Musical theatre fans of all ages filled the SRSS theatre this past weekend and enjoyed "Beauty and the Beast" performed by students from grade 2 to grade 8 from Steinbach Arts Council's Fusion Musical Theatre program. 

Director Gabriela Gallo says it was a very moving experience for her.

"I had such a hard time keeping it together this year. You know, 6 sold-out shows, 110 kids, almost 2,000 audience members got to see their hard work and their dedication. I think that was the biggest thing for me. I had a really hard time not breaking down in tears, so many times throughout the show."

Gallo explains. "It wasn't necessarily the moments that people would think, you know, the emotional ones that are part of the show, it was also the funny ones. I was just so proud of these kids and everything that they did, and I just loved watching them, you know, blossom right before my eyes. It was really cool."  

Gallo notes that rehearsals for "Beauty & the Beast" began in September 2023, but because they had two different casts, the students were only able to rehearse twice a month. That said, "You know, they really came out and did their best and just did an amazing job for their audience. I was so proud of them."

Beauty & the Beast final scene with cast of performers with Fusion Musical Theater (Photo credit: SAC)Beauty & the Beast final scene with cast of performers with Fusion Musical Theater (Photo credit: SAC)

Gallo says one of the biggest things for the performers and crew in this year's musical were all the donations of supplies and services from the private and business community.

"Which meant we were able to spend a money on creating this whole world for the kids with incredible sets, the absolutely fabulous costumes, and I think that alone was able to elevate the performances for the kids, as well, it didn't feel like, "oh, I'm a grade six student being this part, I'm actually in this world." And I think it was also an opportunity for them to grow as actors and performers in that way, because they could believe it that much more, being in that whole world that we created for them. So, that was fantastic."

Gallo notes another highlight for her was, "the bonding that these kids did as a troop, the way they encouraged and supported each other, watching them grow in their craft and their musicality, honestly, each student would say that they just improved immensely this year and learned so many things from you know, myself and my other assistants and each other. It was just a really beautiful year."

Gallo thanks the many supporters Fusion Musical Theatre has. 

"To our wonderful community in the southeast, please continue to support these kids, and these kinds of programs. I run this musical theatre program and then I run two other choirs that we rehearsed with on Thursday nights, and they're both growing and growing and growing. I have almost 200 students of my own just through this community and I love it, and I feel very blessed, so thank you." 

As for what's ahead for Fusion for the fall? All Gallo can say right now is,

"You know, I've always got new ideas, and new things that I'm working toward to make it bigger and better than ever, but I haven't officially announced which musical we'll be doing next year. But I really do feel like continuing in this Disney genre. It's just so fabulous for audiences, with the familiar songs and for kids with the familiarity of parts. And it just kind of, you know, that Disney magic is something that everyone loves."