Arts & Entertainment

Yorktown Production Company Returns with ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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Gina Noto and Miguel Acevedo in character as Belle and Beast. Credits: Kevin Kearins
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Hayley Craane portrays Chip. She will be joined on stage by her father, Billy Craane, who portrays Lumiere. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik
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JEFFERSON VALLEY, N.Y. – The first production company to ever bring live theater to the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center has returned to the area to rehearse for its upcoming production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

KJK Productions, formerly known as the Yorktown Theater Company, was founded in 1982 by Kevin J. Kearins, the company’s producer and artistic director. From 1982 to 1995, the troupe brought classic plays such as “The Sound of Music” and “Phantom of the Opera” to Yorktown before relocating to Tarrytown.

Since then, the organization has worked as a theater camp, educating children through summer productions and as a co-producer of productions at Westchester schools.

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“Beauty and the Beast” marks the company’s first adult, main-stage production in at least 10 years, said Gina Onto, who portrays Belle. The 32-member cast is made up of actors who hail from Yorktown, Somers, Mahopac and other Westchester and Putnam communities. The company has been practicing its rendition of the “tale as old as time” at the Country Academy of Dance at the Triangle Shopping Center in Yorktown.

The last mainstage production Noto remembers was “High School Musical” in 2007. Noto has directed, choreographed and acted with KJK Productions since 2000, both at camp and in various schools throughout Westchester.

Noto lives in Somers and works as a school psychologist during the school year, so her schedule afforded her to opportunity to audition for the coveted role of Belle this summer.

“Belle is really a dream role for me and for I think any musical theater girl out there,” she said.

She expects audiences will enjoy the company’s take on the Disney classic, and looks forward to sharing the production with theater-goers.

“Disney is just a happy place,” she said.

Two performances will be held at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. this Saturday (July 22) at Putnam Valley Performing Arts Center located at 146 Peekskill Hollow Road. Tickets range from $15 to $25. For tickets and more information, call 914-962-6665 or visit kjkproductions.org.

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