Galt drama takes on a tale as old as time
Starting next Thursday, April 19, the students of Alexander Galt Regional High School’s new Performing Arts Concentration program will be inviting the public to be their guests at a large-scale production of Beauty and The Beast. Meant to start the new program off with a bang, the Disney-based musical involves some 63 students who will sing and dance their audiences away to an enchanted castle in France.
“It is 70 minutes long, and the
number of lighting and sound cues is the same as for a three hour show,” said Adriana Lyons, the teacher who is serving as production manager for the performance, explaining that the larger scale performance was picked on order to show off a broad range of talents and possibilities for the students. “It’s quite the beast of a performance,” she added with a smile.
The telling of the classic fairy tale taken on by the Galt students will be familiar to fans of the 1991 Disney adaptation of the story, as the script is drawn from that root rather than from the Broadway musical.
According to Lyons, students auditioned for the spring production in September, with separate auditions taking place for acting and dance roles. Singing practices began before the winter holidays during lunch hours and afterschool practices began in earnest in January, with different groups dividing up into spaces across the school to help cover the various aspects of each scene that need to be perfected.
“The music and the costumes and the acting, they are each a show’s worth of work in themselves,” she said, explaining that she took on the role of “production manager” because there were too many tasks for one person to do on their own.
In that vein, this performance of Beauty and the Beast is significant in that it marks the first time that Lyons has brought on a student director.
“With the Performing Arts Concentration coming into the mix, we wanted to be able to have the students take on more of an active role in the creation,” the teacher said, adding that the decision has been positive and eye-opening both for herself and the student, Kevin Parnell.
“It's been an amazing experience; being able to work with such a talented group of actors, singers and dancers,” Parnell said. “I wasn't planning on even participating in Beauty and the Beast, but Ms. Lyons gave me the opportunity to be the student director and I couldn't turn it down.”
The young director, who has spent a significant amount of time on stage in past Galt productions, said that he has learned a lot more about theatre and acting during this new experience.
“I have a new found appreciation for all of the directors that have had to work with me,” he said. “It's definitely a lot of work.”
The play will run through six performances in total, two sold-out student matinees that will be attended by more than 1200 local children, three regular evening performances from Thursday to Saturday night, and a special Saturday morning matinee where the audience is being invited to dress up in their favourite princess costume.
Tickets for all of the performances are being sold out of the school’s main office, and although there are still seats available, Lyons said that the play has already sold more tickets than were reserved in advance for the show last year.
“It is a show that is well known,” she said. “Get your tickets early.”
More information about the show and tickets is available by calling 819563-0770, extension 22056.