Being in a wheelchair doesn't stop 6-year-old Max Perrow from doing what he loves.

Being in a wheelchair doesn't stop 6-year-old Max Perrow from doing what he loves.

"He's always been interested in acting," his mother, Heather Perrow, said.

It was logical that Max enroll in acting classes at Wagnalls Family Theatre.

Max, a student at Indian Trail Elementary School in Canal Winchester, is has anthrogryposis, a condition characterized by multiple joint contractures and muscle weakness. He has undergone 15 surgeries and is currently learning to walk.

"He likes the theatre classes, because he gets to pretend to be someone or something else," his mother said.

In his five and half weeks of classes, Max has been a mouse, a toilet seat and an American Idol judge, Perrow said.

Max will play a mouse and a shark alongside his fellow actors and actresses when they stage their own version of the Manhattan Theatre Project's adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland" June 1. Curtain time is at 2 p.m. in the Wagnalls Memorial building, 150 E. Columbus St., Lithopolis. Admission is free.

"The kids bring in so much (to the performance)," said April Olt, theatre teacher at Wagnalls and an adjunct theatre teacher at Ohio Dominican University. "We totally feed off that energy."

Through Olt's classes, a usually shy Max becomes open and confident on stage. Perrow said she is amazed at how the classes have gotten her son to open up and talk.

It must be his teacher's methodology: "She's cuckoo," Max said.

In Olt's classes, Max is no different from any other child.

"I don't treat him any differently than any of the other kids," Olt said. "Everybody just automatically includes him, so we're feeding off that energy as well."

Artistic performance may be in Max's blood; his mother studied dance at The Ohio State University and his father, Michael, enjoys painting.

"The short version is I entered college in hopes of becoming a physical therapist," Heather Perrow said. But after failing chemistry, she said she decided to study dance.

Then Max was born and she had to become an amateur physical therapist for the sake of her son and understanding his condition, she said. Max was able to dance before he could walk, thanks to his mother's training.

"I have always been interested in wheelchair dancing," Perrow said.

Max mastered dancing in his wheelchair after two weeks of training, his mother added.

At home, she said Max loves to pretend he's Spider-Man, wear fun costumes and just be a kid.

"We know that Tobey Maguire will have to retire one day," Perrow said of the actor who plays Spider-Man in the movies.