Tonawanda News

March 28, 2014

Broadway shines on Mount St. Mary's

By Amy Wallace
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — It’s not often that dance and theater students get to learn from a real professional in the field but students at Mount St. Mary Academy in Tonawanda were recently given the opportunity to learn lessons from a Broadway musical actress and dancer. 

Bethany Moore, a member of the TONY Award Winning cast of “PIPPIN” and a University at Buffalo 2007 graduate, shared her wisdom and experience with students in the dance and theater program at Mount St. Mary Academy Monday. Moore came to the school to teach a master class for students in the Fosse-style of dance along with giving tips on stage presence and what it was like to work on Broadway. 

The private, all-girls Catholic school offers theatre works and dance classes. Students are able to study dance as part of their Fine Arts or physical education curriculum.

Moore went to UB with Mount St. Mary’s dance and theater teacher, Kelly Copps. It was Copps, an ‘04 graduate of Mount St. Mary’s, who asked her longtime friend to come to the school.

“We have new classes and it is really the beginning of an expansion of the dance program here,” Copps said, adding that they have a dedicated dance studio now that used to be used for other things. “We felt that if we have the space, we might as well use it.”

Copps said she felt that the students would learn valuable experience from listening to the Broadway performer. 

Moore made her Broadway debut in “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” a 2011 rock musical with music and lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge which became infamous for its high price tag and multiple mishaps on stage. 

“It was strange to be in an infamous show as my first show,” Moore said. “We weren’t allowed to post anything about what was happening.” 

Several cast members suffered injuries during the show, including Moore who said she hurt her rib. 

“It didn’t really feel like Broadway to me,” Moore said. “For me, Broadway is more shows like ‘Pippin’ and ‘Into the Woods.’”

Shortly thereafter she appeared in the Public Theater’s “Into the Woods” and is now on Broadway as a member of the TONY Award Winning cast of “PIPPIN.” Moore has also performed in touring shows including “A Chorus Line” playing Judy and “Cats” as Bombalurina. 

Moore said she really feels like she “made it” when she worked with Broadway greats like Stephen Schwartz and Stephen Sondheim. 

Moore told the students that one misconception about being on Broadway is that is glamourous all the time.

“We currently do six days of shows, eight shows a week,” Moore said. “It’s a lot of hard work.”

Moore has also worked as a part of Broadway Classroom in New York City, which are workshops for groups to give the Broadway show experience. 

Following her master class, Moore starred in a musical revue “From Buffalo to Broadway,” at the Second Generation Theatre Company at the New Phoenix Theatre on the Park. The show was a fundraiser for the theater company started by Copps and her husband, Steven.