OCEANSIDE — It’s not surprising “Miki’s Bus,” a comedy about rival teams, pranks and cliques at fictional Camp Winnemuka, is making its debut at the Star Theatre. The Oceanside venue is often the stage for a variety of youth productions.
What makes “Miki’s Bus” unlike most other plays is that the lead actress, 15-year-old Michaela Carrozzo, is also the show’s writer and director.
“This was something I’ve always wanted to do — writing, acting, directing — the whole bit,” Michaela said. “It’s really exciting.”
Also not surprising, according to her acting coach, is that Michaela is realizing her dreams at such a young age. “She’s always very focused,” said Al Valletta, president of The Valletta Workshop in Solana Beach, where Michaela began acting when she was 10.
“She always knew what she wanted to do and this is a result of her hard work,” he said. “She’s great.”
Michaela’s inspiration for “Miki’s Bus” came from her own experiences during a weeklong summer camp.
“That’s where I got the story line,” she said. “I just remembered all the predicaments that we ran into — all the pranks, all the jokes, the hiking and the marshmallow roasting — just the whole fun experience with all the crazy kids.”
She said it took her about six to eight months to write the script, which she said turned out better than she expected.
“I didn’t think it would turn out the way it did,” Michaela said. “It wasn’t really organized or together, but in the end it kind of just fell into place.”
The show includes a cast of three adults and about 20 youth actors ranging in age from 9 to 18. She said her biggest challenge working with such a young cast was that most had little or no stage experience.
“They’re doing amazing, though,” she said. “They’re very good.”
While many of her cast members may be making their stage debuts, Michaela is no stranger to the world of acting. In addition to her performances in local theater productions, Michaela was cast in Nickelodeon’s “iCarly.” She was also featured in a promotion for “Madagascar” and can currently be seen in a McDonald’s commercial.
Working in Hollywood has taught her a lot, she said, including how to present herself in front of the camera and dealing with rejection.
“Not getting a part is a big disappointment, but I’ve learned just to not think about it,” she said. “I learned just to move on. There are so many other roles out there. There’s a casting director that is looking for a part that I could play. There’s a part out there for me and eventually I’m going to find it.”
Her advice to other aspiring actors is “never stop.”
“Don’t ever quit because if you do, it’s hard to get back into it,” she said. “Never quit and follow your dreams because you can do it.”
When she’s not onstage or in front of a camera, Michaela enjoys ice skating and horseback riding. Her future plans include more writing, film school and turning “Miki’s Bus” into a feature film. In fact, she has a letter of intent to possibly develop the script into a TV pilot or movie.
She’d also one day like to meet actor, director and producer Ron Howard, whom she describes as her “hero and inspiration.”
“Miki’s Bus” will be performed March 6 at 2 and 6:30 p.m. at The Star Theatre, 402 N. Coast Hwy. 101 in Oceanside. A wine and cheese red carpet gala will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $15 and are available at brownpapertickets.com.