Alexandra Vlachos is a kid who likes to smile.
Spend a few minutes with the 9-year-old from Bayport and that becomes apparent.
So it’s ironic the character the fourth grader portrays on Broadway — Matilda, the lead role in Matilda The Musical, doesn’t smile whatsoever.
“I do something called a ‘Matilda Mask,’” Alexandra explained. “Because Matilda doesn’t smile throughout the entire show. She just has a plain face.”
“Can you picture that?” her mom, Ellen, interjects with a laugh.
The answer is no.
Alexandra, who previously appeared as a Sesame Street extra and on stage at the Patchogue Theatre through Ovations Dance Academy in Bohemia, has a lot to smile about.
It starts with her mom, dad, brother, and sister, and extends to a supportive network of extended family, friends and school community.
Alexandra was at home, celebrating her sister’s birthday in April when she learned she’d be playing Matilda.
“We were just about to start eating our cake,” she said. “My sister’s friends were over. We were playing in the living room and then we got a call and then my dad picked it up and he said, yeah? And he was really happy, so he gave the phone to me.
“My agent asked if it was OK with my dad that she tell me, and then I found out I was Matilda! And I jumped up and down and did all sorts of crazy stuff.”
That exciting night was later followed by a neighborhood surprise party.
Alexandra got to work in NYC in early May.
There, she and three other girls who play Matilda — they rotate, each performing two shows a week — rehearsed most mornings into the early evenings, through June. They were also tutored three hours a day.
“She’d commute a lot,” her mom said.
“Yeah; I loved it,” Alexandra said.
Alexandra took the stage for the first time at The Shubert Theater on July 26.
She was standing in front of a packed house of nearly 1,500 people that day, and about to spend a bulk of the 2 1/2-hour show delivering lines and belting out four solos.
She also, mind you, had to first perfect a British accent and learn to deliver several lines in Russian.
Was she nervous?
“No,” she said. “I was just really excited — really excited.”
Can you guess who was nervous?
“I’m always nervous,” Ellen Vlachos said. “But excited-nervous, because I have such confidence in her.”
“As parents, we do feel nervous, but we’re proud of her,” she continued. “And it’s amazing. All the training they do … they just know what they’re doing with the kids. What they get out of them is unbelievable. And afterward, they come out and they’re just regular kids.”
Since July she has performed in 33 shows — she’s keeping count — and will be playing Matilda through January at least.
Alexandra was discovered during acting classes at the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport.
When asked if she feels any different now that she’s on Broadway, she said “no” — with a smile of course.
“I’m just me.”
Top: Alexandra Vlachos strikes a Matilda pose at the Bayport-Blue Point Library. (Michael White)