13 year old Clara Young is a Lower East Side native who had been singing, dancing and performing on stage since she was 8 years old. She was recently featured in the Academy Award nominated animated feature, My Life as a Zucchini, which has it’s East Coast premier this Friday.
The film is a French-Swiss animation feature that has been getting rave reviews for its incredible stop motion design and fully realized characters. The story follows a 9-year-old boy (Zucchini) who is sent to a foster home after the sudden death of his alcoholic mother. Although his past is dark, he begins to make friends with the other children at the home, who have had similarly difficult lives.
Along with Clara, who plays a shy orphan named Alice, the film’s English version features the voices of Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page and Amy Sedaris.
Clara originated the roles of Young Ellen and Young Lucy in the world premiere of Unknown Soldier at the Williamstown Theatre Festival with Estelle Parsons playing her grandmother. She played Cindy-Lou Who in the national tour of How the Grinch Stole Christmas when she was eight years old ans starred in Annie at Florida’s Maltz Jupiter Theatre.
Clara told me the best thing about performing is “you get to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and really explore what some people go through because it’s nice to think about other people and how they live their lives…and also, it’s nice to make someone smile.”
Up next is a turn in 13 the Musical at The Actor’s Temple in March. She’ll co-star with her sister, Violet, 11, who is a rising star is her own right. You can see Clara and Violet singing on trains, stages and in automobiles on their YouTube channel here.
My Life As a Zucchini premieres in English on Friday, February 24 at the DGA Theater. Tickets are sold out but you can still get them for two screenings this Sunday, February 26 at the New York International Children’s Film Festival at the Sunshine Cinema.