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Hard Work Pays Off For “Beauty and the Beast” Cast

Theater department performs Disney musical for annual fall musical.
Photo by Matteo Winandy
At the Breakfast with Belle event, senior Carter Moreland and junior Kate Denton greet kids who were there to meet the cast and have breakfast with them. The event was held as a way to promote the musical. “Getting to be apart of this stage production working with friends I have been performing with since fifth grade is surreal knowing that it will be my last time. It’s very rewarding to get to inspire the kids who came to see the show,” Moreland said.

The packed audience rushes in, scrolling through their phones and chattering with their friends and family. 

Suddenly, the room starts to dim, silence falls and all focus shifts to the stage.

The curtains draw back and the spotlight centers on Belle as she walks out to center stage, smiling. 

On Sept. 17, the theater department put on Beauty and the Beast for this year’s fall musical. The musical follows the same plot as the Disney movie of the same name, telling the story of a girl named Belle who changes the way of a beast-like prince and helps break the curse that he and the palace staff are under.

The production was directed by Director of Fine Arts Tyler Perring. It featured 13 seniors, which is the biggest senior group a production at the high school has ever had.

“You can see a lot of polish on a lot of our leads because they’ve been performing for so long,” Perring said. “They know what to do when it comes to preparing for their character.”

Senior Cate Gould, who played Belle, has been doing theater practically all her life.

“I’ve been performing ever since I was a toddler; I just loved the attention,” Gould said. “I got put in dance classes when I was three. Then, I did my first show in middle school, but I’ve always done dancing, singing and musical school theater classes.”

During the production of Beauty and the Beast, Gould struggled a lot with scenes involving the Beast. 

“It was hard for me to see Belle’s motivation in a lot of scenes,” Gould said. “A lot of times people think acting [is] about trying to be someone else, but it’s really not. It’s bringing some of my different quirks into a character, [and being] comfortable with that character.”

All of the actors and actresses only had six weeks, starting in August, to master their roles after being cast in early May. Due to the short amount of time to prepare for the play, Gould had to get creative as to how she would get in character. One of the ways Gould did this was by keeping a journal from Belle’s point of view.

“I would [write] entries as Belle, just starting to think like the character,” Gould said.  “Even before that, I was reading through the script and doing character development on my own.”  

Much like Gould, sophomore Morgan Martinez, who played the Beast, struggled with putting a voice to the Beast’s insecurities and bossy manners.  

“I read over the script and I watched the movie,” Martinez said. “It helped me understand his personality. [To help me understand him more], in theater, we [did this] thing called ‘beats and tactics’ where every line, we analyze the motive of the character.”

A lot of times people think acting [is] about trying to be someone else, but it’s really not. It’s bringing some of my different quirks into a character, [and being] comfortable with that character.

— Cate Gould

However, Martinez’s responsibilities do not stop with comprehending the beast’s characteristics. The Beast’s costume was very thick and heavy, making costume changes difficult.

“During the transformation when I transform from the Beast into the prince, I have to have people take off my face prosthetics, my wig, my makeup and change my costume,” Martinez said. “That is a super stressful thing for everyone.”

In addition to directing and producing, Perring was responsible for the set design, with a turnaround of two wooden structures to transform Belle’s town into the Beast’s secluded castle.

“We finished building the set fairly quickly, but then decorating the set took a lot longer,” Perring said. “It’s the decorating that’s the hard part because you’ve got to paint and repaint and make sure things are stable because people are walking on them. There’s just a lot of things that go into the process. We didn’t finish decorating the set until Saturday afternoon at like 3 p.m.”

Behind the scenes, students who weren’t acting worked as dressers, spotlights and techs, making sure the show ran smoothly. Stage Managers like sophomore Zoe Zaner were in charge of this. Zaner’s job put her in between the cast and director.

“It’s kind of like a middle manager,” Zaner said. “My job essentially [is taking] care of every single company member. You have to oversee them and you have to know what their conflicts are.”

Not only was she responsible for the cast members’ needs, but she also worked with special effects. 

“I’m making the calls of when the lights are supposed to change to their next queue, when set pieces are supposed to be moved on, when the curtain is supposed to be open and closed, stuff like that,” Zaner said.

Throughout the production, Zaner loved working with the cast.

“Everybody’s been so nice, so understanding [and] so patient,” Zaner said. “It’s all around been a very great cast.”

Once rehearsals began to end and the show’s opening night grew closer, Perring tackled promotion. To advertise the upcoming show, Perring decided to host a “Breakfast with Belle” event to give the younger generations some time with Belle herself. The breakfast was supposed to mimic going to Disney World to meet and take pictures with Belle.

“It’s a very special idea because Belle is such a unique character,” Perring said. “I came up with that idea as a way to do some promotion and honestly to give those younger kids a chance to come and see everybody.”

The event was a success with close to 150 kids coming to the breakfast.

“I would say probably 85% of them showed up in costume as princesses,” Perring said.

This was also a nostalgic experience for Gould as it reminded her of her childhood years. 

“When I was in middle school, I played a few Disney princesses and I’ve always loved getting to be in the different characters,” Gould said. “I like seeing how they all differ from each other, but they tell such important stories for younger kids to look up to.”

This promotion aided the overall success of ticket selling, resulting in the production coming close to selling out every night they performed and overall satisfaction from Perring.

“It is the show that I pictured back in May whenever we [casted] it,” Perring said. “The set looks the way that I designed it [and] the costumes are better than what I would’ve done.”

About the Contributor
Rohan Portteus
Rohan Portteus, Reporter
Who are your favorite music artists?  Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple, Fleetwood Mac Where's the next place on your travel bucket list and why?  Thailand to visit the elephant rehab centers. What causes are you passionate about? Gender inequalities.