BROOKVILLE – The award winning musical “Beauty and the Beast,” will grace the Strausburg Auditorium stage at Brookville High School, March 19-21.
“Beauty and the Beast” is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. It is adapted from Walt Disney Pictures’ Academy Award-winning 1991 animated musical film of the same name.
The story is based on the French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont telling the of a cold-blooded prince who has been magically transformed into an unsightly creature as punishment for his selfish ways. To revert into his true human form, the Beast must first learn to love a bright, beautiful young woman whom he has imprisoned in his enchanted castle before it is too late.
The musical opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on April 18, 1994, and ran there until Sept. 5, 1999. The show then transferred to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Nov. 11, 1999, with an official opening date of Nov. 16, 1999. The musical closed on July 29, 2007, after 46 previews and 5,461 performances, and is Broadway’s tenth-longest running production in history.
This is the first musical staged at Brookville High School by Rachel Zinck, a ninth grade English teacher and the school’s drama director. In the fall of 2019 the school staged the classic “Arsenic and Old Lace,” also directed by Zinck.
She said that she polled her drama members in the fall about the choices for a spring musical.
“Some were very excited about doing ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Zinck said.
She said that the cast is quite large for this show, numbering between 30 and 40, and includes students from different grade levels and not just the high school, and several faculty members are also involved in support roles for this show.
“They come and have fun during the rehearsals,” said Zinck.
She added that the high energy displayed at rehearsals by the cast “makes it a really fun environment.”
Zinck, a 2019 graduate with a degree in English education from the University of Dayton, likes how the Brookville community has come together to help with this show. She noted that the Brookville Community Theatre, which staged this musical recently, has offered many set pieces and props from their inventory for the school to use.
She has also been thankful for the support of several other community members as well.
“For someone who is new to this community,” Zinck said, “that means a lot.”
She noted that there is one musical number “Human Again,” which was originally written for the 1991 film, but cut, is in the stage version.
For those not familiar with the story Zinck summed it up by stating that Maurice, Belle’s eccentric inventor father, walks into the woods near the French town they live in. He gets lost and ends up at the enchanted castle where the beast lives.
The beast takes Maurice hostage and that is where Belle, who comes to rescue her father, offers to take her father’s place as the beast’s hostage if he would let Maurice go.
Zinck said that it is “the story of sacrifice and seeing it past first impressions.”
The spell cast on the beast by the enchantress can be broken, and the beast will become human again, if he can love somebody and get that person to love him before the final pedal of a magical rose falls off the stem.
Members of the cast include DJ Henson, Payton Sampson, Kyla Wilson, Allie Lamb, Josiah Kirchhofer, Khiah Getter, Savannah Turner, Jaydon Norman, Josh Henry, Peter Brand, Tori Coss, Mason Pirwitz, Lindsay Hinds, Ava Brandeberry, Jonah Sievers, Kailee Hoskins, Ace Gisewite, Jasmine Ravenscraft, Katie Holp, Alyssa Hensley, Braylon Donohoo, Eli Kirchhofer, Othniel Shupert, Ava Helser, Megha Patel, Chloe Combs, Bree Fowler, Laura Robbins, Mary Tarkany, Samantha Carnes, DeDe Sweeten, Brooke Puskas, Emily Etter, Serenity Suggs, Kellan Keish, Avery Florkey, Alaina Hinze, Hope Polster and Alyssa Jenkins.
Members of the crew include Alyssa Harlamert, Audrey Florkey, Ava Ullery, Brooklyn Gardner, Destiny Impson, Emily Miller, Erika Kramer, Laney Herbert, Lexi Herbert, Madison Miracle and Rachael Phillips.
Show will be at 7 p.m. March 19-21, with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.
That performance will include the cast understudies.