SCRANTON — The Scranton Cultural Center Youth Theatre Program brings a “tale as old as time” to life on the center’s historic main stage as cast members performed their production of “Beauty and the Beast The Broadway Musical” April 20-22.
The production was based on Broadway’s version of the story and included the classic songs from Disney’s 1991 animated movie, including “Be Our Guest,” “Belle” and “Gaston.” It also included songs from the live stage production such as “No Matter What” in which Belle (played by 16-year-old Breanna Gleim) and her father Maurice (played by 13-year-old Noah Nielsen) sing to each other. Another song from the live musical is the closing number of Act I, “If I Can’t Love Her” sung by Scranton resident Nicholas Moore playing the Beast.
Moore has performed in many plays with the SCC’s Youth Theatre Program. He played the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” Shrek from “Shrek the Musical,” Edna Turnblad from “Hairspray” and Dewey Finn from “School of Rock.” He also played three roles — Jacob, Pharaoh and Potiphar — in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“I really enjoy working here,” Moore said of the cultural center. “Everybody is so nice. The director (Camille Reinecke) always keeps us up with our acting skills. It’s a blessing to be able to work here.”
Wearing a shaggy costume and a mask, Moore became the titular character, a role he believed was both challenging and creative.
Bringing comic relief to the play was 12-year-old Clarks Summit resident Aidan Matkosky as Gaston’s lackey sidekick LeFou. Matkosky portrayed the funny character, whom the character Gaston (played by Leo Sirianni) treats as a toady footstool by sometimes knocking him on the floor. This was Matkosky’s first full-scale musical after having attended musical theater boot camp at Scranton Cultural Center’s summer camp.
“Being in the show make me feel happy and a mix of other emotions like nervous and excited,” he said. “Being in the show is the best experience of my life. I love working with the talented kids.”
The cast consisted of 60 children from pre-K to 12th grade. Amanda Alfano donned a white pompadour wig while dressed as a candlestick to play Lumiere. Cole Roberts dressed as a clock while playing the sensible-minded Cogsworth. Ariana Sopkie put her face in a teacup while hiding the rest of her body behind a covered table as she played Chip, the son of Mrs. Potts (played by Megan Farrell.)
The cast members have been rehearing since January and were directed by Camille Reinecke, Arts and Education Outreach Manager of the Scranton Cultural Center.
“They’re spectacular kids,” Reinecke said. “I’ve always thought it was a beautiful story but the process of working on the show with these kids has made me fall in love with the story.”
People who have also helped with this production include choreographer/music director Jackilyn Yamialkowski and Joey James, music director.
“Now that the show is over, they (the cast members) are looking forward to welcoming students in the summer program.”
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