A tale as old as time will hit the stage at the Chadron High School auditorium on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as students present “Beauty and the Beast” for the 2020 spring musical. Those familiar with the popular animated Disney telling of the story will recognize many of the songs in the production, though there are also plenty from the Broadway show.
A week before opening night, students are busy making sure they’ve got their lines—spoken and sung— learned, the action down and stage transitions flowing smoothly, with some assistance from Chadron High Vocal Teacher and Director Wendy Mahr of course. Auditions were before Christmas break, providing necessary time for students to get into their roles.
The cast for the show includes: Jameson Margetts as Beast, Lateisha Ngoi as Belle, Drew Milburn as Gaston, Kennady Stack as Lefou, Aidan Dressel as Cogsworth, Maddie Sandstrom as Lumiere, Alexis Conboy as Mrs. Potts, Maralee Rischling as Madame De La Bouche, Lauren Collins/Jayrah Ngoi as Babbette/Silly Girl, Spencer Blundell as Maurice, Blaine Tewahade as Madame L’Darque, Maddi Pelton, Katelyn Diehl and Jacee Bates as Silly Girls, Kelton Burbach as Narrator and Trace White as Bookseller.
The Chorus includes: Bradd Collins, Dayton Richardson, Cody Hall, Bristyn Cummings, Leah Weber, Emma Peters, Matalie Carattini, Lina Adams and Ayla Kephart
All total, the cast and crew total more than 30 students bringing the story to life. Additionally, the show will feature a live pit orchestra. But beyond what people see on stage this weekend, there’s plenty of work done to get the show ready for when the curtain goes up.
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Mahr said the students are doing great with all the work put upon them. “They do it all,” she said, noting she has a Stage Prep class in which they design and build the set. With no fly or drop system at the auditorium, they use what’s known as “the big ugly white thing,” a large wall they paint for every show. The mural for Beauty and the Beast is designed by Travis Hencey. When the show’s over, they will paint the wall again.
Also in the auditorium watching the practice is Kristol Cummings, who has designed and made about 20 costumes for the performance. She said it’s a lot of guesswork first, to get as much done as she can. She then takes and uses student measurements and has them try on the costumes, and makes adjustments as necessary.
Cummings has helped with costumes every year Mahr has done the musical, designing for Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Shrek, and Guys and Dolls in addition to this year’s show
Cummings said she loves “seeing it all come together in the end. I love watching it on stage, and I love seeing the kids’ reactions when I bring them something to wear.” Some are excited with what they get to wear, while others aren’t so enthusiastic.
Cummings has also helped with some set pieces, including the baker’s shop, the west wing of Beast’s castle, Belle’s room, a cottage and a canvas painting of Beast’s head.
“I do it for the kids, that’s for sure,” Cummings said. “My kids have been in it every year so far, that’s really how I got started.” Her daughter, Bristyn, is a senior, so next year will see if Cummings is again helping students look their parts.
The show runs 90 minutes, and beings at 7 p.m. March 6 and 7, and 2 p.m. March 8. Tickets are $5 at the high school office prior to the show, and $7 at the door.
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