Long before she was that kid from Kansas in last year’s Pleasantville High School production of “The Wizard of Oz,” Kathryn Faughnan was a Broadway baby, appearing as Jane Banks in the original cast of “Mary Poppins” in 2006.
This week, the Pleasantville senior plays “Belle,” the bookworm who dreams of life beyond her provincial French town, in “Beauty and the Beast.” The production, directed by Kathleen Donovan-Warren, features a cast of 70, plus musicians and crew.
Faughnan knows that great roles come with great responsibility: Being a real-life Belle for dozens of little girls who’ll see the show just to catch a glimpse of the girl in the blue dress over the next two weekends.
“It’s scary, actually,” Faughnan says. “Afterwards, we’ll have a meet-and-greet and it’s going to be hard, because they have this concept of Belle in their minds and I have to fulfill that concept.”
If she’s unfamiliar with that particular burden, she is familiar with the score by Westchester native Alan Menken and words by Howard Ashman.
“I used to use these songs at auditions for other shows,” she says. “The show is written beautifully.”
To make a song like “A Change in Me” her own, the 17-year-old Faughnan says she related it to her life in theater.
“When I was younger, I was very nervous, and I’ve learned that I have to accept msyself and I have to be confident out there in order to portray a character that is so well known,” she says. “I’ve changed my mindset over the years when I’m on stage: Rather than being nervous, I work that into confidence. It’s hard — and there’s always going to be work to do, to work towards.”
“Beauty and the Beast,” 7:30 p.m. March 9, 16, 17; 2 p.m. March 10, 11. $15; $12 students, seniors. phsplay.org.
Photo by Seth Harrison/The Journal News