Morris Tech junior brings ‘Les Mis’ to MPAC
This is the 2nd in a series of profiles highlighting the finalists of Morristown Onstage, to be held March 1 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.
MORRISTOWN – When Julianna Belles steps onto the Mayo Performing Arts Center stage this March, she’ll be on her own. And she’s chosen an appropriate song for the occasion.
Belles, a 17-year-old Morris Plains resident, will sing “On My Own” from the musical “Les Miserables” at Morristown Onstage.
“The musical ‘Les Miserables’ is very important to me, as I was introduced to it at a time in my life where I really needed just that extra push and motivation and I absolutely fell in love with it,” Belles said. “I’ve read the book six times, seen the Broadway musical, seen all the different movies and adaptations and I know it front to back.”
Belles said this song in particular is important to her, because the character who sings it in the musical, Eponine, is her dream role.
“I feel as though a lot of people take this character at a very face value and don’t look underneath at the complexities of her, so I feel like I need to give the character justice,” Belles said. “I’ve been working on this song with my vocal coach, Nate Plummer, for about a year now. It’s my best piece and I’m very proud of how far I’ve come with it.”
“Les Mis” is also Belles’ favorite movie, and Aaron Tveit, one of the movie’s stars, is one of her favorite singers (along with Lea Salonga, who provided the singing voices for two Disney princesses “Mulan” and Jasmine from “Aladdin”).
A junior at the Morris County School of Technology, where she studies visual and performing arts, Belles has had an interest in musical theater for more than a decade. She joined the Mayor Performing Arts Company at 11 and has been training with her vocal coach for about a year and a half.
She believes her drive and passion gives her a good chance to win.
“I see something I want and nothing gets in my way,” Belles said. “I’m determined to show off my talent to the people of Morris County, as well as improve my craft. I’ve done a lot of hard work on this song and I hope it will pay off.”
Following the show, Belles plans to graduate Morris Tech and pursue a degree in musical theater before moving to New York City to chase her Broadway dreams.
Staff Writer Michael Izzo: 973-428-6636; mizzo@GannettNJ.com
What: A show featuring the best amateur talent from Morristown, Morris Township and Morris Plains, presented by and benefiting the Morris Educational Foundation.
When: Wednesday, March 1
Where: Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South St. in Morristown.
Tickets: On sale starting Feb. 1. Prices range from $25 to $75. For information, call MPAC at 973-539-8008 or visit www.mayoarts.org.