Brentwood student-actors get into their roles in musical
Twirling around in the poufy, bright gold ball gown — her newly dyed brown hair twisted neatly away from her face —- Kristen Blazeyewski said she feels like a princess.
“This is real. I'm actually Belle,” said the Brentwood High School sophomore.
That magical, fairytale feeling is coming to life on the Brentwood Middle/High School stage as students perform this year's spring musical, Disney's “Beauty and the Beast.”
Elaborate sets and costumes, months of preparation and a tight-knit cast are helping to transform the Brentwood auditorium into a land of fantasy, in their own Spartan fashion, of course.
“They have Disney magic. We have Brentwood magic,” said junior Kevin Pacini, 17, who plays Cogsworth.
Director Steve Leopold said he has always wanted to have a Disney show performed on the Brentwood stage. This year, there were enough boys to fill the parts.
“It's the magic,” he said. The show also sticks with Leopold's philosophy that all performances at Brentwood must be family friendly and appeal to audiences of all ages, he said.
“We wanted to look at this and do this in our own way,” Leopold said. “The kids, they put their heart and soul into the musical.”
This year's show required extensive planning for school officials who begin last June researching costumes, props and that tricky and often difficult transformation of the Beast into a prince, said Ginnie Schaap, assistant director.
“If I'm going to do it, I might as well do it as accurate as I can,” she said, minutes after running to the borough library to borrow books from the show's time period that could be used on stage as props.
Students joked that Schaap would stand in front of the stage staring, trying to envision how things would transform, or come to rehearsals excited, shouting, “I had a dream last night, this is how we're doing it.”
“It's true,” she said, laughing.
Students began rehearsing in December for the show. Their transformations into the characters have been uncanny, Leopold said. It's almost like each student was born to play their part, he said.
Some students said they were worried at first when they heard Brentwood was going to be performing “Beauty and the Beast” this year. After all, it's a big production with large sets and detailed costumes and Brentwood is a small school, with a little stage and an even smaller wing space.
“I thought we'd never be able to do it. It's so grand,” said junior Anthony McDonnell, 16, who plays the Beast.
But, they found a way to make things work. And this show is one they know everyone will enjoy.
“Everyone grows up wanting to be Belle,” said senior Emily Schneider, 18, who plays Mrs. Potts.
“Not everyone grows up wanting to be the Beast,” McDonnell said with a laugh. “Or a prince.”
The change of pace in the show will keep the audience entertained throughout and those familiar melodies will have them singing from their seats, as students perform from the aisle and stage.
“That's the best part. Everyone can get involved,” Schneider said. “Everyone knows the songs. It will be stuck in their heads for weeks.”
The cast this year has bonded over the melodies, lines and hours upon hours spent together.
“The kids all come together and are like a family,” Schaap said. “You would think they would have had enough of each other after seeing each other five days a week for three hours a day, but they want more. I figure that means we're doing something right.”
“What makes this show special is how we mesh. Everybody works for each other,” said senior Mara Eisenbarth, 17, who plays Babette. “ It's not who can be the best, it's how can we be the best together,”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park in ‘freak accident’
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Police: Maine man shoots off firework from top of head, dies
- Pirates minor league report: Ramirez more mindful while at plate
- Starting 9: Pirates missing out on young bat
- Biertempfel: Loss of All-Star paper ballots a blow to nostalgia
- Locke pitches 8 scoreless innings as Pirates edge Indians
- Allentown mayor says he’s cooperating with federal probe
- Starkey: Bring back the Brawl!
- Court attire can have impact, public defenders say
- Philly’s new vibrancy lures crowds