He's only 9 years old, but singer Julian Silva is already making a national name for himself on stage.
The Music Showcase student from Plant City is touring with a musical theater company now performing across the country and in Canada.
Silva plays the role of Gavroche in the musical "Les Miserables" with NETworks Presentations.
He began rehearsals with the company in February and then hit the stage March 5-10 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.
The tour will continue into summer, performing in Canada.
Silva started singing opera at the age of 5 and began taking singing lessons at Music Showcase in Brandon in 2009. The following year, he played Aladdin in the production of "Aladdin KIDS" with the Florida Academy of the Performing Arts at Music Showcase.
He then took on the roles of Mushu in "Mulan," the white rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland" and sang with the academy's Glee showchoir.
Theater director Joy Rogers said she knew from the beginning that Silva was headed for stardom.
"His singing voice was outstanding and he had a fabulous stage presence," she said.
Silva also represented the academy several times, singing the National Anthem before sports games at the University of South Florida. In 2010, Silva won the Novemberfest Idol contest at Nativity Catholic Church and was an acting finalist and overall child singer winner in January at the Actors, Model, and Talent for Christ Shine Winter Contest.
You can check out some of Silva's performances on YouTube including him singing "Amazing Grace" at the National Day of Prayer at Yankee Stadium in Tampa last May and playing a modern-day drummer boy in a Christmas production at The Crossing Church in Tampa.
The Florida Academy of the Performing Arts is housed at Music Showcase at
402 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. It offers programs year-round in musical
theater, acting classes, Rockestra, Glee showchoir, group guitar and group
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