Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) students and staff told “a tale as old as time” for this year’s musical production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
After months of preparations, CHSS presented three showings of the production at the Lester Centre of the Arts last week.
Beauty and the Beast tells the story of outsider Belle (Jessica Bruce) who goes into the woods in search of her missing father Maurice (Skylar Tuba). After being chased by a pack of wolves, Maurice finds himself prisoner in the castle of selfish prince who was cursed into a beast (Allen Liu).
Belle pleads to be taken prisoner instead of her father, which is a pleasant surprise to the castle servants, who were turned into inanimate objects as part of the same curse (Aaron Grant, Cyrus Sobredo, Jenny Nguyen, Kelsy Casavant, Tony Duong and Zoey Hellfors). The only way the Beast and castle workers can escape the curse is for the Beast to fall in love with someone who loves him back.
As Belle and the Beast’s relationship begins to build, an anger mob of villages lead by Gaston (Ryan Wightman), his sidekick Lefou (Grace Stewart) and Monsieur D’Arque (Brandon Skaar) come to kill the Beast who they have deemed a monster.
It’s only after the Beast sees Belle has returned to the castle to warn him of the coming danger that he decides to fight back against Gaston, winning both the fight and Belle’s heart.
Thirty-one cast and ensemble members from CHSS were featured in Beauty and the Beast, with an orchestra lead by Musical Director Jeff Saunders.
The orchestra consisted of 11 students and four community members, performing music by Alan Menken, with the music’s lyrics being written by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
Students sang classics like Be Our Guest, Gaston and Beauty and the Beast, while incorporating dance moves by student choreographers Jenny Nguyen, Julia Cunha, Kate Tattersall, Bronte Pike and Jessica Bruce.
The production included an elaborate set, consisting of a massive two-story castle, as well as a number of props to bring the village and Belle and Maurice’s home to life, which was created by students in the CHSS Musical Theatre course and other departments of the school, along with volunteers.
Jacqueline Jackson, Lonni Bryant and Lynne Couvillion created outstanding costumes for Beauty and the Beast, with the help of more than 15 textile students.