It’s a tale as old as time with a modern day twist. Red Oak High School theater is performing Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast" Jan. 18 — 20 at 7 p.m.
The show is full of the classic songs everyone has come to know and love, paired with costumes and a set that will transport viewers into the realm of fairytales. However, the show isn’t just full of high school actors.
“We offered a ‘Be Our Guest’ kids camp to elementary students in Red Oak ISD,” said Chris Rogers, Red Oak High School theatre director. “We had over 160 kids show up, and they learned part of the song and dance to 'Be Our Guest.' The kids painted little teacups to wear on their heads, and every night we’re going to have 50 kids come out and perform with us.”
The curtains open on a vain prince who refuses to provide shelter to a haggard old woman in exchange for a single rose. As luck would have it, the old woman transforms into a beautiful enchantress who curses the prince by turning him into a hideous beast. The only way to reverse the spell is to make someone fall in love with him before the last petal falls off the now enchanted rose at his feet. The Beast lost all hope until a series of unfortunate events finds a young village girl named Belle locked in his castle. Meanwhile, an arrogant hunter also aims capture Belle’s heart — at any cost.
Auditions for the show began at the end of September, and cast members have been working on the music since. After Thanksgiving break, the actors started working on the dancing and acting portions of the musical.
In addition to capturing the essence of the characters, Rogers and his students were tasked with capturing the spirit of Disney’s iconic scenes. To do that, they rented the massive set and put it together with only three pages of instructions.
“It was a nice experience for us because we haven’t had anything of this size and caliber on the stage before and it was challenging to put it together,” Rogers said. “But it’s something professional touring companies do all the time, so that’s just an extra experience for them.”
Madison Simpson, a senior who plays Mrs. Potts, said the most challenging thing for her has been to hold her arm up the entire show like a tea spout.
“One of my arms is definitely more worked out than the other,” Simpson laughed.
Emily Barnes, who plays the main character Belle, said she’s excited to take on the roll.
“Living up to the expectation of being Belle has been a challenge,” Barnes said. “I’ve been trying to make it my own, but still be recognizable as the character that everyone grew up with.”
The cast has four graduating seniors in the show, whom all agreed that the best part is getting to know your fellow cast members in a way that forms a theatre family.
“I’m emotional and have cried multiple times already,” Simpson said. “I’ve been in every musical in high school and one in middle school at the high school, so this is my fifth and last musical. I’m going out with a bang, and I’m so proud of what we have done.”
Tickets to the show are $12 for adults and $8 for students and can be purchased at the door or at redoakhs.seatyourself.biz. Red oak ISD faculty (with ID) and Red Oak Gold cardholders can receive a free ticket to the show.