HHS to present Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” comes to life onstage at Hudson High School as this year’s fall musical.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” comes to life onstage at Hudson High School as this year’s fall musical. The show runs Fridays, Nov. 13 and 20 at 7 p.m., Saturdays, Nov. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sundays, Nov. 15 and 22, 2 p.m.
The “tale as old as time” is a lavish production with a cast of more than 50 and dozens of backstage volunteers made up of students, parents and community members. While the music and story are familiar to most people, director Andy Haase and his co-directors are working hard with their young cast to get the stage play as perfect as possible.
Haase said he wanted to produce a show that would challenge the students. “What better way to do that then to dress them up as objects, such as plates, wine bottles, forks, spoons, a wardrobe clock, large tea pot and candlestick and expect them to sing and dance!”
Max Malanaphy plays the Beast to Reilin Weber’s beauty, Belle. This is Weber’s first leading role after being in the cast of past HHS productions like the “Wizard of Oz” and the “Sound of Music.”
“The singing comes naturally but I admit I’ve been a little intimidated with the acting. It is kind of new to me but I love it. The hardest thing to get used to is really going over the top and exaggerating everything but I’m getting there and I love the show and the cast,” said Weber.
Weber says her favorite song in the show is “A Change in Me” and her favorite scene is the mob scene where she gets to deliver quite a slap. She also has some of the fastest costume changes of the show.
Weber says the message of “Beauty and the Beast” is both timeless and important. “It really boils down to ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ That’s what turned the prince into a beast in the first place. The truth is, beauty is in the deeper relationships we have with each other, not in our outward looks.”
Weber is a senior and hasn’t decided on a college yet but thinks she will pursue a career in nursing.
Malanaphy, also a senior, is in his third HHS musical after having featured roles in last year’s “Singin’ in the Rain” and in “Wizard of Oz.” He said this show is fun because he gets to play opposite all the very animated inanimate objects. He also has some pretty interesting makeup, playing most of the show behind a mask and a lot of fur.
He says his favorite part of the show is the finale. “I always like the finale. Everything comes together, everybody is onstage and the audience is right there with you. It always gives me chills.”
Malanaphy says he realizes it isn’t practical to expect he will have a career in the theater but he hopes to continue to act and sing no matter what he does. He would like to go to college on the east coast where he was born and eventually give the stage a try in New York City. Despite the odds, he says, “it’s a career path I’d like to explore.”
Ben Scheiderer is a sophomore and this is his first show at Hudson High School. He plays the suave, cosmopolitan candlestick Lumiere. He said this is the part he was hoping for because “it has all the cool moves.”
Scheiderer said he has watched the animated movie version of “Beauty and the Beast” at least once a week since landing the part and he has some experience in the show, having played Chip, son of the tea pot, when he was in middle school. “It is a really fun part with a great costume.”
Bennet Borup plays the curmudgeon clock, Cogsworth, and it has to be fun for this freshman to lord it over the upperclassmen he plays against. “I kind of like how pompous he is. He wants you to, but you can’t take him too seriously. He thinks he’s in charge but nobody else does. He provides a lot of comic relief.”
His favorite song in the show is “Human Again,” because it provides some insight into the characters.
The all-knowing and comforting Mrs. Pots is just the role Erin Maher wanted. “She kind of mothers the other characters but she also is very strong and self-reliant. The truth is she’s the one in charge whatever the other guys like Cogsworth or Lumiere think.”
This is Maher’s fourth high school musical. She’s a senior and says she thinks she will major in communications when she goes to college next year. She isn’t sure yet where. She said the entire cast has been rehearsing very hard to make sure the production meets the audience’s expectations.
“The only thing I wish is that there would be some way I could see it from the audience perspective — see it from out front. That would be great,” said Maher.
“Be Our Guest” is her favorite production number in the show and is Mrs. Pots’ tour de force. “It is one of the really well-known scenes of the show but I think people will be impressed.”
Erin Bloomer, a petite senior, plays Bebette, the very French, very flirty feather duster. This is her third HHS musical and she likes that she gets to be the coquette for a change. “I think because I’m kind of small, I play younger, more innocent types but with Bebette I get to really go over the top and kind of be sort of a floozy.”
Bloomer’s favorite song of the show isn’t one she performs but rather one of the Beast’s, “If I Can Love Her.”
“Max does it so well. It really showcases his range,” said Bloomer. Her biggest challenge is moving and dancing on stage in a costume that is pretty bottom heavy but she loves her “feather head.”
Bloomer says while she loves to perform, she expects to earn a degree in education, maybe at UW-Milwaukee, and wants to teach history.
Working with Haase on the production is HHS Choral Director Kari Heisler, choreographer Denise Baker, rehearsal pianist Jodell Krause, set designer Mark Koski, costumer Jean Maher and makeup artist Pat Larson.
Tickets for “Beauty and the Beast” are $5 for students and $10 for adults. The box office at HHS is open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 3-7:00 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the door. For more information call (715)377-3800 or go online at www.hudson.k12.wi.us and click on Hudson High School.