Kylie Rae Powell plays the daughter of a drug dealer in the new series set in Camden
Kylie Rae Powell is 7.
She is in second grade at Harrison Township Elementary School and enjoys singing songs from “Frozen” with her father, Wayne.
Denny Brown, the creator and an executive producer of “Chase Street,” a new series about the collision of Camden politics and the world of drugs, says, “she has a future.”
Kylie is a child actor from Mullica Hill.
“Chase Street” is a political crime drama centered on the chase of power by those in the streets and in office in one of the poorest cities in the nation. The two worlds mix in ways that result in scandal, death and a reputation of a breakneck city.
Kylie plays the role of a young daughter, a character whose delicacy and innocence amplifies the tragedy that is a city whose main industry is drugs.
Kylie’s mother, Denise Fowler-Powell, owns Beauty Luxe Salon in Woodbury. Brown and Fowler-Powell graduated from Camden High School together in 1988, Brown a basketball star and Fowler-Powell a cheerleader. Three years ago, after it was evident the script had potential for the screen, Brown invited Fowler-Powell onto the team as the lead hair and make-up artist, and her daughter would accompany her to work.
Brown’s project started as a movie but was transformed into a series after some attention and advice from Suzanne de Passe, the co-chair of de Passe Jones entertainment group and key player in the development of the Jackson 5. The series is being considered by entertainment groups such as Netflix, Amazon and the Urban Movie Channel.
Kylie plays the daughter of Spark, played by Bobby Rand, a Camden native. Spark, a drug dealing man in a turbulent relationship with his mother, supports his family via drug money. Many might consider this an intense role for a 7-year-old.
However, with the confidence and wisdom of a child, Kylie explained her role as a “sweet little girl” is not that difficult, because, in real life, she is just that.
“[My character] is a sweet little girl for her dad. She is the one that covers him up and makes him look good,” Kylie said.
In a series propelled by the tempestuous vigor of the streets, many scenes become tense and gritty. Luckily for Kylie, those scenes at times may begin with her, but she is often out of view at the height of intensity. At times, she explained, her TV father — a term Kylie makes sure everyone on set knows — has to lose his temper in a scene, but Kylie is with her real father elsewhere on the set, away from any vulgarity.
Wayne says he is happy as long as she is having fun, adding, “I’m proud of her. She does this all without formal training.”
Kylie describes her introduction to “Chase Street” as a surprise, something her mother told her about one day after walking off the school bus.
But to some, Kylie’s eventual casting was not a surprise — it was something that evolved naturally.
“They watched her grow as a person on the set,” Fowler-Powell said. Kylie would accompany her mother to the set before she had a spot in the show. “They could see her demeanor and that she is very funny. They also saw another side they could tap into.”
Brown and other members of the crew saw a versatile personality with a deep well of emotion. And they discovered Kylie takes direction very well.
“Kylie owned the scenes,” Brown said. “I see her having a future. She can move in any direction.”
Her mother said, “I knew she could handle it. It just fills my heart with joy seeing her do something she wants to do so early.”
Fowler-Powell echoed Brown’s point about coachability on stage. “She never loses her character and listens when they tell her never look into the camera.”
Fowler-Powell explained her daughter’s focus and love for what she is doing renders the call for many reshoots moot.
With the growing buzz and increasing expectancy of the series, Kylie and the rest of the cast are required to be on set often, sometimes seven days a week. However, despite long work hours at the age of 7, Kylie remains a great student, scoring in the top percentile in a recent national standardized test. Kylie detailed some of her hobbies as singing ballads and working on music, cooking and reading.
“Once I start reading, I never want to stop,” she said.
Though she has many interests, acting is one of her greatest loves, stating that before she found out about the part, she used to run into her parents’ room on multiple occasions and declare, “I’m going to be an actress.”
If the series continues to amass interest, Kylie will get the chance to appear in another season of “Chase Street.”
“We want to keep this going as long as possible,” Brown said, referring to the life of the series, which premieres March 10 at the AMC Loews theater in Cherry Hill. The showing is sold out.
“The response from the community has been overwhelming. We sold out four theaters,” Brown said. Approximately 1,500 tickets were sold.
The cast and crew will let the cameras roll the next day to create the next three episodes of the six-episode series.
For more information on “Chase Street,” www.watchchasestreet.com/home.