The Beast Behind The Curtain

A behind the scenes look at the production of Beauty and The Beast

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The Beast Behind The Curtain

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Bryanna DePiro, A&E Editor

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This past month Theater Arts Guide and the Skagit Valley College drama department teamed up for the first time to put on the well known Disney love story, Beauty and The Beast at McIntyre Hall.

As the program said, “The directing styles and collaborative drive of both directors has meshed during the rehearsal process to be more than the sum of its parts.”

“The directing styles and collaborative drive of both directors has meshed during the rehearsal process to be more than the sum of its parts.””

— Jane Skimmer

The cast was under the musical direction by the Skagit Valley College Music Department, and the show was choreographed by Skagit Valley Academy of Dance. The show was directed by Jane Skinner, who has been working with TAG for twenty-five years.

The show had large music numbers where all of the cast is involved, with intense choreography. Skinner said one of the biggest challenges was not having their own theater to rehearse in, the cast only got to rehearse in McIntyre Hall one time before opening night. The choreography was still extremely precise and engaging regardless of the lack of preparation time.

“In a musical, one of the biggest challenges that we have is sound,” said Skinner. Mics tend to be a struggle with musical theater. They have to make sure the cast can hear each other, and the orchestra, and the fact that they did not have their own theater to rehearse in did not make it any easier on them.

However it seemed to work out, it was hard not to be captivated by Emily Cupp’s emotional numbers as Belle. Or Tim Brown’s emotional numbers as The Beast.

‘Be our Guest’ is one of the Skinner’s personal favorites. “It’s so familiar, everybody knows it, everybody’s in it, and it’s big and colorful and wonderful, and you go away singing it.” Which I did.

So far her favorite memory from the show has been the first time they sang the number, “The beautiful harmonies, and the smiles on the faces, and the joy that it brought to everybody involved in it, I started to cry,” she said.

Another challenge was bringing the Beast character to life, they had a group at the college make an extremely detailed prosthetic for the beast’s face, that added a realistic aspect to the show.

One of the things she was proudest of was the cast. They had one hundred and thirty-three people audition, so a lot of effort had to go into choosing the cast. “They were amazing from day one,” she told me. “First read through we almost had a show!”

They got the audience involved with light up roses for sale in the lobby that they could turn on in Act 2, as the last rose falls. So during an emotional moment in the show, you are surrounded by beautiful, blinking lights all throughout the audience.

“It’s really special the bonds you form… you become such a family,” she said. “You’re memories are gonna be how much fun you had, and the audience totally feels that too.” While watching such a quality show, it was clear they were having just as much fun as the audience.

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