Beauty and the Beast by The Performing Arts Academy. This Parish Got Talent. / by Zack Smith

Performance photography gallery showcases performers from the St. Bernard area.

Being connected, staying engaged and entertained are the three things I look for in a performance. Over my 20 years of photographing performances of all types of music, theater, and dance I have seen my fair share of talented ensembles. The most recent performance of "Beauty and the Beast" by The Performing Arts Academy ranks up there in my books as being one of the most stellar casts, clever lighting and stage productions, and live orchestra combos I have ever seen. In each performance I saw, all actors hit their marks, all spot lights tracked and followed with guided precision all the while keeping the story engaging and the audience enthralled. The cleverly hand constructed sets and backdrops were life like and the depth and textures of each scene made you feel as though the stage continued through each forest scene and enchanted castle set.

Oh, did I mention that the cast, crew, technical, and grips were all kids from St. Bernard Parish? Sorry, that must have slipped my mind, mostly because I now rank this group up with the professionals I have seen over the years and therefore have transcended age and are just plain talented artists. The singing ability of some of these kids ranging in ages of 6 to 19 I'd put up with any group leading a band on Frenchmen St. or even at an LPO concert at The Orpheum. I am very, very serious about this...I was blown away at the talent and professionalism of this group of kids and the talented mentors around them. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed this performance by The Performing Arts Academy led by artistic director Arianna Cassar.

My sincere thanks to Jimmy Delery for the introduction to Mr. Charles Cassar and this wonderful world of talent and possibilities in St. Bernard...catch a show soon!

Please enjoy this photo gallery by clicking on the arrows besides the photo!