He was Tiny Tim in "A Christmas Carol" and Dill in "To Kill a Mockingbird" at Hartford Stage and he played Winthrop opposite Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy in "The Music Man" at the Bushnell.
Now 12-year-old Andrew Shipman is heading to Broadway where he will take over the principal role of Michael Banks in Walt Disney's "Mary Poppins" next month.
"I am just so thrilled," says Shipman from his Glastonbury home. "I feel it's like a dream and when I found out I got the role I couldn't even speak."
His road to Broadway began when he became friends with Henry Hodges, who played Jem in the Hartford Stage production of "To Kill a Mockingbird." Hodges' extensive credits included the role of Michael when "Mary Poppins" opened in 2006. Hodges told him all about the role, what auditions are like and even taught him some dance steps from the show.
Shipman became a client of Hodges' agent this spring and the "Poppins" audition last month was Shipman's first for a Broadway musical.
He saw the show before the audition "and it looked like such a fun role. I could see myself doing it."
For the audition "I had to do a British accent," says Shipman. "Good thing I did 'A Christmas Carol.' "
He received a call-back and for his final round he auditioned in front of the Disney honchos.
A few days later his agent called Andrew singing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and ending with, "You're got the job."
His two older brothers who are in high school were home, as was his mother Marci. They quickly called dad Gregg E. Shipman, a commercial real estate lender for Bank of America. That night they celebrated at J. Gilbert's in Glastonbury.
Shipman begins rehearsals this week. His first performance is slated for Aug. 17.
Andrew's parents are working out their son's schooling and housing duering his six-month run. Andrew will be entering sixth grade.
"Our lives will be completely different,:" says dad Gregg Shipman. "We're just so proud and excited for him. We're going to make it work no matter what. As far as the logistics go, we'll just take it week by week.
"Andrew views Hartford Stage as his second home and it's because of the people there like Michael Wilson and Jeremy Cohen who have been his guiding lights that he is getting this opportunity."
Mom Marci Shipman also credits Michael Lamb
at the Performing Arts Youth Collective
and the experience with the Bushnell's "The Music Man" as also helping Andrew develop as a performer.
Letter from Andrews Family to Michael Lamb;
We wanted to share some exciting news with you. Andrew just learned that he has been cast as Michael Banks in Mary Poppins on Broadway!
None of this could have happened without your help and support. You've always been there for us on a moment's notice to prepare him for his auditions and give him that extra boost of confidence to succeed. You have enthusiastically provided any help he needs, whether it's been singing, acting or other important advice. Most of all, you have always made it fun for Andrew. We love hearing him laugh whenever he's working with you.
Thank you again for all of your guidance over the years. Andrew looks forward to working with you again soon.
Marci, Gregg and Andrew Shipman