Steel Valley performs 'Beauty and the Beast'

| Monday, March 4, 2013, 12:16 a.m.

Many in the 52-member cast of Steel Valley High School Drama Club's 2013 musical “Beauty & the Beast” are newcomers to the production.

“We have about half of the cast who are completely new to musicals,” musical director Lisa Harrier said.

“They're doing a good job learning the musical,” director Michael Altman said.

“I'm excited because this is my first school musical,” said senior Jeremy Moore, who portrays the Beast.

His theater experience is with the Dreams of Hope youth performing arts group. He said he chose to participate in “Beauty & the Beast” because it's his senior year and he had some encouragement from French teacher Toni Besh.

Now, he said, he wishes he had gotten involved sooner.

“This is definitely something kids should be doing,” Jeremy said. “I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it in past years.”

Senior Kaylee Rush, who plays Belle, has been acting in the school's musicals since 10th grade.

“I really wanted to get the lead because it's my senior year,” she said.

Kaylee said the Disney version of “Beauty & the Beast” always has been her 20-year-old sister Brittney's favorite movie.

“I think she was more excited than I was,” Kaylee said.

Altman said the costumes were a challenge this year, but Besh “was awesome.”

Besh and her team handmade every costume except the French armoire worn by Kelsey Haley as Madame de la Grande Bouche.

“With any show, I get a list of all the characters and try to become familiar with them,” Besh said. “With a show like ‘Beauty & the Beast,' we watched the movie. We went online and looked at different pictures.

“I start to get a feel of what the period would be. Then comes the magic. How can we make this person look like this?”

Besh's main design and creative team includes Mary Mehock and Diane Sheetz, though many others assist in costume construction.

Besh's daughter Ashley, a 2011 Steel Valley graduate who attended Joe Blasco Make Up School in Los Angeles, is makeup director.

She made a cast of Jeremy's head to get started on her makeup for the Beast.

“Then I made a mold of that,” she explained. “That's how you make the prosthetics.”

“She will be very important from now until the end of the show run because she not only has to put the costume on him, but there's a 27-second transformation where he becomes the prince when she has to get it off,” the elder Besh said.

She said she's very thankful her daughter is available for the production.

“I don't know if we could have done the show without her,” she said.

While Toni Besh had done some costume work for Steel Valley musicals in previous years, she has been designing costumes for them for the past six. Ashley has been assisting her mother for several years and has done makeup for four of the shows.

Altman said it is the first time he has directed “Beauty & the Beast.”

“It's a show that I've wanted to do for several years and it seemed like the right time to do it,” he said.

Altman's four daughters — Sarah, 7; Mary Ann, 5; Hannah, 3; and Elizabeth, 1 — will make cameo appearances.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or

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