“Beauty and the Beast” is a musical that allows all kinds of people to join together to bring a shared love of music and the arts to life. For this year’s musical, students from ninth to twelfth grade, as well as one fourth grader, have come together to bring this show to life. For three months, students, teachers and parents alike have worked tirelessly to make sure the show comes to fruition.
One of the most intricate and beautiful parts of the show is the costuming. Three students and eight “Drama Mamas,” who are the moms of students within the musical, worked from the beginning of November up until show week, Jan. 31 to Feb. 3. Senior Stephanie Bono said, “It was my first year working in costuming. It was so much fun, but it was a lot of hard work. We have worked during and outside of rehearsals since October.” Bono and senior Ashton Cameron were both new to costuming this year, aided by seasoned costume senior Lauren Pavelec. Cameron said, “This is the first show I’ve ever been a part of. No regrets senior year.” Bono adds, “It’s such an exciting thing to do. I am so glad I [joined costuming] because I have learned so much over the past two months.”
Bono said, “It takes a while because sometimes we need to order a certain thing or search through the costume closet or even make [a costume] from scratch and make sure it fits the person and looks well on stage; it just all depends. There are about eight people a day working on the costumes. There is so much to do, so the more help the better.” Backstage, during the performances, costumers helped the cast adjust all parts of costumes, sewed a heavy art-piece onto an intricately designed backpack for Lauren Pavelec’s costume, for her character as a vase, and made sure everyone was comfortable and fashionable in each cast member’s two to three costume changes.
The show would not be running if it were not for another integral part of the crew, the stage manager. Senior Madeline Benfield has been a stage manager for the past two years, taking junior Esther Williams under her wing. Being stage manager is no easy task; their duties consist of making sure the actors are in their places, assisting director Steve Broyles with lighting during the shows and overall making sure that the show is running smoothly. Benfield said, “I love being a part of theatre. I met so many of my best friends through the program and I’m constantly learning new things.”
Working in the orchestra pit during the musical is Senior flutist Abby Yang. Most of the orchestra is comprised of professional musicians, Yang is one of two students to play for the musical, alongside sophomore Skyler Williams. Yang said, “Being in the orchestra is a really fun, somewhat chaotic and challenging experience. It’s cool to be part of the production without having to be on stage.”
Actors and actresses worked diligently to finalize songs, memorize lyrics and rehearse the choreography to six dance numbers. Not only do the actors attend rehearsal, but in their spare time they continue to practice their parts. Senior Lauren Bell, who plays Mrs. Potts said, “Practices are every day, five days a week from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. But, I also scheduled voice lessons every Thursday since September.” Bell shared that she has been a part of the plays from the day she arrived at Wesleyan. “I’ve always done theatre at Wesleyan ever since kindergarten, and I would go to theatre camps over the summer when I was little.” But the process of rehearsing for the musical is not only hard work. The Wesleyan Wolf Players make sure to balance their hard work equally with excitement. When asked what his favorite part about “Beauty and the Beast” is, senior Jaucqir Lafond, who plays Cogsworth, said, “I love being a part of such a loving community.”
Williams said, “The best part of “Beauty and the Beast” has been watching it all come together. So many different people have put so much effort into the play, and it’s so exciting to watch.” With the amount of combined effort and talent from the costume designers, stage managers, directors, choreographers, orchestra and actors, “Beauty and the Beast” is the musical to watch. Cameron said, “Everyone should come see this show! The cast has been working extremely hard, as well as everyone behind the scenes, to make this an amazing production, and it will be 100 percent worth your time to come see it.” So, make sure to attend the premiere of Beauty and the Beast on Wednesday, Jan. 31.