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Talented Onuri's flair for musicals

Curtain up!: young actor Onuri Smith is looking forwards to performing in Magic of the Musicals (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Broadway comes to Bermuda next month as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society unveils its new production Magic of the Musicals.

Appearing in the society’s youth ensemble will be 13-year-old Onuri Smith — an actor, singer and dancer who hopes to one day turn professional.

“I’ve always been interested in performing,” said the Whitney Institute student, recalling how he used to beg his mother on a daily basis to register him at the In Motion School of Dance.

Onuri began taking a tap and jazz class at the school in Hamilton, which segued into the St David’s resident joining the GSS for its 2013 production of South Pacific. Playing the role of Jerome, Onuri had his first taste of performing for an audience — and quickly became enraptured by the experience.

“At first it was very scary, but I got used to it,” he said. “I just love the feeling of being onstage. It makes me really excited and it’s a nice way to express myself.”

Magic of the Musicals runs from October 6 to 15 at City Hall’s Earl Cameron Theatre, featuring an array of tunes from shows including Dreamgirls, Chicago, Mamma Mia!, Miss Saigon and The Lion King.

Among Onuri’s numbers are Revolting Children and Naughty from Matilda the Musical, and he will also play the part of Fagin from Oliver.

With less than a fortnight until the show opens, preparations have stepped up a gear — with daily dress and tech rehearsals to ensure everything will be all right on the night.

“It’s going to be tiring, but I’m going to eat and sleep well,” Onuri said. “My parents also make sure that I balance my academics with my performing. They’re very supportive of what I do.”

In the future, the teenager would like to attend the Juilliard School in New York, famed for its performing arts curriculum, and then follow a career either in film acting or musical theatre.

“It can be competitive, but I have a real passion for this and I just try my best,” Onuri said.