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When he was in third grade, Robert Lynn III tried out for a part in the Oregon Children's Theatre production of Oz because his sister had dared him.
"She dared me to do it because I had nothing else to do that summer," he said. "And I liked it a lot."
Now, eight years later, Robert, 16, was just recruited to play a lead role in Les Miserables on the stage of the largest theater venue in Windsor, Ont.
The sophomore from Cardinal Stritch High School recently agreed to play the role of Marius for Theatre Intrigue, a Canadian theater group that will perform Les Miserables on the last two weekends in September at the Capital Theatre, which seats 700 people.
Members of the theater group discovered Robert's talents when they recently attended the School Edition of Les Miserables performed by St. Ursula Academy.
After watching Robert play Marius for just half the show, they approached his mother, Barb, at intermission and offered him the role on the spot.
"I was pretty shocked," Robert said when he heard the news. "I kind of stood there for a few seconds."
Though auditions for Les Miserables were open to anyone living in Windsor, the director hadn't found anyone right for the part of Marius.
So he and other theater representatives started attending a number of different productions of the show that were being produced within five hours of Windsor. That's how they found Robert.
In addition to playing Marius for the production that will be performed entirely with high school students, Robert will be the understudy for Jean Valjean, the lead role, and will perform that role during one of the performance nights.
Rehearsals begin next week. Robert's parents have agreed to drive him to and from Canada for them.
Robert has played a leading role in several productions.
He landed the role of Mowgli in The Jungle Book and Tom Sawyer in the Oregon Children's Theatre production of Tom Sawyer.
While also in the children's theater, he played Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland and Happy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
In Theatre Kidz, Robert played the roles of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, was one of the seven brothers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and was in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
As he got older, Robert started landing roles for several of the Oregon Community Theatre productions, including The Wizard of Oz and The King and I.
Audience members might have also seen him in St. Ursula's production of Cats, and Notre Dame Academy's productions of Thoroughly Modern Millie and 42nd Street.
This year, he was selected to play Clarence, also known as Lady Claire Rawl, in Stritch's production of Way Out West.
"He looks like a natural up there," Stritch Music Director Tracy Fahim said. "He pretty much can do anything."
But Robert said his favorite musical so far has been Les Miserables because it was the first lead role he's played while in high school, and he landed it as a sophomore. "Getting a big lead - that was a big deal," he said.
When he's not acting, Robert is singing. He's been a member of chorale, the highest vocal ensemble at Stritch, for the last two years.
He was also one of 120 students selected out of 300 to be a member of the 2007 District I High School Honors Choir that performed at the Stranahan Theater in February.
"I like entertaining people," Robert said. "I like seeing people smiling."