PARAMUS, N.J. — Nicole Cascione and Michael Haber stood at the foot of Paramus High School's stage leading 65 young actors in a dress rehearsal Wednesday morning.
The alumni are co-directing the school's production of "Beauty & The Beast" but 11 years ago, they were the ones sharing the stage in "The Wizard of Oz."
Cascione and Haber hope their Friday night return is the start of a new tradition.
"This is our first impression and we really want to present something special," said Cascione, 25, who is a first-year teacher at Paramus High School.
"It is important we start with a bang and make the show memorable," added Haber, 28, who runs his own theater company in Glen Rock.
Cascione is not surprised she's found herself directing.
"This is something I knew I always wanted to do," she said, adding that her and Haber have been collaborating on the musical since last summer. "As alumni it is our duty to carry on this tradition."
Haber hopes the show captures the magic and majesty of a Disney production.
"When people think of Disney they think of extravagance and I think that is what we are ultimately trying to accomplish," he said. "It is going to be a visually stimulating production."
"It is a fairy tale and I want to make the audience feel like they lived it" Cascione added. "When they walk out of the theater I want them to be singing songs and tapping their feet."
"Beauty & The Beast" will premiere Friday at 7 p.m. There will also be a show Saturday at 7 p.m., and a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
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