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Broadway’s Bethany Moore returns to Buffalo

This article by Lauren Kirchmyer was originally published on MetroWNY on March 31, 2014. →

“Pippin,” the circus-like musical about a young prince trying to find the reason for his existence, returned to Broadway in 2013. Critics and audiences fell in love with the music and storyline once again, causing the show to win multiple awards at the 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

Bethany Moore, who is a player in the show as well as the show’s official dog trainer, knew she would be on Broadway when she was 11 years old.

“My mom forced me when I was 11 years old to be in the community production of ‘Annie’ because they needed little orphans. I was really shy and I absolutely did not want to be in the show or be on stage,” Moore said. She was cast in the show and she quickly broke out of her shell and fell in love with being on stage.

After graduating high school, the Pittsburgh native packed her bags and moved to Buffalo, where she attended the University at Buffalo as a musical theater major. At the age of 19, Moore received her first professional theater job playing Cassie in “A Chorus Line” at Artpark.

“I had no idea what I was doing, but I’m glad they gave me a job,” Moore said. From there, she continued booking shows in Western New York. “Buffalo really gave me my start in professional theater.”

Moore graduated from UB in 2007 and made her way to New York City. Some of her credits include touring in “A Chorus Line” and “Cats,” and performing on Broadway in “Spider Man Turn Off the Dark” and “Into the Woods” before landing her role in “Pippin.”

“Broadway is hard. You do eight shows a week and it’s taxing on your body, but you do it because you love it,” she said. “You hear that audience and it gives you a jolt of energy.”

The hardest part Moore found of being in a Broadway show is it’s hard to maintain personal relationships, only seeing her parents and close friends a couple times a year.

“I miss the shows in Buffalo because of the close-knit community,” Moore explained. “When you do shows in Buffalo, you get to do shows with friends every time. I miss that family aspect of doing theater with your buddies.”

One of those friends is Kelly Copps, who she met in college. Copps, one of the founders of Second Generation Theatre, brought Moore back to Buffalo for the company’s cabaret fundraiser “Buffalo to Broadway.” The fundraiser was held the evening of March 25 and raised money for Second Generation’s upcoming productions.

“There are a lot of people Bethany worked with while she was here that miss having her around and miss seeing her,” Copps said. “She has been so successful and everyone is proud.”

Copps, who is also the theater and dance teacher at Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore, also asked her friend to put on a dance theater workshop for about 35 of her students while she was in town.

“She’s a wonderful performer, awesome lady and a strong female role model,” Copps said. “At Mount St. Mary I have a room full of really fantastic young ladies figuring out what they want to do and thought it might be neat for them to have this experience I don’t think they would get elsewhere.”

At the workshop, held after school on March 24, the girls learned a combination to the song “Magic to Do” from “Pippin.”

“The choreography [I taught] I actually do in eight shows a week on Broadway. It’s a little bit of Fosse, mime and acting,” Moore said.

“Dancing is so much more acting than people think,” she continued. “A lot of choreography sometimes is not hard but because you’re acting your way through it you have a story, you have something to say and you have a point of view. That is where the magic really lies.”

Free workshops like this are what Copps says are a nice taste of dance and theater students wouldn’t normally get in high school, and Moore hopes the students continue to be students and educate themselves as much as possible.

“Take every kind of class you can that has to do with theater because you never know what you will be asked to do,” said Moore, who became the official dog trainer for “Pippin” because she learned to train dogs in high school. “You never know when things are going to come up. You can never be well rounded enough.”