July 15--The Sovereign Majestic Theater was standing-room only Sunday during the fifth anniversary of "Lil' Bits of Broadway."
The show, which started at 2 p.m., included songs from "Gypsy," "Pippin," "Les Miserables," "South Pacific" and more, that were performed by a cast of 40 participants.
"We are thrilled to be hosting this fifth anniversary of 'Lil' Bits of Broadway,' " said Sandy Kost-Sterner, director and producer of the show. "We have an outstanding staff of professionals who work perfectly with the performers."
There were 220 people in attendance and more chairs had to be put out.
She said that it has now been five years since the Pottsville Gymnastics and Theatrical Center Inc. began hosting theater-based shows for the youth in the area and they hope to expand with some new and exciting events.
According to Kost-Sterner, for the fifth anniversary, several of the soloists from the first show were back to perform again in this year's event.
The soloists included Reiley Lonergan, Cassidy Conroy, Kayla Sabol, Katrina Calvin, Josh Hanrahan, Bryel Frasch and Taylor Lindenmuth.
In addition, Jacob Tarconish, Catherine Nadeau, Jeffrey Lazarchick and Makenna Copeland, all who have performed in past Pottsville GTC shows, are also featured soloists.
Kost-Sterner said "Lil' Bits of Broadway" was started in 2009 by then 10-year-old Lonergan and the show benefited the St. Joseph's Center for Special Learning that year.
This year's show also included two brother/sister duets, with Reiley Lonergan, 14, and Brendan Lonergan, 10, performing "Together, Wherever We Go" from "Gypsy," and Gabrielle Quandel, 15, and Keiffer Quandel, 13, performing "Anything You Can Do" from "Annie Get Your Gun."
In addition to the featured singers, the Pottsville GTC's newly formed Spotlight Kidz junior performance squad performed, as well as several youngsters in the junior and senior ensemble.
Through their shows, Pottsville GTC gives a monetary donation to a local organization. The remainder of any money left is used to help produce the next show.
Conroy, Fountain Springs, who is currently a senior at Wilkes University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts with a focus in acting and directing, said that when he was in high school, Kost-Sterner approached him and asked if he would be in the show since it would be a great opportunity.
"I'm very excited (to be back)," he said. "It's my roots from where I came from, so I mean five years later, I'm going to be a senior in college and coming back to something I was doing in high school. It's very close to my heart and it just comforts me."
Kost-Sterner said the theater teaches youngsters to believe in themselves and helps build self-confidence and effective communication skills, while encouraging a child's creative and imaginary flair.
"Students learn the value in teamwork and the wonders of diversity through drama," she said. "Our motto at Pottsville GTC has always been 'Where Every Child Is A Star' and we try to bring out the star-quality in all of our students."
Besides the show Sunday, Pottsville GTC has numerous events coming up.
It will be hosting a theater/acting camp called "Lights, Camera, Action!" from Aug. 12 to 16 at Pottsville GTC's facility in downtown Pottsville.
The camp, which is open to girls and boys ages 5 to 11, will conclude with a performance at the Sovereign Majestic Theater on the last day of camp.
Auditions for Pottsville GTC's next show, "Magical Memories: A Tribute to the Magic of Disney," will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 and 22.
The show will be held Sept. 29 at the Sovereign Majestic Theater and is open to girls and boys, ages 5 and up.
It is also producing its very first play, "The Diary of Anne Frank," that will be performed at the Sovereign Majestic Theater at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 and 2 p.m. Sept. 8.
Kost-Sterner is the producer and the director is Emily Ehlinger, a Minersville native who resides in New York City.
For more information, visit "Pottsville Gymnastics & Theatrical Center, Inc." on Facebook.
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