Henry Hodges shares secrets of being a child actor

July 9, 2013 1:27:53 PM PDT
He's only 20-year old, but he's considered an acting veteran.

That's because he's starred in some of Broadway's biggest hits.

Now Henry Hodges is showing off a new talent.

He's writing and revealing the secrets of being a child actor.

Hodges spent the better part of his childhood appearing on Broadway in shows like "Beauty and the Beast", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", and "Mary Poppins".

Now he is sharing what he has learned with kids and their parents in a new book called "How To Act Like A Kid".

Who better to show us how to "Act Like A Kid" than a kid who grew up on Broadway, with a nanny named 'Mary Poppins'.

The many credits of Henry Hodges seem all the more remarkable because of the challenges he faced, and in his new book the actor writes that becoming a performer saved his life.

"I struggled a lot in my elementary school. I was in the special needs class. I had tremendous difficulty reading," said Hodges.

But auditioning, just as he still must do today, gave him a sense of accomplishment.

A medical appointment led to his first audition.

His doctor's mom was an agent, and Henry worked steadily from the age of 8.

"The kid actor who really finds success is the one who finds their bliss: the kid who is really joyful onstage," said Tom Shumacher, president of Disney Theatrical.

He often hired Henry when he was a child, and remains his mentor to this day.

"It's not just playing a part. It's being real about it and really enjoying it as a kid. The audience absolutely feels that," Shumacher said.

After more than a decade onstage, Henry Hodges is still full of joy, but he warns kids and their parents it's not all fun and games.

"You have to love it, and you have to want to do it. And, not for the billing. Not for the money, but for you," he says.

Henry can still play teens, but he's facing the tough transition to adult parts.

But he is doing it with the best of grace.

His book "How To Act Like A Kid" is from 'Disney Editions', owned by the same parent company as ABC 7.