A new youth theatre company in Bedford Hills opens its first show tonight, featuring a cast of eager young actors from the area.
Beauty and the Beast may be the first show Pied Piper Youth Theater is holding in its new facility in Bedford Hills but the company—based in Stormville, NY—is actually seven years old.
The space at 238 Route 117 Bypass Road is formerly home to performances of the Theatre District at and was rented in June by John and Bonnie Ryerson, founders and directors of PPYT.
With 200 students already enrolled in their Stormville space, Bonnie Ryerson said they were looking for a better performance facility.
The couple found it in this 4,800-square-foot theater that has two huge dressing rooms, a costume-loft, a dance studio, a voice-piano studio and seats for a 150-person audience.
“We are simply breathing new life into what is a fantastic, hip and sophisticated black-box theater space, said John Ryerson. “The space is large but has a warm, intimate feeling about it that makes kids feel like it's their own.”
The seasoned theater duo has been in the business for more than twenty years—acting, dancing, teaching, directing, writing, musically directing and doing choreography.
The new outlet will offer young people, ages 4-18, opportunities to take part in musicals and plays. It will also hold various classes and workshops including voice and musical lessons.
“What is special about our company is the combination of a professional-quality theater experience—great writing, beautiful sets and costumes—with a very family-oriented, nurturing environment that really focuses on the process of theater,” Bonnie Ryerson said.
“Kids who might have been shy when they started with us are now playing lead roles.”
The summer production currently underway at the new Bedford Hills location is an original adaptation of Peter Pan for ages 7-13, that will be performed August 9 and 10; Beauty and The Beast will take the stage July 27, 28 and 29, and a cabaret style production entitled, 'Glee' will be performed on August 17 and 18.
Fall plans include productions of “Cinderella” (ages 6 - 10) and “Seussical” (ages 11 and up). There are no auditons required and all are welcome, Bonnie Ryerson added.
The Ryersons, with their solid experience both in theater and teaching acting to children—Bonnie is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory of Music as a drama major and John studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Lee Strasberg Studio and The Actor's Studio—both pride themselves on being actively involved in every aspect of the production process.
And John Ryerson said the satisfaction of running the company is more than just creating theater.
“What is so fulfilling is witnessing and having a nurturing hand in the sometimes extraordinary leaps in development that occurs with some of our young performers, both as actors and as people.”
For tickets and more information on workshops and classes, visit the website of the Pied Piper Youth Theater.