In his short life, Gordon Beck ’26 has been forced to eat an entire chocolate cake in one sitting, pickpocket the unsuspecting, and flee the Russian pogroms.
On stage, of course.
A young thespian in community theater, Beck is currently performing in Kinky Boots at the Landmark Community Theater as Young Charlie, a boy who does not want to follow in his father's footsteps into the family shoe business. In 2019, he portrayed Bruce Bogtrotter in Matilda, Fagin’s gang member and an understudy for Charlie Bates in Oliver in 2018, and the understudy for David Hershkowitz in RAGS in 2017. In addition to his theater work, Beck has also appeared as an extra in several films.
Beck’s background is in modern and jazz dance, performing in Echoes Beyond the Forbidden City through DancEnlight in March 2012. His foray into acting began at the Goodspeed Opera House for his understudy role in RAGS. During his audition, he performed a song from the show that he had rehearsed several times. “I felt I did well, but I had never been to an audition like this. I was in there with the director, music director, and accompanist for a while which is a good sign,” he said. Although Beck was the understudy, he enjoyed the experience of being part of the show, watching it over 12 times. “During my time I had hoped that I would go on, but I didn’t want the lead to get sick. Since this was my first time, I was just really happy. RAGS is a really good musical so I could watch it that many times, and it wasn’t boring,” he said.
While performing in Oliver, Beck had the opportunity to workshop with Russell Rinker of Blue Man Group where Beck practiced acting without words using only body language. Working with the other young actors in Oliver and Matilda, Beck describes as amazing experiences, and he still keeps in touch with his fellow players. For his role in Kinky Boots, Beck performs his role with a spot-on British accent. One of his favorite parts in the play is when he is arguing with his father, “I get to be all angry and frustrated,” he said. When asked how Beck taps into these emotions he laughed and stated, “I just remember that I am a teenage boy.”
Beck derives much joy from acting. “It’s really fun. It’s an adrenaline thing. You get nervous but then you get excited when you get out there. You have the lights on you. It’s a fun way to portray a character and see through another lens but a little bit of you in there, too. When I get out there, it’s really nerve-wracking but when you start singing there’s no more nervousness. It feels natural,” he said.
The world of theater takes a big-time commitment, and Beck balances his school work and his hockey with precision. His rehearsal for Kinky Boots started one day a week from late July which then lead to intensive tech weeks getting home at 11:00 p.m. And, the one reason that Beck is able to do it all: “My parents are amazing!” he said.
Beck is looking forward to performing in the KO’s musicals when he becomes a student at the Upper School, and he is weighing his options if he should pursue acting as a career acknowledging that rejection is part of an actor’s life. “There’s disappointment if you don’t make it and sometimes those things are out of your control. Did they want a redhead? But, for the most part, I think: ‘There’s always next time.”