When Morris Beyda, who lived in Monmouth County from 2003 to 2010, returns to the area on Thanksgiving weekend, he’ll be wearing a giant-sized cartoon-style mask.
Not because he plans to rob a bank, but because he will be a featured player in Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best LIVE Tour Ever!
Based on a popular cartoon, the show is set to arrive at the State Theatre in New Brunswick on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-24.
In the show, the 26-year-old Beyda, who has been performing for 10 years, has the role of Jeremy Jordan, boyfriend to the title character’s high-strung sister. There will be six live performances, with ticket prices ranging from $30 to $100.
Beyda attended Hillel Yeshiva High School in Ocean Township and Monmouth University. He studied dance with Sea Girt choreographer Elysha Richman (no relation to the author of this article), and worked under the supervision of Yvonne Scudiery at the Count Basie Cool School in Red Bank.
Before he began performing professionally in 2009, Beyda appeared regularly at local theaters throughout central New Jersey.
Among his most formative experiences was performing and choreographing at the JCC of Greater Monmouth County in Deal.
“I worked with director Marlyn Michaels,” who ran the JCC’s Youth Performing Arts program, Beyda told NJJN. “For almost seven years we worked on many different theatrical performances with kids and teens. She taught me everything I needed to know about the theater world. She also gave me the chance to choreograph, market, stage-manage, and perform in many shows.
“The JCC theater was my second home.”
The Phineas and Ferb show isn’t his first stint with Disney, which licenses its cartoon to Feld Entertainment.
“After I completed the college program in Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., I worked for one of the attractions in Epcot during my last semester of college,” said Beyda, who dances, choreographs, acts, and sings. “I was able to take classes as part of Disney and learn a little bit more about the company while receiving college credit.”
Over the past few years, Beyda has toured all over the world. He recognizes that coming from a religious Jewish community, “where they don’t see too many boy performers,” he has, in some ways, broken the mold.
The eldest of five sons and one daughter, Beyda said he benefited from the unstinting support of his parents, Abe and Sarah Beyda of Deal.
“They always told me I should live my dream,” he said. “They could see the joy in my eyes when I choreographed or performed. They also came to all my performances and raved to their friends about me. They gave me the tools to be on my own and to believe in myself.”