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The Belle of the Ball: Beauty and the Beast Is a Hit

The TC Drama Department Debuts Spring Musical

Alexis Larsen

Dancing through the auditorium April 26, were napkins, dining ware, a clock, a candelabra, a teapot, a beauty and a beast. The Drama Department performed the spring musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and it will be remembered as one of the top musicals ever performed at T.C.

Beauty and the Beast is about a young prince who was cursed by an enchantress because of his selfishness. The spell transformed the prince into a hideous beast, as well as the rest of the castle staff into household items. The only way the Beast and the servants can be transformed back is by earning the love of young women before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose.

Belle (Ruschell) and the Beast (Cokely) during the ballroom dance scene. Photo courtesy of Penosoimages.

The leading Beauty, Belle, was played by Junior Teddie Ruschell and her understudy Sophomore Jessica Zolbe.  Ruschell and Zolbe played a sweet and headstrong heroine and helped conveyed the emotions needed for the audience to fully experience the passion in each scene. The hideous Beast was played by Senior Justice Cokely. Gaston, the main antagonist and village suitor was played by Senior Aidan White and his sidekick Lefou was played by Senior Mya Hall. The duo was refreshing every time they entered the stage and although White and Hall were mainly humorous, they were also able to inflict fear and anger during all of the tense moments. The charismatic enchanted candelabra, Lumiere, was played by Junior D’Shon “Davy” Washington and understudy Sophomore Nikolai Kosinski. Both perfected the French accent. Junior Jaedyn Christopher played the head of the household, Cogsworth, a tightly wound clock with strong comedic timing. The elegant Ms. Potts was played by Senior Leila Rasmussen and understudy Sophomore Lauren Maho. 

Cogsworth (Christopher), Lumiere (Washington), Belle (Ruschell), Ms. Potts (Rassmussen), and Chip (Phoebe LaMountain). Photo courtesy of Penosoimages.

This tremendous musical was directed by Lara Hudson Press and Student Director Senior Amaiya Howard, and was choreographed by Press and Dance Captain Senior Ciera Burkhalter.  The Music Director was Theodore Thorpe III, Technical Director was Hope Bachman, and Executive Producer was Leslie Jones.

The were multiple songs original to the musical version of Beauty and the Beast, along with all of the beloved classics. During A Change in Me, Ruschell displayed her talent in an emotional solo during a crucial turning point of the show wonderfully. Rasmussen also sang beautifully in her solo, Beauty and the Beast, which was critical in setting the scene during the ballroom dance between the Beast and Belle. There were multiple solos that were extraordinarily admirable as well such as the Cokley’s, If I Can’t Love, and White’s Me. The amount of singing talent in both the main cast and ensemble/dance corps was extremely impressive.

Gaston (White), Lafou (Hall), and villagers (ensemble) in the Tavern during the musical number Gaston. Photo courtesy of Penosoimages.

There were two notably large dance numbers, Gaston and Be Our Guest. Each of the large numbers kept the audience intrigued and entertained. Gaston took place in the tavern and it featured Gaston, Lefou, and the ensemble (comprised of Gaston Goons, Silly Girls, and villagers). The scene was loud, charismatic, and everything an audience member would want from the number. Be Our Guest on the other note, took place in the Beast’s Castle and it featured Lumiere, Ms. Potts, the household servants, the dance corps (dressed at napkins) and the ensemble (dressed as dining ware and plates). The dance was fun and energetic, but the highlight of the number was the dancing napkins, who were both highly talented and elegant.

Belle (Ruschell) and villagers (ensemble) during the Belle musical number. The set included a working water fountain. Photo courtesy of Penosoimages.

The sets were huge. Beast’s castle was the most impressive set, featuring two large staircases and three rooms. All of the village scenes featured a real working fountain and large house sets. More impressively were the quick and seamless set changes done by the backstage crew. Every time the curtain closed, the audience was in for a quiet and refreshing surprise. The cast utilized more than just the stage but rather used the entire auditorium, which put the audience into the story.

Overall, the Drama department should be applauded for the time and effort put into Beauty and the Beast. The musical was an enchanted experience.