Most seventh-graders would be pretty excited to have a leading role in the school play, but Lake Highlands resident Molly McKee has been there and done that.

The spunky 13-year-old has already made her professional acting debut at the Dallas Children’s Theater playing “Mallory” in the theater’s recent production of “Dinosaur.”

Acting comes naturally to Molly, whose parents have been in show business her entire life. Her father is an actor and has performed at the Shakespeare Festival, the Dallas Theater Center and the Dallas Children’s Theater and her mother studied ballet with the New York City Ballet and danced with the Harkness Ballet Company in New York.

McKee made her show biz start as a sixth-grader when she played the role of “Lucy” in a Charlie Brown school play. She also appeared in the Irving Ballet production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, dancing the roll of a mouse.

McKee and another young actress were chosen over seven other candidates to share the role of “Mallory” in “Dinosaur.” They worked alternate shows of the seven-date performance.

The play is about a young girl and her mother, a paleontologist for a dinosaur museum, who have been separated for two years due to a divorce. The two are reunited and by using her power of imagination, the girl is able to transport herself and her mother back in time to observe the dinosaurs first hand. Together they prove her mother’s theories and save the museum from closure due to financial problems. During the trip they become closer and their relationship blossoms.

McKee decided to audition for the part because she says, “The script looked interesting and I even got to go back in time.”

McKee says she was a little apprehensive about performing when rehearsals began in December.

“At first I was a little bit nervous and I had trouble remembering my lines. I was afraid I was going to make a fool out of myself and look bad in front of all the other actors who were all so good,” she says. But she got over her nervousness once she fell into the swing of things, she says.

McKee plans to audition for Dallas Children’s Theater production of “Peter Pan” and is presently taking a speech drama class at Lake Highlands Junior High, where she is a seventh-grader. McKee plans on attending an arts magnet high school in either DISD or RISD to continue pursuing her acting ambitions.

“I like the acting stuff, but I also like working with the other people. I’m very silly and I get to express my feelings when I’m acting.”