Belmont Theatre virtual showcase features alumni who made theater a career

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
The Belmont Theatre Executive Director Lyn Bergdol poses with a slide show of the theater's past productions Monday, March 15, 2021. The theater is organizing a two-act virtual showcase called "From York to New York: A Virtual Youth Vocal Showcase." The showcase features current and alumni performers from The Belmont, many of whom have achieved professional theater careers. The first act of the free, streaming series will be available starting March 20, with the second act starting a month later. Bill Kalina photo

Belmont Theatre students past and present will share their favorite Broadway songs and the secrets to having a career in performing arts — with hopes of inspiring future musicians, actors and artists. 

It's all part of a two-act virtual showcase the theater is organizing in lieu of live performances during the COVID-19 pandemic, "From York to New York: A Virtual Youth Vocal Showcase."

"Obviously there's nothing better than live theater, and people really miss that," said Belmont Theatre Executive Director Lyn Bergdoll. "Folks have been very receptive and appreciative of the virtual events that we've done because we've been able to bring performing arts to them."

The virtual showcase will be presented in two parts, available on the Belmont Theatre's website at https://thebelmont.org/. Act One will premiere on Saturday, March 20, and the second part will launch on Tuesday, April 20. Both will be available until Thursday, May 20.

Access to watch the showcase is free, but donations are encouraged. Individuals can donate via The Belmont Theatre website.

In total, 40 performers will sing, dance and provide commentary on the professional performing arts world, Bergdoll said. 

Some Belmont Theatre alumni who are part of the virtual event include playwright Ken Ludwig, who wrote "Lend Me a Tenor," "Moon Over Buffalo" and more, and who will be the host of the showcase; and David Masenheimer, who performed as Javert on Broadway's "Les Misérables." 

The Belmont Theatre Executive Director Lyn Bergdol, left, and the theater's artistic director Rene Staub, talk with a technician, right, in the Grumbacher Studio at the theater Monday, March 15, 2021. The set for "The Miracle Worker“ – a production that was cancelled last March – still occupies the space. The theater is organizing a two-act virtual showcase called "From York to New York: A Virtual Youth Vocal Showcase." The showcase features current and alumni performers from The Belmont, many of whom have achieved professional theater careers. The first act of the the free, streaming series will be available starting March 20. The second act will come a month later. Bill Kalina photo

"I think a lot of people don't realize how many people from York go on to being successful, whether it's Broadway, TV or movies," Bergdoll said. "Every one of them were so pleased to send a video talking about their experiences at York Little Theatre."

York Little Theatre got its start in York County in 1933. In 2016, it rebranded as The Belmont Theatre.

Though the theater has been closed for a year, Bergdoll said the organization's virtual shows have been received well. 

Moving forward, Bergdoll said, she hopes to open the theater to a four-week summer camp program this year. Additionally, Bergdoll said she is aiming to return to live performances at the end of August with "The Miracle Worker."

"This is a real treasure in this community, and we're proud of the community for supporting us for all of these years," Bergdoll said. "It's really an honor to be a part of the theater."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.