East Moriches’ Sonnie Betts, a 10-year-old, up-and-coming actress, appeared in Bay Street Theater’s acclaimed production of “Ragtime” last year. This year, Betts’s latest role is at Bay Street with a part playing Mercy Lewis in “The Crucible” this November.
She is excited to play the character, she said, being that it will be the first time playing a villain.
“It’s really exciting for my first play. I have never done main stage and I have a lot of lines,” she said.
In an effort to remember all her lines, she said, she uses a blocking method—remembering each line scene by scene rather than in whole.
Betts, a fifth-grader at East Moriches Middle School, discovered her love for acting at the age of 4, and by the age of 6, she made her main stage debut at The Gateway Playhouse as Gretl in “The Sound of Music.”
This winter, she was cast as Grace Smythe and served as the understudy for Tiny Tim in Gateway’s “A Christmas Carol,” at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. Over the summer, she also starred as Matilda in “Matilda Jr.” and was part of the ensemble in “Finding Nemo Jr.” at Gateway’s Conservatory.
Throughout her young career, Betts has performed in a wide variety of shows at both the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and The Gateway Playhouse.
Her most recent role, as Gretl, was offered to her under the direction of Will Pomerantz, and is officially her first union job. Betts had a busy summer as well.
Betts also played the title role in “Annie” in Bay Street’s production class last month, and she will be playing young Joan of Arc in a Divaria Opera Production of “Joan of Arc.”
“She has been working very hard,” said her mother Gerilyn Murphy, hoping some local residents might want to see her perform.
The actress has two younger brothers and parents who are in the gardening and technology fields. She is the only actress of the family. When asked about her daughter’s early acting career, Gerilyn said she believes it’s her stamina that gets her roles.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts is pleased to announce 2023’s much-anticipated, “Literature Live!” presentation: Arthur Miller’s Tony Award-winning play “The Crucible.” Classic yet timely, “The Crucible” opens on Thursday, Nov. 9… public performances run through Sunday, Nov. 26. School performances begin Nov. 6.
Bay Street’s own associate artistic director Will Pomerantz has been tapped to direct the compelling drama. This is the 15th anniversary of the popular “Literature Live!” performance series.
“The Crucible” is a gripping play set in 17th-century Salem, Mass., during the Salem witch trials. It explores mass hysteria, deception, and the consequences of false accusations in a Puritan community. The story follows the unraveling of a tight-knit society as paranoia and fear lead to a witch hunt that destroys lives.
As part of the programming of “Literature Live!,” free performances are available to school groups. Teachers and administrators may register their school groups by contacting director of education and community outreach, Allen O’Reilly, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 631.725.0818.
Free admission is available to all school students, teachers, and administrators who can reserve weekday performances at times that work for them on a first-come, first-served basis. “Literature Live!” is an annual BOCES-approved Arts-in-Education program where teachers are provided curriculum guides in advance to help with content and additional aspects of learning. Each student performance will be followed by a talkback and Q&A session with various members of the team and the audience.
Tickets for the public start at $37 and are available online 24/7 at baystreet.org or by calling the Box Office at 631-725-9500, open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 30 minutes prior to performances.