Warren Hills Echoes Off-Broadway

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Photo courtesy of Shannon Tubman

Picone waits at the bus stop before heading into New York City.

Allison Slovak, Editor

This fall, freshman Echo Picone is balancing school and work as she prepares to perform in an Off-Broadway musical. 

Picone is involved in Trevor: A New Musical, presented by Stage 42 with an opening night of Oct. 25. The musical is based on the 1994 short film Trevor and is about a gay teen “navigating adolescence in suburbia while dreaming of life in show business,” according to the Stage 42 website.

Picone travels to New York City almost every day for rehearsals. She is playing the character of Mary, a cruel classmate who bullies Trevor. 

Everyday, Picone gets breakfast from Starbucks (her favorite drink is the Iced Chai Latte) and then her mom drops her off at the bus station so she can ride the bus into NYC. 

On arrival in the city, Picone walks to the studio where she practices. Currently, Picone does not attend school in person, because she is in the city every day for hours. She instead learns through home instruction, and spends three hours in the morning on schoolwork. Because she is a child actress, the theatre is legally required to provide Picone with time to do her school work during practice. Her favorite class is Creative Writing. 

“Keeping up with my class work is challenging right now, but it will be easier once we are out of rehearsals and into production,” she said.

After school work and tutoring, Picone rehearses scenes and numbers with the other cast members. By the end of the day, she has done a ton of work, singing and dancing.

 “I’m always exhausted, but it’s really fun,” she said.   “The cast is so talented, I’m off-Broadway, and bringing this important story to the stage is incredible.”

Picone said she first started acting and singing when she was four. She participated in open mic performances at Star Maker School of Performing Arts in Clinton, N.J. and was discovered and signed by her agency, Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty (CESD), at age five. 

“I grew up in a very musical household and I got into dance classes when I was really little,” she said. “I have had a ton of stage time, which makes me feel really comfortable on stage now.” 

In 2018, at age 11, Picone starred as Annie in Annie at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, N.J.    

 “Annie is a dream role and to co-star with Andrea McCartle, Broadway’s original Annie, was insane,” she said.

In seventh grade, Picone participated in the Warren Hills Middle  School’s  musical, which was supposed to be Frozen, although it was cancelled because of the COVID-19 lockdowns. She was going to play the role of Princess Anna.

Her favorite music to sing is Ariana Grande, pop, and musical theater, while she enjoys listening to  Carol King, The Beatles, Queen, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, and more.

“I am always singing, so I better have a lot of material to work with,” she said. “I’m all over the place. I am really into [listening to] Wilbur Soot right now.”

Being in NYC all the time and having to constantly rehearse can be challenging and stressful, but Picone’s family is very supportive. 

“My mom does a lot of driving me around to auditions and work,” she said, “And my dad and my sister support me too.”

When asked whether she is considering a career in music or acting, Picone was noncommittal. 

      “The entertainment industry is not the easiest career out there,” she said. “I love what I do, but I love lots of things. I’m keeping all of my options open.”