‘Beauty and the Beast’ runs for two weekends, starting Feb. 20
Starting Friday, the Broadway version of “Beauty and the Beast” comes alive at the Quincy High School Performing Arts Center.
Performances of the musical are Feb. 20-21 and Feb. 26-27. All shows start at 7:30 p.m.; however, there is an additional matinee that starts at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28.
QVAA’s “Beauty and the Beast” production is directed by Eric Van Woert. Musical director for the show is Marilyn Cobia.
The musical brings to life the story of Belle, a “bookaholic” and daughter of an inventor. Belle dreams of breaking free from her small French provincial town. Gaston, the local beefcake, has his eyes set on Belle for his bride, but she will have none of his macho arrogance. Gaston, however, tries his best to get Belle to come around to his point of view. In the meantime, Belle’s father is lost in an enchanted forest, where he comes upon the castle of the beast. The series of events to follow take a magical turn.
Perhaps a highlight of the production for the audience will be the magnificent costumes for such characters as Luminere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip. They are extraordinary pieces of art carved out of Styrofoam by artist Mark Johnson of Wenatchee.
Many cast members are new to acting or are returning veterans who have not been in a play for a long time, Van Woert said. This is his first time directing “Beauty and the Beast,” which was chosen by the QVAA board.
“This is a modern classic,” he said. “It is comparable to the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ There are so many incredible characters people have grown up with.”
With a cast of about 30 actors, Van Woert is impressed with some of the emerging talents, including Matthew Jamison (Gaston), who has never been in a theater production. Jamison was a quick study, managing to nab one of the leading roles.
His wife, Marie Jamison, plays opposite him as Belle. Her role includes singing and acting for much of the musical while fitting in three costume changes.
“The musical is adopted from the movie Beauty and the Beast,” said actor Diane Thompson, who plays an aristocratic lady in the chorus, her first role in several years. “It is so much fun.”
QVAA also plans a fairy tale costume parade for all children 12 and younger who have tickets to a performance. Children can come dressed up as their favorite fairy tale character and participate in the parade, which is onstage before each performance.
“Every few years we like to do a show that will involve more children,” said Janice Flynn, QVAA board president. “After the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ we decided that in 2015 we would do a musical that would once again involve more children. With the recognition of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ we thought that would be a good choice. We thought it would appeal to everyone and many generations really.”
Tickets are $12 at the door or for purchase at Martin Morris Insurance Agency, 13 C St. S.W. For more information, go to www.quincy-valley-allied-arts.org.
— By Tammara Green, QVPR contributor