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Portray a boy in a pirate musical? No problem for Pasadena’s Jami Torres, 12

May 5, 2019

Since she had no drama classes at her middle school, Jami Torres turned to community theater to pursue her love of acting.

That’s how the 12-year-old daughter of Thomas and Jessica Torres became the star of a musical, “How I Became a Pirate!” which plays May 3-19 at Pasadena Little Theatre.

“I like the spotlight,” the Pasadena sixth-grader said.

Torres plays Jeremy Jacobs, who is building a sandcastle on a beach when Captain Braid Beard’s pirate crew notices what an expert digger Jeremy is and whisk him off to help them bury their treasure. Jeremy discovers that pirates “don’t do anything they don’t want to.”

“I knew nothing about pirates,” Torres said, except for what she got from watching episodes of the TV series “SpongeBob SquarePants” that were narrated by a character named Patchy the Pirate, who had an eye patch, peg leg and pet parrot. The show has taught Torres nautical terms, such as how “fore” refers to the front, or bow, of the ship.

Last summer, Torres, who attends Bobby Shaw Middle School, enjoyed a theater camp at PLT in which she played one of the stepsisters in a Cinderella-themed show, “If the Shoe Fits.”

She’s played male roles before, including JoJo in the musical “Seussical.”

Torres shares the stage with adult actors Janet Sharpley, also from Pasadena; Peggy Siefert of League City; Emmanuel Martinez of Pearland; Renea Runnels of Dayton; and Kendrix Edwards of Houston.

The swashbuckling musical adventure musical was written by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, based on a children’s book by Melinsa Long and illustrated by David Shannon.

“We’re hoping that parents will bring their kids to this delightful show,” music director Crystal E. Mata said.

“How I Became a Pirate!” was directed by Alan Gardine-Atkinson.

The choreographer is Lacey Myers.

Featured songs include “A Good One to Boot,” “Batten Down the Hatches” and “Read the Map.”

But although Torres is game to portray boy characters, that doesn’t fit her dream role. That would be playing Liesl von Trapp, who sings Torres’ favorite song, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” in her favorite musical, “The Sound of Music.”

“My favorite actress is Julie Andrews,” said Torres. “I like the old style.”

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net