When it comes to bullying, Ariel Pennington-Reyes is teaching people the importance of being an upstander rather than a bystander.
Pennington-Reyes, a Yonkers resident, is one of the stars of "It's Easy," which debuts Saturday, Sept. 16 for a 10-show run through Sunday, Oct. 8 at the Irvington Town Hall Theater.
The musical, geared toward kids in grades 4-8, takes place in one day in the life of 6th-grade classmates, where bullies make life miserable and bystanders stay quiet.
Pennington-Reyes, who is about to start 7th grade at Pearls Hawthorne, plays Joy Montgomery, the school council president. This is her first professional musical.
Montgomery is a bystander who tries to avoid bullying.
"She really doesn't want to get involved," Pennington-Reyes said. "She learns about the importance of being an upstander in order to become a better friend."
Pennington-Reyes said she knows people who have been bullied and learned about how she shouldn't just stand on the sidelines.
"The play itself has helped me learn that if you are being bullied, there is always someone you should tell," Pennington-Reyes said. "No one should look away from bullying. It shouldn't be ignored. It can be very hard to cope with."
The young actress said she hopes to do acting professionally and said she looks up to the cast of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit."
"It would be really cool to be featured on SVU, even if just as an extra," Pennington-Reyes said.
To purchase tickets for the play, visit www.irvingtontheater.com.
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