Arts & Culture News

In DTC's To Kill a Mockingbird, This Young Actor's High in the Pecking Order

Dallas actor and painter Aidan Langford rolls like a rock star. He has a driver to chauffeur him to and from the theaters where he's performing. His agent is busy fielding offers for acting and modeling gigs. At home, he has someone cooking and serving the meals he likes.

Being well taken care of allows him to concentrate on his next role or spend time completing another painting. As long as he feeds his cockatiel, does his homework, eats what his mom makes and treats his older sister nicely, Aidan Langford, age 10, is free to pursue all his professional goals.

Now co-starring in Dallas Theater Center's production of To Kill a Mockingbird as Dill, the precocious friend of Scout and Jem Finch, Aidan is enjoying a busy career many grown-up actors would envy. He's also gaining praise for his work as a painter, earning ribbons for his acrylic portraits in the State Fair of Texas craft competitions. (That's his dog, Jack, in the picture that earned a gold ribbon at this year's fair.)

We caught up with Aidan just after his driver (the babysitter) brought him home from a day in fourth grade.

How'd you get the role of Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird? Aidan Langford: I auditioned a while back and got a callback that very day. Three days later I got the part. Dill is a boy who is really fun and outgoing. He has a small crush on Scout (played by Morgan Richards). I like this character because he has a lot of energy. It fits right around me.

This isn't your first job with Dallas Theater Center, is it? I did A Christmas Carol at Kalita Humphreys Theater. I played Edward Cratchit, the brother of Tiny Tim.

When were you bitten by the acting bug? I started acting at 4. I did print ads from an early age. I've been working as long as I can remember.

What do you like about acting in the theater? It's not the hardest thing for me to get up in front of people. In my first play I forgot some of my lines. I had stage fright. But that happened only once. I studied acting after that in a class with other kids.

Mockingbird is a pretty heavy play. How have the audiences at DTC been reacting so far? What I'm picking up from the audience is they really like us. When we come out for our bows, it's all (whistles). And when (character) Tom Robinson dies, there's sort of a dead silence. I like seeing people's reactions. I like when they clap for you. It makes you feel proud.

Who are your favorite actors? In this production, I think Anastasia Muñoz, who plays Mayella, is an amazing actor. And on that TV show House, Hugh Laurie. I think he's a good actor.

Doing so many performances at DTC must cut into your free time. When do you play or just hang out? I don't mind very much (all the work). But sometimes I'm like, darn it, I wanted to play with my friends this weekend. Also, I do Boy Scouts. I'm a Webelo. That's when you're not a Cub Scout anymore. I do scouts because I like nature a lot and I like to whittle and fish and all that stuff.

You're also an accomplished painter. I adore painting as much as I love acting. I've done more than 20 paintings. My dog Jack has blood cancer so I decided to paint him. I won a second for that. I do acrylics and have done a couple of watercolors. I think painting just came naturally. And I went to art classes that taught me technique and stuff. My favorite artist is Picasso.

Do you have any dream roles you'd like to do onstage? Oliver! and Annie. I'd like to do shows on Broadway. But I haven't seen any yet.

What about school? I want to go to Booker T. Washington (DISD's high school for the performing arts).

Does your family treat you like a star or a regular kid? My sister brags about me sometimes, but sometimes she gets annoyed with me. I do have chores and stuff. If I get an animal, I have to take care of it. If it dies, that's my fault.

See Aidan Langford as Dill in Dallas Theater Center's To Kill a Mockingbird, playing through November 20 at the Wyly Theatre. Box office, 214-880-0202 or Dallas Theater Center.

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Elaine Liner
Contact: Elaine Liner