This year’s spring musical was Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and it was performed by the Andrean Theater Company on April 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16 at 7:00 p.m. and April 10 and 17 at 2:00 p.m. This show enjoyed great turn-outs, featuring sold out shows and standing ovations at the close of the musical. On opening night, the audience sprung to its feet as soon as the last note ended. “I’ve seen a lot of professional and college theater,” Mr. Stephen Grabek, the theater director, said. “But I’ve honestly never seen a standing ovation happen that fast.”
Putting together a production as intensive as Beauty and the Beast requires a tremendous amount of work from both the actors and the techies. Senior Mark Judge, who starred in this musical as the Beast, spoke to us about some of the things that went into preparing for this role. He studied videos of animal movements and practiced achieving the correct auditory register for the Beast. “I tend to fall in love with every role I get,” Judge said. “But this is something new for me, going to a deeper emotional level. It’s new, but it’s fun, too.”
Even though the actors are what the audience sees onstage, there is also an enormous tech presence that went into the making of this show. Junior Patrick Librandi designed the set himself back in November, and construction began mid to late January. “Between me and Grabek, we probably put in over 400 man hours,” Librandi said. Construction included foam carving, basic carpentry tasks, as well as finer work that went into trim work and detailing. There were also technical pieces, like the enchanted rose that drops petals throughout the show, the duck that drops, and other moving parts. “It’s so tech intensive that it was nerve-wracking at first,” Grabek said. “But it’s worth it and it’s all come together beautifully.”
As far as the future is concerned, Mr. Grabek is hoping to take the six students that qualified for nationals to compete in June in Nebraska. He is also looking for shows to do next year that are a step up from Beauty. Grabek said, “I feel like every year we’ve upped the ante one more step on the challenge level, and you can count on us doing that again next year, because I’ve got some big plans.”
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