Franklin teen dreams of Disney

Published 11:27 am Saturday, September 6, 2014

Back in June, Mary Duck and her son, Malik, were going to their storage unit when they heard something on the radio. Premier was hosting an open acting audition in Norfolk.

“We just happened to turn the radio on, and they said something about it,” the 13-year-old Malik said. “I decided to call just joking around.

“It was a joke,” he emphasized.

It didn’t long remain a joke, though, as the company called him back. He could come to the first audition, and they’d perform scenes from Disney Channel TV shows and also test his range solo, making him run around, scream and stuff like that.

“They said that I was really good,” Malik said. “And they asked me to come back for another audition.”

During the second audition, he would get the opportunity to act with other people who had made it through the first round, and he’d also potentially get the chance to travel to Orlando for a special workshop with Disney actors and directors.

“We had to do a scene from “Austin & Ally,” which is a show on the Disney Channel that Malik had watched. “I had to perform it with other people, and they told me I did good again.”

From there, they asked his mother about him and then offered him the opportunity to travel to Walt Disney World to participate in a workshop, audition further, and Malik said he hopes, to get a chance to act on Broadway in a Disney special.

He’s been hooked on Broadway ever since he saw “The Lion King” on Ice on TV many years ago.

“I like how it is never one person standing out,” Malik said. “They are always together as a family — a Broadway family. I like that.”

Though, of course, he’s not against getting to appear on some Disney Channel shows. He’s also excited to meet Ariana Grande, who has performed on broadway, been in the Nickelodeon TV show “Sam and Cat” and is a recording artist.

“We get to meet famous people like Ariana Grande, and she is going to kind of help us with acting,” Malik said, adding that there would also be people to help with dancing and singing.

Malik does it all, and he has since he was 7.

“I sang at my grandma’s birthday party,” said Malik, who couldn’t remember what he sang. But it did confirm one thing.

“I have just always loved to be the center of attention,” he said. “After I started singing, everybody was always telling me that I have different personalities, so I ought to be an actor.”

And Malik’s no stranger to acting, as he’s participated in several church plays at Anointed Prayer Room on South Street. One of the Christmas plays provided him with a solo song. He’s also a regular in the church’s choir.

“I always wanted to do a drama class, but I haven’t been able to yet,” Malik said.

Over the past few years, Malik has transferred from J.P. King Middle School to Southampton Academy and then back to JPK. He said he’d look to do one as soon as the opportunity arises.

To help pay their way, Mary and Malik are going to do a few fundraisers. On Saturday, Sept. 20, they will have a carwash from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Armory Drive Sunoco.

On Sept. 27, they will be selling Captain Bob’s dinners for $8. Contact Mary for tickets at 434-637-1905.

They will also have a crowd-funding website at

“We are from a small town, and he can be able to show people that even though we are from a small little city, you can have dreams and they can come true,” Mary said.

Malik said he loves acting, and it’s his ultimate dream.

“You get to be different people,” he said. “You are supposed to be yourself, but you are able to pretend like you you are another version of you, with different experiences.

“Please help me make my dreams come true. And if I make it big, I will give back to Franklin.”