Youth plus experience together for Morristown ONSTAGE

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in News

Youth plus experience together for Morristown ONSTAGE

Youth plus experience together for Morristown ONSTAGE

Youth plus experience together for Morristown ONSTAGE
By JAMES LENT Editor January 31, 2017
Julianna Belles will sing “On My Own” from the musical “Les Miserables” at Morristown ONSTAGE on Wednesday, March 1.
Editor’s note: The following is part of an ongoing series on performers to be appearing at Morristown ONSTAGE, the annual fundraiser for the Morris Educational Foundation, on Wednesday, March 1 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.

MORRISTOWN – For someone so young, 17-year-old Julianna Belles has more experience under her belt than some performers twice her age.

She’ll get a chance at showing it off on Wednesday, March 1 when she sings “On My Own” from the musical “Les Miserables” at Morristown ONSTAGE, the annual talent show that showcases talent from Morristown, Morris Township and Morris Plains in a fundraiser to benefit the Morris Education Foundation (MEF), the fund-raising arm of the Morris School District.

She said she has loved “Les Miserables” since as early childhood and identifies strongly with the character who sings “On My Own” in the musical, Éponine Thénardier, the cynical but resourceful and street-smart girl in unrequited love with Marius Pontmercy.

“She’s a lot deeper than people thinks she is,” Belles said. “Her parents abandoned her and she’s not a typical teen. She’s filled with passion, always looking up and ready to make a joke.”

Belles thinks she is ready to bring that character to life at the talent show. She had already done as much at the show’s audition in December, a moment she said she was ready for.

“I was confident but nervous at the same time,” Belles said about her audition. “I’ve been singing since I was 7.”

Belles was actually stung by musical bug even earlier. She would watch a VCR tape her family owned of “The Wizard of Oz” when she was 4.

“I watched it every day,” Belles said. “I just loved the music and the story so much.”

It’s grown to become a full-fledged passion now and Belles hopes to continue in musical theater.

It might not be too hard. Belles is a seasoned Broadway veteran. She performed with Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth in “Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway,” a two-week concert stand at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater the first two weeks of last November.

“We sang as backup,” Belles said of singing behind Chenoweth, who performed handpicked selections of musical theater favorites, including songs from her new album “The Art of Elegance.”

“They had different students each night,” she said. “I sang on Nov. 12 and 13.”

Belles is a junior at the Morris County School of Technology in Denville, where she minors in music performance. “They don’t have it as a major, unfortunately,” Belles said.

But she seemed to have the matter in hand. She has been taking singing lessons from Cathy Roy-Spies, director of education at Mayo Performing Arts Center.

She is also a member of the Mayo Performing Arts Center Company, a group of music students that perform at local events for civic groups and others.

She has taken her singing to the next level by studying with Nate Plummer, who teaches both acting and voice in New York City.

Belles said she has been with him for about a year. “I went from about 30 to 100 miles per hour with him,” she said.

After she graduates next year, Belles said she will be ready to take her next step. She said she is hoping to enroll at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. “They have a great music program and it’s such a beautiful campus,” Belles said.

With her her focus laser sharp, expect Belles to cut diamond-like precision with her voice when she takes to Morristown ONSTAGE. But, also, be on the lookout for a warm passion for the thing she loves.

Morris Educational FoundationMorristown Medical Center