Beauty and the Beast a Hit!!

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Michael Molstad, Editor and Chief

Beauty and the Beast

The New Providence musical this year was a hit! The auditorium was packed with a sold out crowd of all ages eager to see the Pioneers’ rendition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The cast, crew and pit have worked tirelessly to get the show ready for opening night and it was easy to  tell from the crowd’s reaction that the hard work paid off.

After performing the less-known Pirates of Penzance last yearthe Performing Arts Department turned to the much more popular Beauty and the Beast this year. Beauty and the Beast ran on Broadway from 1994 to 2007, and is the eighth longest running show in Broadway history.   The movie produced by Disney is what gave the classic fairy tale its fame and made songs such as “Gaston” and “Be our Guest” known to all.

The play this year was carried by its great leads. Senior Hannah Black played Belle, the girl who eventually falls in love with the Beast, played by senior Eric Roper. Hannah said “I was ecstatic about the performance! I was very nervous that it wouldn’t come together with all the crew and tech work but somehow we did it and I couldn’t be more proud of the cast, crew, and pit!”

The Beast was accompanied by his house of mystical friends. Seniors James Whiting and Jamie Currie played the dynamic duo of Lumiere (a candle) and Cogsworth (a clock). Senior Tori Ortega was the wise Mrs. Potts, and freshmen Rachel Kowalewski charmed as her son, Chip. Dominique Rupp and Sam Squeri finished off the cast of mystical creatures. Sophomore Henry Lee played Maurice, Belle’s father, who is constantly trying to make the next great invention. Belle is constantly pursued by the handsome and muscular Gaston, played by Perry Speigel.  Asked what it was like to play Gaston, Perry said, “It’s great. I definitely wish I had the muscles that he does.”  Always at Gaston’s side was his bumbling sidekick, Lefou, played to great laughs by Will Roper. Jose Quesada finished off the principal cast, playing Monsieur D’Arque, the owner of the Maison De Lunes.

When Eric Roper was asked what else he wanted to say about the show he took the moment to praise his fellow cast members:  “I would just like to congratulate all of my peers in the cast on a wonderful performance and show.” It truly was a team effort. The principals were accompanied by a plethora of other performers from all classes, even some from the elementary schools. In numbers such as “Be our Guest”, the strength of the ensemble was really shown off. During the song the house lights went on, revealing that the ensemble had made its was into the aisles of the auditorium. The big numbers like “Be our Guest”, as well as “Human Again”, “Gaston” and others showed off the work of all people involved with the show. Working behind the scenes, the crew, led by stage managers Cara Esposito, Jackie Eisenberg and Sam Midwinter made the show run very smoothly.   The crew and pit were also essential to the show’s success.  And of course, all were ably led by the careful direction of Mr. Duke, Ms. Kirkland, and Mr. N. 

Unfortunately, this will be the last show for the seniors. When asked what it was like knowing it was his last show, Eric said it hadn’t even sunk in yet. Hannah was excited to have this be her last show with NPHS, “It is a great musical to go out on and I am so thankful for getting to be a part of them for the past four years!” Eric is also very confident that the future shows will be great, “I think I speak on behalf of all the seniors when I say that I could not think of more capable hands to leave this kind of thing to than that of my underclassman friends in the cast pit and crew.”

The cast were not the only ones to realize that the show was wonderful. Senior Sam Kudman attended the show on opening night and was blown away.  When asked what he thought of the show he responded enthusiastically, “Absolutely brilliant! With an unparalleled, powerhouse cast, this show set itself above and beyond all previous NPHS productions!”