For Skye Alyssa Friedman, there’s no down time, even in this moment of COVID-19.
These days, the Jupiter resident is busy finishing her home-school classes, logging in to video classes on Zoom, interviewing with prospective colleges, reading plays, taking online dance classes and filming audition tapes.
But perhaps that’s nothing new for the red-haired 18-year-old who’s been single-minded in her pursuit of acting since age 5.
Friedman has studied acting, dance and voice at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts, Paris Ballet & Dance, and the Craig Wich Voice Studios.
She debuted on Broadway at the age of 11 in the musical Annie in 2013 (“a dream come true”) and has appeared in professional productions of The Audience, Billy Elliot, The Music Man, and The Sound of Music at the Maltz, as well as COPA student productions of The Diary of Anne Frank, West Side Story, Cats, and Anything Goes.
A member of Actors’ Equity, her TV credits include Nickelodeon’s I Am Frankie, Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and assorted commercials.
Now she has another honor to add to her already impressive CV: She is the 2020 Jack Zink Memorial Student Scholarship winner from Palm Beach County. The $3,000 scholarship, named for the late Jack Zink, a voice in South Florida entertainment coverage for three decades, is awarded to graduating high school seniors who have achieved a minimum 2.5 GPA and will enroll in college to pursue a degree in theater or journalism.
The selection is based on talent, experience and demonstrated commitment to the theater. Other recipients of the 2020 Jack Zink Memorial Student Scholarship include Jeremy Fuentes of Broward County and Amaris Rios from Miami-Dade County.
“I’m so excited and grateful for this opportunity and to the Carbonell committee,” Friedman says from her home. She is a member of the Maltz Youth Touring Company, a Broward Center for the Performing Arts Teen Ambassador and a Kretzer Kid.
Kathi Kretzer, president of the Kretzer Music Foundation, first met Friedman and her mom, Liz, in 2015.
“At only 15, Skye already exhibited great talent, not only with her singing, but with her stage presence and charming personality,” remembers Kretzer.
As a Kretzer Kid, Friedman performed concerts with other talented youth in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and children’s hospitals.
“Skye always lights up the room wherever she performs and brings a spark that very few performers can deliver,” says Kretzer. “She is a joy to watch and passionate about her craft. She will undoubtedly go far in the entertainment world.”
Growing up as an only child, Friedman says it was a happy childhood, but one where her dreams and passions came first.
“I had to make sacrifices,” she recalls. “It wasn’t a typical childhood, but I was happy to do it for something I loved.”
She remembers not taking summer vacations or spring break so she could enroll in master classes or sign up for additional trainings and missing a daddy/daughter dance to prepare for an upcoming audition.
“I knew I wanted to be on Broadway since I was in kindergarten,” says Friedman. “I told my mom and we worked really hard toward the goal of making my career a reality. I always knew I had to do it.”
Still undecided as to which college she will attend, Friedman has applied to the BFA programs in more than 20 schools across the country, including NYU, USC, Pace, Penn State, CCM, Ithaca College and SUNY Purchase.
At this juncture, says she is leaning toward New York, where she will be able to pursue both theater and on-camera roles.
An Anglophile since pre-school, when she starred as Mary Poppins in her pre-school’s production of the musical, Friedman grew up watching Shirley Temple movies, a big influence, and admiring Robin Williams for his “uniqueness and fearlessness.”
Highlights of her career to date, include her appearance in Annie on Broadway in 2013 and two of her favorite roles, playing Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank at the Maltz Youth Artists’ Chair in 2017 – a role she found both challenging and fulfilling — and a role in the Maltz’s The Audience in 2016.
Julie Rowe, director of education at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, has worked with Friedman since 2009 in a variety of productions, including The Sound of Music, Billy Elliott and The Audience.
“Skye is incredibly dedicated and focused on her craft,” says Rowe. “She’s very diligent and eager to learn. She jumps right in and strives to give a genuine authenticity to her roles.”
“In addition to her talent, Skye is academically smart, kind and passionate about art and making a difference. She’s a lot of fun and has the work ethic of a true professional.”
“I’m confident she will contribute to the art form of performance for many years to come,” she says. “Whether she’ll be on stage or on TV, Skye will carve her own unique path as Skye.”
Friedman credits her parents, Liz and Glenn Friedman, and says they never pushed her but always supported her in her endeavors. In her free time, she loves to read plays and go ziplining with her dad at Treetop Trek at the Brevard Zoo.
Where does Friedman see herself in 10 years?
“I’d love to be living in New York City and starring in an original Broadway play, creating a character from scratch and shooting a TV show during the day –the best of both worlds,” says Friedman.
“You have to dream big,” she says. “Arts and acting are important, powerful forces which allow us to make a difference in the world.”
“I’m excited to be a part of this community and to have the good fortune to spend my life doing what I love,” Friedman says.