'Barnum' to take center stage at Kean Theatre this month
Zack Weismann's booming baritone voice has reverberated through Paragon Studios in McCandless for months, as he prepares for his next role.
Director Deborah Loffredi Metzger said a performer must have quite a presence to play the title role in the musical “Barnum,” which will be on stage at 7:30 p.m. May 23 and 24 at the Kean Theatre in Richland Township.
Weismann, 17, of McCandless can relate to the role after being somewhat of a troublemaker at Paragon Studios in the first half of his nine years of class time there. He used to bring toys to play with, and had a short attention span.
“It was just kid things, and I probably frustrated (Loffredi Metzger) at times,” Weismann said. “It's pretty cool now that I can go back to my younger days and bring back those features.”
“Barnum” was inspired by the life of 19th-century impresario P.T. Barnum, best known today for being the Barnum in what now is the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.
Weismann said he can relate to Barnum's mischievousness. The flamboyant showman displays what he says is a 161-year-old woman who was George Washington's nurse and has a museum full of curiosities, such as “The FeeJee Mermaid” in New York City.
“I think that (Barnum) knows what people are like, what they want to hear, and he knows that people are suckers,” Weismann said. “As he says, ‘There's a sucker born every minute.'”
Cast members had to learn how to juggle for the show, which has a circus motif.
“We've been training for a while on juggling and have had some successes already, so we're juggling a lot of balls and scarfs for the show,” Loffredi Metzger said.
Performers such as ensemble member Bethany Tonarelli, who has been with Paragon Studios for eight years, have taken on the challenge.
“We were all a little worried when we found out we had to juggle,” said Tonarelli, 15, of Ross Township.
“I was worried because I had to try juggling in gym once and struggled in that except for the scarfs. Luckily, I only have one scene where I have to juggle, but we have all taken a few minutes out of every rehearsal to practice for months.”
Ensemble member Megan Fox started Paragon Studios classes in September after taking classes with Act One Theatre School through the eighth grade.
“Barnum” is her first Paragon Studios production.
She said that the show often has a lot of people doing tricks at once, and keeping everyone coordinated is a challenge.
“When we first started, it was so difficult to place everyone, and I think we've definitely figured that out for the whole show,” Fox, 15, of Wexford said. “We also have younger kids, as young as 3 and 4, who will be part of the show, so we've all worked really hard with supporting each other and helping each other.”
Fox performs feats such as cartwheels at varying points in the show. Others do more difficult acrobatics.
“All of the different things we have to do and synchronize as a big group makes it a really unique musical,” Fox said. “I feel like everyone makes each other better, and that's why we're in great shape and will only get better.”
Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: “Mission ...” program at Northland Public Library
- Young McCandless actor has roles in 2 upcoming movies
- School planetariums continue to educate, amaze students