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Disney magic takes the stage in Scottdale

| Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007

The stage at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale will soon light up with Disney magic as the classic hit "Beauty and the Beast," presented by Actors and Artists of Fayette County, will be presented today through Sunday at the theater.

Staging this production is a new concept for the theater, because the musical is being presented "ready made."

"They needed something to schedule for August and my husband is on the AAFC board," director Trisha Rohlf said. "And he suggested that I bring this show to the theater."

Rohlf is the director for all staged spring musicals at Brownsville High School. The school performed "Beauty and the Beast" in March.

"I said that I could bring the actors, the sets and the costumes," Rohlf said. "All they really had to do was open the doors and we'd perform the show. We did the show in March and it was really well received."

Rohlf said that approximately 90 percent of her original high school cast was able to participate in the summer re-staging, and she was able to easily fill the vacant slots.

"The majority of the cast is from the school and I incorporated a few of the AAFC regulars into the show," Rohlf said.

Her high school cast was thrilled for the opportunity to re-stage the production.

"We were insanely excited," Jessie Medofer, who plays Belle, laughed. "We really wanted to do it again."

The show sports a cast of about 50, with characters ages starting as young as 7.

Flowing costumes and elaborate sets and props promise a first-rate show for the audience.

Dancing teacups and prancing forks, knives and spoons will delight audiences of all ages.

"This may be one of the biggest set shows ever held here," Rohlf said.

She added that the show, which has a running time of about 2 1/2 hours, will have five scene changes.

Since the cast already preformed the show just six months ago in Brownsville, jumping back into the roles was not much of a challenge.

"This is one of my favorite roles," Jonathan Rohlf said. "I like playing the Beast. He's not on stage very much and he doesn't have a lot of lines, but he's great to play."

The cast has been practicing for only a few weeks with new performers stepping up to learn their roles quickly and professionally.

The show is adapted from the animated movie and will feature all 15 songs, staging, and dancing from the original performance.

"This show really has all of the Disney magic," Trisha Rohlf said. "People have to see this show to appreciate it. The magic is really here, as they get to see things such as the Beast transforming right in front of their eyes."

As a special treat for all children attending, Belle and the Beast will visit audience members after each show.

"The kids came up to them after the Brownsville show and they were so excited," Trisha Rohlf said. "They really thought that they were real."

Trisha Rohlf hopes this new concept of a ready-made productions will catch on and possibly open the doors of opportunity for other local high schools.

"The kids love to do these shows and they get so excited to preform," Trisha Rohlf said. "It would be great to possibly see other schools getting the chance to do this in the future."

The show will be presented at 8:15 p.m. today through Saturday with a special matinee at 3:15 p.m. Sunday. All seats for the show are $10. For reservations, call the theater at 724-887-0887. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

Principal players include Jenna Bayne, Jordan Sealy, Brian Shaffer, Kristen Tunney, Nick Onesko and Christian Seseck. Also appearing are Katie Grahek, Kelly Tunney, Diana Michael, Jimmy Preston, Lance Turturice and Richard Pahula.

Performing as the Silly Girls are Alyssa Hensel, Chelsea Petrosky, Jenna Bayne and Alex Nucetelli, while the Wolves will be played by Alexis Arnold, Samantha Bochna, Rachel Andler and Chelsea Petrosky.

The ensemble includes Sherri Harris, Rebecca Marucci, Charles Kalbaugh, Breann Liston, Gregory Ritsko, Scott Watson, Kourtney Polvinale, Sydnee Veach, Lexie Rohlf, Kara Rohlf, Becca Bochna, Hannah Broun, Taylor Assad, Samantha Ritsko and Rory Keefer.

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