Having the privilege of performing on Broadway is hard to come by. It’s even harder if you’re underage. Yet Lockport native Zane Paris Gerson was performing in musical productions on Broadway at the age of 17.
Gerson resided in Lockport where he was homeschooled until he was 13 in 2018. At that time, he began attending Repertory Company High School for Theater Arts in New York City, where he still resides today. today. He has been involved in musical theater all his life and has said this was partly because his parents were involved in the business themselves. Her mother, Inga Marie Gerson, is a dancer and her father, Joel Marc Gerson, is a musician.
“I’ve been surrounded by this all my life,” Gerson said.
Gerson credits his parents as his greatest source of inspiration.
“I always watched them play and create. Seeing them perform really inspired me to want to be a part of telling stories like this,” he said.
What has always made musical theater so appealing to Gerson is his way of creating and telling stories.
“Being able to share these stories means a lot to me,” he said. “That’s the main reason I do it.”
Gerson is currently involved in a relatively new production titled The Last Boy in the Second Republic of SHKID, in which he plays the character of Zdenek Pollack. The story is based on the real events of Holocaust survivor Sidney Taussig. The story centers on a group of boys from the Terezin concentration camp who wrote the longest running underground magazine to be secretly published during the Holocaust.
“That’s how they managed to create a magazine as a way to break free,” Gerson said, “and to fight the Nazis in a very underground way.”
Gerson mentioned that having the opportunity to learn more about this group of teenagers and having the chance to speak with Holocaust survivors were the main highlights of his time in the emission. The cast members even had the chance to speak with the real Sidney Taussig via Zoom.
“We had the opportunity to learn more about these boys and what they had to endure in the concentration camps,” Gerson said, “and we had the chance to talk to some of the survivors who were also there and learned from their experiences.”
The show is currently taking place at the Town Hall Theater in New York City and the producers are looking for an extended run at other theaters.
One show that holds a special place for Gerson is his all-time favorite musical Newsies, based on the 1992 film and centered on the 1899 New York Newsboys strike.
“It was a huge inspiration to me as someone who loves dance,” Gerson said. “Seeing strong male dancers on stage really inspired me and encouraged me to keep going.”
Gerson would love to star in Newsies if the opportunity ever arises, he added.