Baylor's Beauty And The Beast Production Is Ready To Raise The Curtain

  • Thursday, April 11, 2024
  • Baylor School website
Baylor School presents Beauty and the Beast April 24-28
Baylor School presents Beauty and the Beast April 24-28

When the curtain rises of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, more than 55 cast and crew members, as well as 21 members of the orchestra, will play a crucial role in bringing the enchanting tale to life on stage.

The play is directed by Beth Gumnick with set design by Garrett Walsh, and costumes by Laura Smith (a portion of the costumes are being rented from the Chattanooga Theatre Centre). Mae Weiss serves as conductor, Ben Sposet is choral director, and Allison Lamb is prop designer. Lamb is also overseeing 20 Middle Schoolers who are assisting with the set and props as part of the crew.

Music is by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton.

Don’t miss your chance to see it come to life April 24-28, (Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.) Tickets are $10 and go on sale Wednesday and may be purchased by clicking here. Baylor Backers may access their discount codes for tickets starting Monday by contacting Rheagan Hall.

In the meantime, we caught up junior Maggie Tansor, who is double cast as Belle (along with senior Mya Houston), three of the four fanatical female followers of Gaston (seniors Ellie and Emery Carico and junior Harper Kelly) and Gaston himself (sophomore Wesley Chi).

The four represent a range of stage experience and hope other students will be inspired to get involved in theater after seeing the production. “Theater is just a really fun experience no matter what part you get. We have space for anyone who wants to be on stage, and we also have a plethora of roles behind the scenes for people interested in theater but not acting. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it also is really rewarding and gives you a who new group of friends you see after school every day,” says Kelly.

This is Tansor's first Upper School theater performance, although she has been a steady presence on the stage as a member of Verve'. Splitting the lead role of Belle with Houston has helped them develop a friendship, and she has also enjoyed getting to know the rest of the cast and meeting new people. "There are students from all different after school activities and grades, and being able to engage with people that I wouldn't normally see has been really exciting," she said. "I think the challenge for newcomers is keeping up with everyone else who has been in musicals and productions before. Even though this is a challenge, the people in the cast who have done other productions before are extremely supportive and inclusive."

Chi says he has always been drawn to theater because he has a natural love of performing but also finds it to be “just really fun,” but getting into character of Gaston has been particularly enjoyable. “He's such a cartoony character which makes him really fun to portray.” Chi, who most recently played Professor Plum in the fall production of Clue, said he acted “a decent bit before Covid, put it aside for a few years, and came back to it halfway through Middle School at Baylor. Ever since then, I've been in six or seven both small-scale and large-scale productions…forming a sense of community during a production has always been a blast.”

Other than a stint in a Signal Mountain Playhouse production of Peter Pan when she was in elementary school, senior Ellie Carico was committed to her varsity sport and not able to perform in a play until recently. “It’s my senior year and I finally have time to do it. I love that I have made new friends that I would have never met before,” she says, admitting that she was not expecting the work that had to be done outside of afternoon and evening rehearsals. It does not feel like a task though. It feels like a fun activity that I get to do.” She advises other students to audition for a play before their senior year if possible. “It has been one of my favorite experiences at Baylor so far, and I wish I had been involved with the program before my senior year.”

Senior Emery Carico is also performing on stage for the first time, and like her sister, Ellie, she is a committed athlete and is no stranger to teamwork. “I hope the audience realizes the effort it takes to put on a performance as big as Beauty and The Beast. I can say for myself that I never realized all the time and effort it takes from everyone for the shows to be as good as they are.” She said acting has been challenging due to her lack of experience, but she has enjoyed being surrounded by a new group of peers. “I think at times we can become separated between the people who enjoy sports and who enjoy the arts but it’s fun when we can do things together.”

Gaston's groupies also include freshman Matilda Joels, and Kelly, who has been involved in Baylor plays since middle school and does theater year-round in tech and as a cast member. She is also an officer in The Baylor Players. “Theater would not be so exciting without all the wonderful friends I get to hang out with. Everyone is so kind and welcoming and wants to build each other up. We also have some pretty cool teachers who add even more to the experience.” Even though she is no stranger to the stage, Kelly finds combining singing and dancing together to be a challenge. “We have a limited time to learn our harmonies and dances and then have to put them together,” but adds that she hopes “audiences will allow themselves to simply enjoy the show as we take them on Belle’s journey. I am excited to share our spin on the classic Disney tale that the whole family can enjoy!”

“I hope the audiences not only enjoy the show, but really appreciate how much work goes into the show behind the scenes,” adds Tansor. “Not only is the cast hard at work, but the entire production utilizes the hard work of our teachers, the band and orchestra, the dancers, and the countless talented students that make up the tech crew.”

Freshman Hank Long (left) and senior Charles Liu (right) at a recent orchestra rehearsal for Beauty and the Beast
Freshman Hank Long (left) and senior Charles Liu (right) at a recent orchestra rehearsal for Beauty and the Beast
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