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CONTRIBUTED PHOTOFrom left: Tristan J. Shuler (Beast) and Tasia Gilbert (Belle), “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” Dec. 28 - Jan. 6, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOFrom left: Tristan J. Shuler (Beast) and Tasia Gilbert (Belle), “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” Dec. 28 - Jan. 6, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Sing for America: Family theater troupe brings ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ to Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown

Friday, December 30, 2016 by ERIN FERGUSON Special to The Press in Focus

For its 10th anniversary season, Sing for America is presenting “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” opening Dec. 28 and continuing through Jan. 8, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.

Sing for America was founded by Taryn Gilbert and her four siblings in 2005. The choral and theater troupe provides an artistic outlet for under-served communities. The Gilbert Family, which hails from the Easton area, raise money for families of active serving military.

“One thing we’ve noticed in our many years doing live theater was the amount of ‘traditional’ casting that occurred among theater companies, particularly in this area,” says Taryn Gilbert.

“Being a biracial family, there were many roles that we were never considered for due to this way of thinking. We wanted to change that here in the Valley and give equal opportunity to minorities and people of all ages in our community.

“Our tag-line is ‘The Arts Are Colorblind’ and we have become the most diverse theater company in the Lehigh Valley.”

A portion of proceeds from Sing for America productions goes to military families in the Lehigh Valley. The Gilbert Family works with the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers, which helps them to identify families in need.

Since 2005, Sing for America has performed more than 1,200 concerts, produced 14 musicals and donated $45,000 to charity.

Musicals staged by Sing for America include: “Seussical,” 2015: “Hairspray,” 2015; “Tarzan: The Broadway Musical,” 2014; “Shrek The Musical,” 2013; “Babes in Toyland,” 2013; “The Wiz,” 2012; “All-Night Strut,” 2012; “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” 2011, and “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas The Musical,” 2011.

“We actually began strictly as a concert group, performing at various venues up and down the East Coast,” says Taryn Gilbert. “We put on a variety show and still do that to this day. But in 2011 we expanded our mission to include community members of all ages and backgrounds and talents.”

Sing for America’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” is based on the hit Disney musical, which opened in 1994 on Broadway with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. The show was adapted from Walt Disney Pictures’ Academy Award-winning 1991 animated feature film based on the classic French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

“Beauty and the Beast” tells the story of a prince who has been transformed into a beast as punishment for his selfishness. To return to his human form, the Beast must earn the love of a bright, beautiful young woman whom he has imprisoned in his enchanted castle.

“Our Beast is a gentlemen named Tristan J. Shuler who is on break right now from a national tour of ‘Odd Squad Live.’” says Taryn Gilbert.

The show is expected to run about two hours with a 15-minute intermission.

The show’s popular songs include: “Belle,” “No Matter What,” “Home,” “Gaston,” “Be Our Guest,” “How Long Must This Go On?,” “If I Can’t Love Her,” “Something There,” “Human Again,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “A Change In Me.”

”We design and create the set and costumes ourselves. I will be co-directing with my sister, Teara, for this production.

“You’ll see all of five of the Gilbert siblings in the production in various roles as well as our father, Bruce Gilbert. This is truly a family affair. My mother, Gina, is production manager.

“We work with local people, people from the Poconos, and working professionals in New York and New Jersey. Most of our actors donate their time,” Taryn Gilbert says.

Sing for America is also presenting its annual production of “The Little Princess,” 10 a.m., 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29, 30; 7:30 p.m. Jan. 1, 2, 3 and 2 p.m. Jan. 2, 3, Charles A. Brown Ice House, 56 River Road, Bethlehem, and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. Tickets: 610-417-2189, singforamerica.com

Sing for America, “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” 11 a.m., 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28, 30; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29; 1 p.m. Dec. 31; 11 a.m., 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4, 5; 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6; 2 p.m. Jan. 8, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown. Tickets; Miller Symphony Hall box office; millersymphonyhall.org; 610-432-6715