Mukilteo 12-year-old takes leading role in ‘Oliver!’

The Village Theatre production opens Friday, Oct. 20, in downtown Everett
By Nicholas Johnson | Oct 04, 2017
Courtesy of: Jacqueline de Leon-Estes Kalia Estes, 12, of Mukilteo portrays Oliver Twist in the Village Theatre’s upcoming Kidstage production of Lionel Bart’s musical “Oliver!” Director Chelsea LeValley is also pictured here.

With help from her siblings, 12-year-old Kalia Estes of Mukilteo has been practicing her Cockney accent a lot lately in preparation for her starring role in the Village Theatre’s upcoming Kidstage production of Lionel Bart’s musical “Oliver!”

“My sister and I love talking in different accents at home,” Kalia said. “But having my brother Keagan, who played Tiny Tim in ‘A Christmas Carol,’ has really helped me learn the Cockney accent.”

Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel “Oliver Twist,” the musical further captures the novel’s best and most important themes, such as the importance of family, finding a place to belong, love, hope, acceptance and forgiveness.

Orphan Oliver, who will be played by Kalia, starts his life in a workhouse and is then apprenticed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets, which is led by the elderly criminal Fagin.

“To get cast as Oliver means there are a lot of expectations,” Kalia said. “First of all, I am a girl portraying a boy. I have to forget myself and get into a character of an orphan living in a poverty stricken world.”

Over the last few years, Kalia and her siblings have proven to be a power trio on stage. For example, all three performed in Studio East’s “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Edge Performing Arts’ “Annie Jr.” and Seattle Musical Theatre’s “South Pacific.”

In “Annie Jr.,” Kalia played an orphan while her younger brother, Keagan, played Drake Oliver Warbucks’ butler. Kalia’s older sister, Kiana, played the starring role in that August 2015 production at Kamiak High school.

In “South Pacific,” Kalia and Kiana shared the role of Emile de Becque’s daughter, while Keagan played the half Polynesian son of de Becque.

Kalia said she owes a lot to her parents for supporting her and her siblings.

“My parents give us nothing but love and support,” she said. “They are our biggest fans. Driving us to rehearsals, packing our food, listening to us sing, helping at the theatre – they do it all because they know we are having fun.”

Kiana and Kalia have also performed Broadway songs – most of them for events at the Rosehill Community Center – such as “Life is a Happy Song” from “The Muppets,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from “Frozen,” and “Naughty” from “Matilda.”

Kalia said she and her sister, especially, have received constant support and encouragement from older kids at Village Theatre.

“Our older friends who have gone on to pursue musical theatre inspire me,” she said, “and have cheered me and my sister on from the time we were little ‘teacups’ in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 2014.”

Kalia said she expects the audience will be particularly captivated by the “Where Is Love?” scene of the musical “because that is when Oliver shows his emotions and he does not feel like he belongs anywhere.”

The show, directed by Chelsea LeValley with choreography by Pamela Turpen and musical direction by Michael Nutting, opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Cope Gillette Theatre at 2730 Wetmore Ave. in downtown Everett. Shows run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 5.

To purchase tickets, which are $14-$16, go online to or contact the Everett Performing Arts Center box office at 425-257-8700 or 2710 Wetmore Ave., open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The show, which is rated PG-13 for some violence and language, runs 2 hours and 20 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.

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