask if he wanted to try for another West End role - Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane.

Now after three successful auditions Jake is down to the last nine boys, with the next round scheduled for September 11.

Jake has always wanted to be on the stage, and through lessons with Dance Pointe and singing teacher Sonya Mahoney, alongside performances with Polka Dot Pantomimes and Harrowby Singers, he has pursued a musical theatre career.

As well as showcasing his dancing, singing and acting talent, Jake is required to rap for the part and surprised his mother Liz when this turned out to be another skill which came easy to her son.

“It was amazing - he learnt it so quickly. I didn’t even know he could rap!” she said.

“I’m extremely proud of him. He was so devastated after the last time but he has now got this opportunity from doing that audition.”

The unexpected call from the casting director also came as welcome news to Jake’s dad Dave Pike, who has been able to help Jake prepare for the stage through his job as the Guildhall’s theatre technician.

If Jake makes it through on September 11, he will be recalled the following week for a two-day workshop before the casting director makes their final decision.