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A Smoky Valley curtain call: Youth theater debuts a Disney classic

SMOKY VALLEY — The Smoky Valley Youth Theater ended its maiden production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR this August after two months of rehearsing, dancing, singing, and learning culminated in performances that made the audience want more.

The 20-actor cast was amazing and impressive with their talent and dedication, according to those who saw the show.

Andrew Sweeney played multiple roles as the prince, the beast, Monsieur D’Arque and the baker.

“My favorite part of BATB JR was getting to be part of the team and meeting all the other cast members,” he said. “I didn’t feel nervous because we were very prepared for the performance.”

MaciAnn Sutherland, who portrayed Belle in the production, said her favorite thing was making new friends and connections through the production.

“The most challenging part was parts of the singing and trying to hit the higher notes,” she said.

Carson Grigory, who portrayed the hat salesman, candle salesman and Lumiere in the production, said it was also difficult to perfect his French accent.

The actors learned music and dance steps as part of their production.

“My favorite thing was learning all the songs and choreography,” said Delilah Court, who portrayed the butcher, a villager, a narrator and a feather duster in the production. “Normally, I’m very shy but performing in front of a crowd felt different and I wasn’t nervous at all.”

The production crew consisted entirely of volunteers and did an amazing job of creating a theater-like atmosphere with sound, lighting, set-design and execution.

Executive Director Loretta Wallace said the most incredible thing was seeing the actors grow in their craft as well as in their relationships with other cast members.

Wallace says one of her greatest joys was being able to direct the cast with her daughter, Ava Wilson, who served as the assistant director, choreographer and music director for this production.

“This group of young actors made an already spectacular story even more wonderful with their energy and their imagination,” Wilson said. “To say that I am proud of them would be an understatement.”

In addition to Wallace and Wilson, the Smoky Valley Youth Theater Executive Board comprises Thad Wind and JoAnna Stevenson.

Follow Smoky Valley Youth Theater on Facebook and find the group on Instagram IG@smokyvalleyyt.

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