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OP native Naster stars as Belle in local production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Paris Naster is Belle in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ now playing at the White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center and later this month at Theatre in the Park.

Jewish actress Paris Naster is starring as Belle in a co-production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” by The White Theatre of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City (The J) and The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park.

The play started its run on July 8 at The J and will continue there on select dates through July 23. It will then be performed with the same cast at The Theatre in the Park from July 28 through July 30 and from Aug. 2 through Aug. 5. 

Naster is 20 years old. She was born and raised in Overland Park and graduated from Blue Valley North High School in 2015. She was a finalist in 2014 in KC SuperStar, a musical competition/fundraiser similar to “American Idol/The Voice” organized by The J.

She enjoys playing Belle because “I think every girl wants to be a Disney princess at some point,” she said.

“Belle doesn’t want to search for love,” she said. “She pursues adventure and tries to find answers within herself rather than in a man. I can relate to wanting to read and learn, and I feel like I can put a lot of myself into her character.”

Aside from some possible changes in the actors’ stage positions and movements (called blocking in theater), Naster will prepare differently for performing outdoors at The Theatre in the Park by “hydrating twice as much,” she said.

Naster lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she’ll start her junior year in the fall at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, where she’s majoring in musical theater. 

In addition to performing in “Beauty and the Beast,” she is working this summer at a temporary job in a Kansas City-area financial office and is working with a Los Angeles-based organization called #SMARTalks, which provides social media outreach for Jewish millennials and shares information about Shabbat and Judaic wisdom “and helps us find a way to integrate that into our lives,” she said.

Naster wants to continue performing, and she also wants to write, she said.

“I don’t know if it would necessarily be writing plays,” she said. “I currently write articles for Aish.com. It’s a national program and a Jewish outreach program. Come fall I’ll be the president of Aish Pittsburgh.”

Her path to acting was first paved by encouragement from her family to express herself artistically, she said. Her three brothers are very musical, and Kansas City comedian David Naster is her uncle.

“I wanted to explore something outside of choir, telling stories incorporated with music,” she said. 

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

At The White Theatre at The J: 7:30 p.m. July 13, 15, 20 and 22, and 2 p.m. July 16 and July 23. Tickets: $23 for the general public, $16 for The J members and $12 for students. For more information or to order tickets, call the box office at The J at 913-327-8054, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit TheWhiteTheatre.org.

At The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park: 8:30 p.m. July 28 through July 30 and Aug. 2 through Aug. 5. Tickets: $8 for general admission, $6 for children ages 4-10 and free for children 3 and younger (tickets required for children 3 and younger). For more information or to order tickets, visit Theatreinthepark.org.