Patty Duke directed her in “The Miracle Worker” and David Bowie watched her audition for “Lazarus.” Now, three years after appearing in “Blackbird” with Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels, Sophia Anne Caruso is starring in “Beetlejuice.” She plays Lydia, the part Winona Ryder played in the movie.
And to think: Caruso doesn’t turn 18 till July.
“This is just the beginning,” says “Beetlejuice” co-star Leslie Kritzer. “I don’t feel like she’s 17, even though she’s playing a kid. I think she’s going to do huge things!”
Kritzer’s not the only one. Early this month, Caruso took home a Theatre World Award, an honor granted over the years to Alec Baldwin, Edie Falco, Lupita Nyong’o and others who have made lasting impressions on the New York stage.
For now, she’s living in New Jersey with her parents and Pucci, her elderly Shih Tzu, writing songs and blogging about vegan chocolates. Unlike the darkly Goth teenager she plays, Caruso turned up for lunch the other day in a bright yellow coat and platinum-blond hair. At least it’s white right now.
“I’ve dyed it different colors for different shows,” she tells The Post between truffle fries. “Michelle [Williams] got me hooked on this really nice shampoo, Oribe, and I’ve used it ever since.”
She grew up in Washington (the state), often holing up in her mother’s antiques store to watch old movies, “Beetlejuice” among them. She stopped going to school after the fifth grade, when she was expelled.
“I wasn’t a violent child, but I did punch someone,” says Caruso, who got her GED after years of online study. Being kicked out of school was all the impetus she needed to head to New York with her mom (Dad followed later), where her career took off.
Granted, she was already a pro. When she played the deaf, blind and mute Helen Keller in a Seattle production of “The Miracle Worker,” she learned from a legend: Duke, who originated the role on Broadway before playing it on film.
“She told me that when she was doing it, she had someone rearrange the furniture and put on a blindfold and put it back the way it was,” Caruso recalls. “So I did that, too.”
One thing Duke didn’t suggest she do was to “mix it up” onstage. Nevertheless, Caruso says, she’d change her moves at each performance, to her co-stars’ chagrin.
“Just trying to keep it fresh!” she told them. She was 9 at the time.
She can’t mix it up much in “Beetlejuice,” whose sophisticated, high-tech staging allows her to levitate before our eyes. How does she do it? Caruso smiles and shakes her head.
“As a magician on the show says, ‘We don’t keep that from you, but for you,’ ” she says. “But I’m really flying. It’s become so routine at this point . . . I’m more focused on singing.”
So she is. In fact, she plans to release an album this fall. Mostly, she just wants to keep acting.
“I can’t see myself doing anything else,” she says. “This is what I love to do.”