Beauty and the Beast

Amy Patterson, Section Editor

Beauty and the Beast, a popular childhood favorite, is leaping off the animated screen and onto the stage of the Dickson Auditorium.  The expensive production, costing the drama department over four thousand dollars in costumes alone, is hailed as one of the most exciting theatrical events in Woodland Park High School’s history.

The part of Belle will be played by Mandy Matthews, a member of Madrigals as well as a highly involved member of the community. Matthews naturally excels at bringing characters to life and is expected to put her own spin on the classic Disney princess.

Fortunately for all members of the cast, Beauty and the Beast’s chorus is unusually small, meaning every character gets their moment in the spotlight. Even minor parts can make or break a show. The silly girls, played by Anna Yarger, Hannah Crosby and Meghan Groves, are vital to the feeling of the production, and are being played by experienced actresses for a reason. “Being a silly girl is pretty entertaining. I get to hang out with my friends while being obnoxious, so it’s hilarious. Plus, it’s a different kind of role than I’m accustomed to,” comments Groves.

For many cast members, Beauty and the Beast will be their final high school show. Often, those participating in their ultimate production have regrets or disappointments in regard to the play. Thomas Waddell, on the other hand, has hope for future performers. “I am trying to put forth my best effort to encourage new and upcoming actors,” reports Waddell, a senior this year.

Waddell has been cast as Maurice, Belle’s father. When asked what he thinks about his character, Waddell responded, “Despite his absent-mindedness, he really tries to provide the best for Belle.”

Critics decree that the repeated casting of several key actors is unfair to other students looking for performance opportunities, but due to multifaceted characters, leads are often given to the same male in multiple plays. Isaac Leigh, a fan favorite, appearing in lead roles in both Bye Bye Birdie and Guys & Dolls, will be debuting once again in a lead role as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

“Though Isaac has been cast in quite a few musicals, he is a very talented actor and he deserves the roles he’s been given,” says Whitney Davidson, official student conductor for the show. Davidson, a talented singer, participates in Madrigals with Matthews and has also appeared in several shows throughout her high school career. Clearly, casting agents agree with Davidson’s assessment.

Beauty and the Beast will premier on Thursday, April 25th. If you or someone you know is interested in donating funds for costume allocation, please contact Sara Lee in the drama department at [email protected].

Check back with The Panther Perspective to hear more about the show.