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‘Beauty and the Beast’ opens at James Clemens

Cast members and technical crew have worked several months to present "Beauty and the Beast," the spring musical at James Clemens High School. CONTRIBUTED
Cast members and technical crew have worked several months to present “Beauty and the Beast,” the spring musical at James Clemens High School. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – James Clemens Theatre will present one of Disney’s film classics, “Beauty and the Beast,” as its 2016 spring musical.

The show opens on April 7 at 7 p.m. Subsequent show times are April 8 at 7 p.m. and April 9 at 2 and 7 p.m. in James Clemens Auditorium.

In the story line, Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, meets the Beast, a young prince trapped under an enchantress’ spell. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed to his former self.

However, the Beast faces a deadline, and the time clock for his future is counting down quickly.

Lead actors are Kayla Braxton (Belle) and Alex Walbom (Beast).

Cast members include Tad Hutt (Gaston), Andrew Pharo (Lefou), Marcus Patton (Maurice), Hannah Rice (Lumiere), Ethan Brown (Cogsworth), Abigayle Williams (Mrs. Potts), Tucker Pearson (Chip), Becky Protos (Babette), Abbi Layman (Madame La Bouche), Matthew Bao (Monsieur D’Arque) and Amanda Jackson (Enchantress).

“Each year, we look at kinds of shows we haven’t done (and) balance comedy with drama, or family friendly with edgy,” Director Amy Patel said.

The beast’s two transformations require strategic, logistical work. “We worked with a makeup designer to create the Beast’s mask and extensive makeup,” similar to a Hollywood experience, Technical Director Clint Merritt said.

Music directors are fine arts teachers Harris Gessner and Stuart Tankesley. Kyle McCormick, Jessica Russ and Emma Waldron are student directors. Carrie Gormley and Anna White are student choreographers. Newt Johnson has been contracted for his piano and directing skills.

More than 100 students are involved with “Beauty and the Beast.” Thirty ‘techies’ are handling the show’s technical demands. About 10 student musicians are performing with professionals in the pit.

“Makeup and costumes are ‘a beast’ themselves with so many actors. But we have a fantastic crew doing college-level work. I have no doubt in them,” Merritt said.

Tickets are $15 for adults or $10 for students, children, military personnel and senior citizens. To order and print advance tickets, visit showtix4u.com and search for “James Clemens.”

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