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Pre-show helps introduce the arts to young Brentwood students

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A small girl — dressed in a shiny, gold Disney princess dress — rushed to the Brentwood Middle/High School stage with a “Thank You” sign in hand.

Throwing her arms around sophomore Kristen Blazeyewski's neck, the girl began to smile.

“I was starstruck when she came and hugged me,” said Blazeyewski, 16, who plays Belle in this year's spring musical, Disney's “Beauty and the Beast.”

Cast and crew took the stage for the first time last week to perform snippets of the show — set for April 11, 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium — for their peers and students from the Munchkin University child care center.

The pre-show, performed on March 27 during school hours, allowed actors and stage crew members to work out any kinks in the performance, while seeing how a live audience responded to the show. It also provided an opportunity for younger students in the Brentwood Borough School District to learn about the arts firsthand, director Steve Leopold said.

“It's important for us to introduce the arts to students at a young age,” said Leopold, noting that a pre-show typically is done for Brentwood's elementary students, as well. The cold temperatures this year prohibited that.

“This taught them about more than just performing arts, but also visual arts,” he said.

Students, after viewing several songs from the show, had the opportunity to ask questions about the process used, costumes and rehearsals for this year's show.

Performers said they hope this extra show helps to ease their on-stage jitters before opening night.

“I was nervous as can be. This is my first time performing without a giant mask on, let alone having lines,” said Brentwood senior Josh Hannan, 17, who plays Maurice.

The show received high accolades from those in attendance.

“It was really cool. I liked all of their costumes,” said sixth-grader Sydney Gilchrist, 11.

“It was cool,” said sixth-grader Elyssa Bennawit, 12.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or

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