Piper Curda is excited to be coming back to our area this weekend — and for some very personal reasons. The young singer and actress said in our recent phone chat that Chicago is “the place I still consider home,” though she was born in Florida and moved around the country quite a bit as the child of a military family. Curda’s dad is U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Stephen K. Curda. Before moving out to California to pursue her acting career, Curda attended Baker Demonstration School in Wilmette, run by National-Louis University.
She has already begun to make her mark in the entertainment business, having been in the Broadway national tour of “The 101 Dalmatians Musical” and more recently starring as Jasmine on the Disney Channel sitcom “I Didn’t Do It.”
Curda, 17, will be in the area this weekend as part of the team starring in “Tween Stars Live,” an interactive, family-friendly production featuring a number of well-known actors and actresses from Disney and Nickelodeon. Along with Curda, some of the other performers will include Calum Worthy (“Austin & Ally”), Karan Brar (“Jessie”), Spencer Boldman (“Lab Rats,” “Zapped”), Noah Munck (“iCarly”) and Dove Cameron and Ryan McCartan (“Liv & Maddie”).
“Tween Stars Live” will be performed first at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park, and then at noon and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville. For ticket information go to www.tweenstarslive.com.
Curda loves the fact the show involves the kids in the audience. The 90-minute program “is almost like a meet-and-greet with fans — but it’s so much more than that. The kids get to come up on stage with us, we play games with them, they get to ask us questions and we get to ask them questions. There are trivia games and then we, the actors and actresses in the show, do musical numbers, improv and comedy sketches. It’s really a lot of fun.”
Considering that Curda’s four siblings also are pursuing careers in entertainment, I had to ask where the inspiration came from, considering her dad is a military general and her mom was an educator.
“I guess it started with me,” said Curda with a giggle. “It was never anything our parents had in the cards for us. It just sort of happened. I loved being the center of attention. I loved making people laugh. I loved putting on these little performances for my family and our friends.
“As a little kid I didn’t realize that was something I could do professionally. But when I did realize it, that was all I could think about.”
Curda does think her father’s military life and the discipline that involves had an impact on her. “Because in this business, to be successful, you have to have discipline to show up, do your job and to follow through on things. … It’s all about hard work.”
Along with her other projects, Curda is excited she was tapped to star in the Disney Channel film “Teen Beach Movie 2,” which will be coming out this summer.
“It was a great experience. I got to play one of the main character’s best friends — and it was such a different kind of role for me. She’s a girl with great energy. Well, that’s not the different part! [Laughs] She’s a girl who always has a smile on her face and is really dorky, but kind of lovable dorky. She’s that weird kid that loves school. She was fun to play, and I hope will be fun for people to watch.”