DeMeuse Takes Stage as Disney’s Belle


Anna DeMeuse, second from right, will take the part of Belle in the school musical Beauty and the Beast

Mallory Kaster, Senior Staff Writer

Senior Anna DeMeuse will take the stage Thursday night for the first of NDA’s four productions of Beauty and the Beast.

DeMeuse will star as Belle in her second NDA musical. It’s safe to say she was not expecting such a large role.

“It was a little surreal for the first few rehearsals,” she said. “All in all it has been such a privilege putting in so much hard work on this show along with the rest of the cast! I couldn’t do it without all of the talented people a part of this show.”

Even though this is only DeMeuse’s second NDA musical, she says she has enjoyed singing and acting since she was little.

“I didn’t really start acting on the stage until high school. In middle school I was a part of Forensics play acting but that was about the extent of my acting experience until high school,” she said.

“Singing is a little different story. I had been singing in various choirs since elementary school. At NDA I have been a part of three plays and last year’s musical, Aida. I have also performed in community theater through Calvary Players and enjoyed every moment of performing in Children of Eden and Seussical.”

DeMeuse, along with the cast, crew and directors, have been practicing almost every day preparing for the show. DeMeuse said she enjoys being with the people she works with.

“My favorite part of being in a musical performance is getting to know and work with so many people from the cast members, crew, pit orchestra, sound and light crew, set constructors, parents, directors, costumers and all the wonderful volunteers,” she said. “It is amazing to see how many people come together to prepare a fantastic show!”

Although DeMeuse was shocked to get the role of Belle, music director Chris Salerno says Anna is a natural for the part of Belle. “She’s sincere, sweet, and an awesome musician.  Anna is falling into the role of Belle as we progress to the performances,” she said.

Salerno also says that DeMeuse’s ability to sing, dance and act contributed to her receiving the role of Belle.

“She has a great work ethic and is a multitude of talent,” she said.

Creative Director Brandon Byng agreed with Salerno. “Anna is a strong singer, which again is very important in a musical, because music is the foundation of a musical,” Byng said. “However, Anna showed me that she is also a very capable actor and dancer.”

Byng said that casting the show, especially the part of Belle, was not easy. DeMeuse was able to convince Byng while singing Belle’s parts that she was perfect for the role.


“In a musical, an actor’s singing ability is very important, and again all who were considered were very talented singers, but Anna ultimately stood out to me because when I heard her singing Belle’s parts, she made me believe that she was Belle, and I could imagine her on stage in this role,” he said.


Byng says that Anna has improved greatly from the beginning of the rehearsal process.


“Anna has shown a great work ethic from day one of rehearsals. She learned her music and lines quickly and listened and took direction well,” Byng said. “She did not let making a mistake stop her from trying again and learning from them.”


DeMeuse said the hardest part of playing Belle is living up to everyone’s expectations of the princess they have watched since they were little.


“It is such a common but beautiful storyline that almost everyone is familiar with, and definitely my favorite Disney princess movie of all time,” DeMeuse said. “So doing justice to the original Belle is definitely daunting!”


Although playing such a big role may seem intimidating, DeMeuse said Belle is among one of her favorite characters she has been privileged to play. She would describe herself as joyful, hopeful, faithful, authentic and honest, somewhat like Belle.


“[Belle and I] have many similarities, or at least I hope we do!” she said. “Belle is extremely simple, very joyful, caring and has a very gentle spirit. However, Belle lets her curiosity get the better of her sometimes and is definitely a dreamer, which is very different from me.”

Although DeMeuse is very involved in theater, she finds other things to fill her time as well.

“Outside of theater I am involved a lot at my church, Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral, teaching catechism to fifth grade and being involved in the choir and music ministries,” she said.

“I am also a leader of NDA Witness, the Catholic Youth Group at NDA, along with Greg Young who is also a part of the musical. So I guess you could say Jesus and theater are my life and you would be pretty accurate!”

DeMeuse lives by the motto “All for God’s greater glory.”

“It gives direction to every action I do and directs my talents and gifts back to the one who has given them to me,” she said.

Byng describes Anna, along with the rest of the cast, crew and pit, as amazing.

“Everyone in the show has done an equally great job putting this show together and they are all a team.  I am very proud of everyone,” he said. “I hope that everyone will come to the show and see what they all have achieved!”

“Please ‘Be Our Guest’ and come see the fantastic show, Beauty and the Beast, February 20-23!” DeMeuse said.