A Tale as Old as Time: Yorktown’s Production of Beauty and the Beast

Courtesy of Yorktown High School Theatre
Courtesy of Yorktown High School Theatre

For this spring’s musical, our school’s theater department invited us to be their guests for their production of Beauty and the Beast. Throughout each of the four shows, viewers were transported to 18th century France and fell in love with the delicately picked cast.

“It was really hard to cast the show because of the sheer enormity of talent that we have. [Casting] is all about how well that character fits on you and how well your character mesh with this other character,” director and theater teacher Alani Kravitz said.

Bella Houston perfectly encapsulated the spirit of Belle with a charming smile that shone even brighter than her classic yellow dress. Her angelic voice had audiences struggling to remember that this was merely a high school production. 

“Playing [Belle] was a childhood dream since I was little …. We sold out all four shows, which is more than anyone could ask for,” Houston said.

While the role was extremely rewarding, it didn’t come easy. 

“When I heard that we were doing the show, I started watching all of the musicals, started learning the songs and dedicated at least an hour a day to learning the scenes of the song. The week before the show, we were here from 6 to 10 pm; it was a lot, but it was a lot of fun,” Houston said.

Starring alongside Houston, Matthew Aslaskan portrayed a Beast whose chilling roar was enough to make viewers tremble in their seats. Although his face was hidden behind an intricate and detailed mask, his energetic stage presence and euphonious voice still shone through. The audience fell in love with his sensitive side, and he closed out act one with an exquisite rendition of “If I Can’t Love Her”, leaving everyone speechless going into the intermission.

Gaston captured more than just the hearts of the silly girls; Joseph DaRin’s alluring persona had the audience in a trance every time he stepped on stage. His gruff voice portrayed Gaston in just the right way: convincing viewers that he was old enough to know better than to eat five dozen eggs.

George Papantoniou’s LeFou was the epitome of a Disney sidekick. His expressive movements matched with his slapstick comments created an amusing character the audience loved. 

The porcelain voice of Mrs. Potts, played by Ann Leslie Riley, sent shivers through viewer’s spines during her beautiful rendition of Beauty of the Beast. She had a heartwarming relationship with Chip, played by Evie Scally, whose perfect portrayal of a teacup brought a youthful aspect to the performance. 

Besides the fated lovers, the duo of the night was Lumiere and Babette, portrayed by Drew Wright and Alannah Hjelm. Their thick french accents and witty personalities had viewers laughing every time they came on stage. The amusing romance between the two had audiences hoping the fates would align for the supporting characters when the spell was broken.

Maurice, Ashton Juckett, and James Best as Cogsworth both provided noteworthy performances that left audiences laughing at their absurd characters. Olivia Rosen was an extraordinary Madame de la Grande Bouche, whose alluring personality was just as large as her dresser costume.

Act One’s Be Our Guest had viewers’ jaws on the ground the entire time. From the carefully articulated choreography to the perfectly pitched pit, the number was one to remember. The ensemble was joined by our school’s dance team to produce a standing ovation worthy performance.

“That was [choir teacher Jocelyn] Mullins, our choreographer’s, decision. Not only did they do amazing as wolves, but they added into the kick line of ‘Be Our Guest,” Kravitz said. 

With “Be Our Guest”’s kickline being one of Kravitz’s favorite parts of the show, she was absolutely thrilled with the results.

“I think the kids put so much work into this and it’s the greatest feeling in the world to witness it firsthand pay off. There were people begging for tickets in the lobby, and more teachers showed up than in many years past. The response was just really wonderful and validating,” Kravitz said.

While the audience paid homage to the cast all throughout the show, the show couldn’t have run without the utterly talented  production crew. 

“As soon as we came back from winter break, we hit the ground running, working on everything: the set team started making their plots and where they wanted to put each light. I started going through the script, marking who needs a mic and where each sound effect should be placed,” junior and sound designer/sound technician TJ Schultz said.

Although the tech crew is often overshadowed by the performers on stage, they put lots of hours and effort into the show. Spending the majority of their afternoons building sets and mapping out plants can often be exhausting, Schultz says it’s always worth it to see their creations come to life. 

The audience absolutely loved all of the musical numbers—something that couldn’t be achieved without the orchestra. Their heavenly melodies were both unforgettable and irreplaceable, with an extremely talented group of musicians in the pit. 

While we all wait patiently for next March, we rest satisfied due to the beauty of this musical and sit in anticipation of how next year’s musical will somehow top it.

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Scarlett Gray
Scarlett Gray, News Editor
Scarlett Gray is a junior and this year's News Editor. She spends the majority of her time swimming but also enjoys reading, baking and hanging out with her friends. Returning for her second year on staff, she is so excited to meet all the new reporters and see what stories will be covered!

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