By Elly Beauchamp | Staff Writer
As students return to Johnson after the two week long break, Johnson theatre is preparing to premiere their show ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on Feb. 1, 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for reserved seats and $10 for general seating on the Johnson theatre website and at the door
The premiering musical is a switch from the theatre’s recent performances, now with longer run times and bigger casts.
“They are very different. There is a lot more parts; there’s the singing, theres the dancing, and the acting. It’s all kinda trying to fit it all together and it’s a different kind of humor so the way that everything works together,” the publicist manager and actor of Maurice, Cole Lunsford said.
With characters like the Beast who require more complicated makeup and costume choices, the crew and costume designers had to find simple and efficient solutions to get the look of the iconic character.
“The first choice was how to make him bigger and more muscular so we’re gonna have him on stilts, so dancing is going to be a little tricky and then for make-up we’re trying to make it easier for the end when he transforms, it would just be this fast and easy and he won’t look really weird with brown splotches on his face to emulate hair, but we’re making prosthetics to give him fur instead,” the assistant stage manager, Katherine Coppock said.
Along with the Beast, the other actors and crew face difficulties in the play that they’ve never faced before.
“I’ve never played an old man before so that was new and I’m just trying to get into my head. It’s getting into the mind of the character. Every character is different, finding how they stand, how they walk, how they talk, and the singing with it it’s just a challenge,” Lunsford said.
Being the lead for a play such as Beauty and the Beast can be stressful, but Junior Cassandra Cole embraces the challenges of playing Belle and faces them head on.
“It’s really exciting and pretty difficult too just to take on that much responsibility, but it’s a lot of fun. To get into the character is really different and then for this one, I have to do things that are more uncomfortable for me, like I’m not a good dancer and so it makes me nervous, but it takes me out of my comfort zone. It’s a really good experience,” Cole said.
Since Beauty and the Beast is such a long play, the cast and crew usually spend long nights rehearsing after school.
“When we’re learning music it’s usually till 6:30, and then when we’re working on choreography or block it’s 7 to 8. Then like the last two weeks we stay a lot later. The very last week we’re working on it we stay till 10, “ Cole said.
With actors and crew running around backstage during shows and rehearsals, the stage managers are there to bring a calm to the storm and help engage the actors.
“We have to keep track of where everybody is, what they’re doing and where they’re supposed to be. We also have to keep them quiet and take attendance,” Coppock said, “For rehearsals we have the script in front us when they are starting to need to memorize and we will give them lines or we’ll write blocking if they forget it, cause it’s a long play, “
Despite some challenges ,the cast and crew are excited to present their show to the school on Feb. 1, 2, 3 and 4.
“It’s a really positive group of people. Everyone is rooting for each other, and everyone is supporting each other. It’s a positive environment,” Cole said.