Join the Rend Lake College Theatre for a night of slapstick comedy, poignant music and family fun with the 2006 Spring Musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”
“This is the most challenging musical I’ve tried yet,” said Theatre Director Tracey Webb. “It’s very much a labor of love.”
“Beauty and the Beast” will be performed Thursday, March 2, through Sunday, March 5, in the RLC Theatre. The Thursday through Saturday performances will be at 7 p.m., and the Sunday performance will be a 2 p.m. matinee.
Based on the classic French fairy tale and the well-known Disney animated film, “Beauty and the Beast” tells the story of Belle, an intelligent young woman scorned by her townspeople for being a bookworm, weary of fighting off the advances of the arrogant Gaston, and dreaming of escape. When her father gets lost in the woods and is captured by the forbidding Beast – a once-handsome prince turned into a monster by a witch – Belle goes off to rescue him.
Taken with her, the Beast agrees to release Belle’s father if she agrees to stay with him forever. Initially repulsed, Belle soon finds much to appreciate in the Beast’s hidden, tender nature. The Beast’s servants – a clock, a teapot, and a candlestick – see Belle as their salvation: if the Beast and a woman fall in love before his 21st birthday, he will be free from the curse. But that will never happen if Gaston has anything to say about it.
Webb said the show is quite challenging from a technical standpoint. The Beast must be made to fly and transform using special effects, and the set – including a huge castle – is one of the largest Webb has ever worked with.
“There are a lot of little comic touches. We are playing up the slapstick and comedy as much as humanly possible,” said Webb.
There also is plenty of harmony and singing in the show, and Music Director Sara Alstat is doing a wonderful job of bringing it together, Webb said. She said a song called “Home,” sung by Deniz Hawley, who has the female lead as Belle, is so poignant and heart-wrenching, “it gives you goose bumps.”
RLC Art Professor Therese Melena is designing a stained-glass window for the production, Battery Specialist of Mt. Vernon has supplied a golf cart as a prop for the show, student and cast member Amanda Strickland is designing some electromagnetic special effects, and veteran cast member and student Darren Hutson took a ballroom dancing class last semester in order to coordinate a waltz in the play.
“The theatre brings out the best in people,” said Webb. “I love the way people pitch in and help out, and all it takes to make it all worth it is the audience. When the audience claps, it’s such a rush.”
“I am very excited about my role,” said cast member Sarah Cole. “I am thrilled to get the chance to dance and sing with such talented and dedicated actors. Tracey is fantastic and works really well with all of us. This has been one of the best experiences of my life.”
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
The Beast--Timothy Cox--Benton
Narrator / Bookseller / Crony--Josh Plunkett--Benton
Cogsworth--Scott Carlson--Mt. Vernon
Mrs. Potts--Michelle Jones--Mt. Vernon
Young Prince / Pepper Shaker / Wolf--Billy Heisner--Pinckneyville
Beggar Woman / Plate / Townsperson--Erin Callahan--Carbondale
Enchantress / Plate / Townsperson--Raquel Maxey--Mt. Vernon
Baker / Knife / Monsieur D’Arque--Kyle Brooks--Herrin
Sausage Curl Girl / Napkin--Monica Lawrence--Buckner
Lady with Baby / Fork--Rebekah Horn--Mt. Vernon
Hat Seller / Plate--Shawna Smith--Christopher
Lady with Cane / Spoon--Christine Long--Zeigler
Lefou / Wolf / Fork--Brandyn McGhee--West Frankfort
Silly Girl 1--Danielle Seagraves--Mt. Vernon
Silly Girl 2--Sarah Cole--Mt. Vernon
Silly Girl 3--Anna Dukes--Bluford
Wolf / Crony 2 / Oriental Carpet--Jacob Learned--Christopher
Madame de la Grand Bouche--Mary Swofford--Mt. Vernon
Napkin / Townsperson--Hayley Joseph--Christopher
Aristocratic Lady / Napkin--Brittanie Graham--Woodlawn
Plate / Townsperson--Emily Pudene--Woodlawn
Townsperson--Douglas Rea--Mt. Vernon
Townsperson--Amanda Strickland--Mt. Vernon