Students gear up for 'Beauty and the Beast' musical

Published 1:34 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Edwardsburg Argus

It is a tale as old as time…

Or so they say.

And now, the legendary tale of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” will find its place on stage at Edwardsburg High School’s Performing Arts Center this weekend with three chances to catch a performance of rather elaborate proportions.

“It’s starting to come together now,” said Megan Farison, EHS music teacher and director of the show.

Students are taking part in their last week of rehearsals with the production’s premiere set for Friday night.

“We have a cast of about altogether 50 people,” not including the pit orchestra, Farison said. “When we’re doing big numbers there’s probably about 40 or 50 on stage at one time.
“From what I’ve heard this is one of the biggest productions that we’ve done,” she added.

Several elements are coming together in order to pull off the production based on the Broadway version of the animated film. Farison said the pit orchestra will be directed by band director Spencer White and some outside musicians have been hired in, due to the difficulty of the music.

Farison’s assistant director is James Jones, an instructor at Southwestern Michigan College and she credits him with the progress of the cast.

“My assistant director is also my choreographer,” she said. “He did all the dancing for the show; he’s just incredible. He has them doing things I don’t think I could do.”

Last year, for a production of the “Wizard of Oz,” Farison said performances sold out and a matinee had to be added. She’s hoping the familiarity of the Disney hit will bring in strong ticket sales.

“I think that it’s a show I think everyone loves,” she said. “It’s just a great show and we have kids that we thought would really fit the roles well.

“The talent is there for this show,” Farison said. “The music itself is incredible and we knew the kids would really like that. Also, they grew up on it; it’s familiar to them.”

Tickets go on sale at the box office prior to performance times and Farison said audiences will want to get in line early.

Sean Ballard will star as the beast and Rebekah Praklet as Belle.

“They are all fantastic,” Farison said of the entire cast.

The stage is being set and rehearsals are narrowing which has a few butterflies flittering about for some.

“It’s always, I think no matter how prepared you think you are, it’s always scary when you get to the last week,” Farison said. “But I think it’s going to be a great show. The kids are really excited about it.

“We do have seats that are already reserved,” through a friends and family pre-sale that has already taken place. “But there are seats available for all the shows,” Farison said.

The production will take to the stage for its first performance Friday at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.