‘Beast’ reigns in Parkrose High Theater

Take a look some of the scenes from their production of Beauty and the Beast – and you’ll see why audiences are saying, “Wow!” …

Makeup and costumes, everyone!” is the call backstage, before Beauty and the Beast performance at Parkrose High School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The auditorium’s stage came alive with dance, song, and drama on the evening of February 26, as the curtain rose on the Parkrose High School Theater Department production of their winter musical, Beauty and the Beast.

The PHS student actors, musicians, and stage crew make this French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, published in 1756, come alive in a swirl of color and action.

The technical crew gets last-minute notes from Director Tom Cavanaugh before the house opens for another presentation Beauty and the Beast.

“We wanted to present a big, colorful musical, unlike what’s been on this stage for some time,” smiled PHS drama instructor Tom Cavanaugh, who is also the show’s director.

When they put out their “casting call” for Beauty and the Beast, Cavanaugh said he was both surprised and delighted by the big turnout of talent, which included many students who hadn’t been involved in past shows.

Beauty and the Beast Conductor, and Band Director at Parkrose Middle and High Schools, Keija Lee gives the orchestra the downbeat starting the show’s overture.

Unseen by the audience, the Parkrose High School Orchestra provides the live soundtrack for the winter musical.

The production of Beauty and the Beast will feature a cast of 47 student actors and singers, and a live 15-piece orchestra. Plus, numerous backdrops and set pieces to keep the 20-person technical crew busy.

About the story …
Most people have seen the 1991 an animated Disney film version – or perhaps any of the previous four live-action films dating back to 1946. The story of Beauty and the Beast revolves around a self-centered prince who is turned into a beastly creature by an enchantress. She also transforms his castle servants into living, household objects.

An enchantress offers a rose to the Prince (mightily played by Reed Bostic), who soundly rejects her kind gift – causing him a decade of suffering and grief.

Townspeople wonder why the lovely Belle (ably played by Lynn Nguyen) is preoccupied by reading books.

Lefou (colorfully played by Liz Hurliman), the bumbling, flattering sidekick for the egotistical, narcissistic, ultra-masculine “mighty hunter” Gaston (well portrayed by Jonathan Boland), taunt Belle in the town square.

The Beast will die if he does not learn to truly love – and he must do it by the time the last petal on a rose handed him by the enchantress falls. Being ugly, angry, and beastly, he finds locating a woman to romance is not easy.

However, the Beast’s prospects improve when a bookish-yet-beautiful town girl, Belle, stumbles into his castle.

The Beast sneers at Belle, when she discovers her father Maurice (Marshawn Edwards) has been imprisoned in his castle.

Mrs. Potts (Ria Walter), the cook turned into a teapot, and “living wardrobe” opera singer Madame de la Grande Bouche (Althea Murin) do their best to help Belle adjust to living in an enchanted castle.

Back in the village, Gaston shows off his physique, to the delight of the town’s “silly girls”, who fawn over him.

The Beast watches, as another petal falls from the rose stem, signaling his impending doom.

  • Will Belle be able to free her twice-imprisoned father?
  • Can the brutish hunter Gaston successfully blackmail Belle into marrying him?
  • Might the Beast survive a lynch mob of townspeople?

 

Come and see for yourself, in this well-staged show packed with songs, dance numbers, and live music. From the dangers of the, deep, dark woods, to the colorful “cabaret show” put on by the Beast’s household staff, the professionally-costumed performers really bring life to the classic show.

It would take more than fifty of our images to bring you all of the colorful characters portrayed by this fine group of performers. So, you’ll have to go and see for yourself. We’re sure you’ll agree that the cast and crew’s effort has paid off, when you bring your family to see this colorful, tuneful, well-acted show.

The castle valet, Lumiere (it’s Kai Fiser as the debonair, enchanted candelabra) and butler Cogsworth (actor Marlon Faber turned into a tightly-wound, enchanted stuffy mantle clock) wonder if they’ll ever be human again.

Parkrose High’s Beauty and the Beast shows at 7:00 p.m. on February 27 and 28, and again on Friday, March 6.

On Saturday, March 7, there is a special Matinee Performance at 2:00 p.m., as well as a closing performance at 7:00 p.m.

Buy tickets in advance securely online at Ticketleap.com: CLICK HERE to open the show’s webpage. TICKETS Adult $7.00 + $1.35 fee = $8.35; Student/Senior $5.00 + $1.25 = $6.25 online. Or, you can buy tickets at face value, at the door.

The Parkrose High School Theater is in outer East Portland at 12003 NE Shaver Street.

Belle is treated to a personal cabaret show, as the household objects come to life in the song “Be Our Guest”.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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