By RAVINA PATEL
On March 19-21 and 26-28, the UHS Visual and Performing Arts Department will be performing the well-known Disney classic Beauty and the Beast with a unique UHS interpretation.
The story follows the classic fairytale as adapted in Disney’s 1991 animated film. A prince is transformed into a terrifying beast after refusing shelter to an enchantress. Her spell transforms all the humans in his castle into inanimate objects and can only be reversed if the Beast can win someone’s love before the last petal on the witch’s rose falls. A beautiful young girl, Belle, comes to the castle in search of her father. Realizing Belle is his only chance to lift the curse, he aims to seize her heart before time runs out. Megan McCarthy (Sr.), who plays Belle, said, “In the show, it’s the handsome man who’s beloved by the town that’s the villain, and the ‘ugly’ hated man is the hero that you root for. I love the message that teaches us about how we unfairly judge others.”
After the success of Shrek! The Musical, Ms. Ranae Bettger (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) decided to choose a popular and contemporary musical to transition to classics that UHS audiences are more familiar with. Beauty and the Beast offered many supporting, cameo and ensemble roles for students interested in participating. When asked how this musical was unique from other Beauty and the Beast productions, Bettger said, “UHS has taken some very unique stylistic approaches to our design. The show is steampunk inspired, and that is obvious in every aesthetic aspect of the show. Although we remained true to the Disney look, sound and feel, there’s ‘Something there that wasn’t there before.’”
The student actors and actresses have been working hard to perform to the best of their abilities. Some students have spent extra time with voice lessons to perfect their performance. When asked how he portrays the Beast, Natanael Cho (Sr.) said, “I never had a voice lesson before so taking voice lessons really helped me improve my voice and my singing technique. As an actor, it was a challenge to be singing for Beast while maintaining his voice. The voice lessons I received really helped improve my tone and also taught me to act while I sang.”
All the arts departments are collaborating to present the production, with singers and dancers from choir and dance, as well as band and orchestra students who make up the pit ensemble. The actors involved have been rehearsing since January; set construction began in February and the pit joined in early March. When asked how the pit had changed since last year’s musical, Tomoka Takeuchi (Jr.), a pit member, said, “We’re trying to match our music to actors’ emotions and mood more. They are actors, but not all are musicians, so they sometimes struggle to sing with emotions and mood. The actors and the Pit are working together to try and bring out deep, sometimes sad, and complicated emotions through the music because of the nature of this musical.” The musicians achieve the change in emotions by changing dynamics to help match the emotions to the notes.
Donations are encouraged from clubs, students, audience members and corporations to help pay for musical costs. Clubs that would like to donate can speak with Ms. Bettger, and individual students can donate at the SAC by speaking to Mrs. Rector. Audience members can donate on the ticket website (www.seatyourself.biz/iusd).
Beauty and the Beast the Musical will be playing March 19- 21, as well as March 26- 28 in the Big Theatre at 7pm. Tickets cost $20 for orchestra seats, which are closer to the stage, and students with ASB can buy tickets for $13 while General Admission is $15 for regular seating. Tickets are available at the Little Theatre during snack, lunch and office hours, as well as on the ticket website.