By Tyler BIDDLE
On Feb. 21, the hit Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast” will light up the CVHS auditorium. For most modern kids raised on Disney movies, the story really is a ‘tale as old as time’ prompting almost 100 students to audition for a chance to perform a classic from their childhood.
This year the show is directed by Zoe Bright, a veteran professional actor and director. Playing the main roles are Courtney Sohn as Belle, Evan Boukidis as The Beast, Nick Naoumovitch as Gaston, Kimball Strong as Lumiere, Matthew Collins as Cogsworth and Elise Gibney as Mrs. Potts.
“I enjoy the high school kids when they’re really passionate,” she said. This is her first year directing at CV. “We had so many great kids audition. There were plenty that I would have loved to have in the show, but I just can’t squeeze them all in!”
As a musical, “Beauty and the Beast” got its start as a show exclusively at Disneyland. As time went on the show changed, new numbers were added, and it made its way to Broadway in 1994. Now it has all of the classic songs from the movie as well as seven new songs written just for the stage production.
“We’ve decided to be very faithful to the original,” said Bright.
“Beauty and the Beast” is one of the biggest musicals CVHS has ever undertaken. Creating characters that look like living furniture, incorporating stunt sequences, and even the famous beast-to-human transformation presents a host of unique challenges when on stage. The students have been rehearsing after school for months in order to get everything just right.
CVHS Music Dept. director Mat Schick will be heading up the pit orchestra for all of the live music in the production.
“The musical is different because we are integrating everything into a production which will have more than five performances,” he said. “Acting, singing, set design, sound design, dancing and of course the instrumental music all must be intertwined to create the musical experience.”
Students playing in the pit all auditioned for their parts in the orchestra and have been practicing the music for months.
“It’s challenging because we learn the music before we work with actors and once we start to work with the actors, we begin to learn their personality,” said Schick.
A special raffle will also be made available at two of the performances courtesy of Rik Middleton, the show’s publicity manager and a father of cast member Taylor Middleton.
“I remember how much my daughters loved this movie when they were young,” he said, “how they loved Belle and the story of the Enchanted Rose. I thought, ‘How can I make it so some lucky person can take home a bit of enchantment?”
Middleton came up with a solution by having two enchanted roses created that will be raffled to the public during the intermission of two performances. The roses have been specially enameled with engraved brass plaques and patrons can purchase raffle tickets for $5 each. On the last performance of each weekend, Feb. 23 and March 1, Belle will reach into a hat and draw a winning ticket to announce the winner for that night.
Recently, the cast had the chance for a dry run of the musical, performing at the noon meeting of the Glendale Kiwanis Club.
Tickets for the show are $20 for reserved seating and $10 for regular seating. For students, the prices are $15 and $5 respectively. The performance dates are Feb 21, 22, 23, 28, and March 1 at the MacDonald Auditorium at 4400 Ramsdell Ave.
Proceeds of the ticket sales for the raffle and the show go back into the program to pay for sets, costumes and equipment.