Cherry Hill teen to make her New York Musical Festival debut

Cherry Hill resident Alexa Reeves, 14, has performed in a number of musicals during her young acting career.

However, the musical she will be acting in this upcoming week will be her biggest performance yet.

Reeves, a former Beck Middle School student and rising freshman at Paul VI High School, will make her debut at the New York Musical Festival this week, as she plays the role of Meredith Mitchell in the show “Peace, Love and Cupcakes: The Musical.” The show will be performed at the Acorn Theatre, located on 42nd Street in New York City, from July 27 through July 30.

“Peace, Love and Cupcakes: The Musical” is set in the fictional Blakely Middle School and primarily features middle school characters, making it perfect for young actors such as Reeves to perform in a NYMF show. For Reeves, whose goal is to one day become a Broadway actress, landing the role of Meredith Mitchell is bringing her one step closer to her dream job.

“It’s very hard to find shows in New York that include both tweens and teens,” she said.

Reeves’ character is the main protagonist in the show. Mitchell is described as the Queen Bee of Blakely Middle School and bullies the show’s main character Kylie Carson, who is the new kid at the school.

Reeves said Mitchell has a lot of insecurities, leading her to want to be loved and popular in school.

“Meredith Mitchell is the queen bee or the bully,” Reeves said. “She wants everyone to like her and be like herself.”

Reeves said the toughest part of playing Mitchell is being mean to others on stage.

“I think the toughest part about playing Meredith is hurting someone’s feelings,” Reeves said. “I know it’s not real life, but I still feel bad.”

Reeves said the message of the show is to be yourself. As part of the performance, the cast and crew are teaming with No Bully, a non-profit organization training schools on using students’ compassion to stop bullying in schools. Part of the show’s mission is to spread No Bully’s message.

“Our mission is to teach kids about inclusion and how everyone should include everyone, no matter what they look like, race, nationality, sex, it doesn’t matter,” Reeves said.

Reeves was overjoyed when she found out she received the role of Mitchell in early spring. For the past two months, Reeves has been hard at work with the rest of the cast rehearsing and commuting from Cherry Hill to New York City for rehearsals.

One of the best parts of the experience for Reeves is becoming friends with the rest of the cast.

“I knew no one in the cast,” Reeves said of when rehearsals began. “It was a little hard, but I made lots of friends, they’re very nice people.”

Reeves said a number of friends, family and some of her former teachers at Beck Middle School will be traveling to New York to see her perform. Reeves is hoping to show everyone she has what it takes to be a top-notch actress.

“I’m very excited to show them this is what I want,” she said. “I don’t want to do anything else. I want to be on Broadway.”

“Peace, Love and Cupcakes: The Musical” will be performed on July 27 at 8 p.m., July 28 at 5 p.m., July 29 at 1 p.m. and July 30 at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 per person. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.nymf.org/festival/2017-events/peace-love-and-cupcakes-musical.