LOWVILLE At the beginning of this school year, Lowville Academy and Central School music department chairwoman Penny S. Jay looked at the musical talent at the high school and found it was a beauty.
We have a lot of talent this year, Mrs. Jay said. Beauty and the Beast requires a lot of roles that have a lot of solos and a lot of dialog.
But theres an added benefit for the students besides the productions catchy music and snappy dialog.
Its not every day you can wear a giant teapot costume and be an inanimate object and do all these fun dance numbers and songs, said senior Maggie M. Griffiths, who plays Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.
The musical is based on the Academy Award-winning 1991 Disney animated feature film and includes songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with new songs by Menken and Tim Rice. The plot concerns Belle, whose father, Maurice, is imprisoned by the beast (really a prince). Belle offers herself instead and finds the prince inside the beast.
Mrs. Jay said there are 70 students involved in the musical, which will be staged for four shows at the high school on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The cast includes 11 fifth- and sixth-graders. Margaret Z. Anderson has lots of stage experience despite being just a fifth-grader at Lowville Elementary. Her Lowville Academy experience includes Annie and Guys and Dolls. She also has been in several community theater productions from Potsdam to Watertown.
She plays Chip in Beauty and the Beast.
I like it when you get on stage and everybody is looking at you, Maggie said. It gives you a feeling and its a good one.
Maggie said shes learning a lot about stage musicals from older students such as senior Collin J. Farquhar, who plays Gaston.
Hes sort of the antagonist of the show and he has a personality thats very different from mine, said Mr. Farquhar. So its fun to go up on stage and act the part you arent like at all.
He said students are having fun with the music and dancing.
The musical is pretty driven by a lot of big numbers with a lot of people in the cast dancing, he said. Theres more of that than in other musicals weve done. Everyone is solid. Theres not a lot of weak spots in the show.
Mrs. Jay is being helped by Mark Brooker and Brianne Sterling as assistant directors. Mr. Brooker also is the musicals pit band director and Ms. Sterling is the vocal director. Katherine Jay, Mrs. Jays daughter and a third-grade teacher at Lowville Academy, is the choreographer.
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The cast of "Beauty and the Beast at Lowville Academy and Central School:
Thomas Johnson as the Beast, Catherine Lyndaker as Belle, Collin Farquhar as Gaston, Collin Stewart as Lefou, Dustin Shanley as Maurice, Dan Austin as Cosgworth, Adam Roes as Lumiere, Maggie Griffiths as Mrs. Potts, Margaret Anderson as Chip, Kristen Beyer as Babette and Elizabeth Kelly as the wardrobe.
The silly girls: Erin Fayle, Emily Birchenough, Julie Farquhar, Sarah Lyndaker, Anna Lyndaker and Hannah Rockwood.
Lee Buckingham is Monsieur dArque and the young prince. Grace Metzer plays an old beggar woman and an enchantress. Wolves are played by Lucas Arthur, Ian Miller, Collin Zehr, Zachary Zabrzycki, Brody Brown, Ryan Myers and Brandon Barlow.
Townspeople and enchanted objects: Emma Stoddard, Zoe Purcell, Kiersten Lehman, Grace Metzler, Ian Miller, Kayleigh Willis, Kerrigan Catlin, Jessica Bassett, Kina Bradseth, Meghan Schultz, Meghan Panowicz, Lucas Arthur, Heather Adsit, Delia Andalora, Brandon Barlow, Scott Bingle, Olivia Brooker, Theres Dines, Allie Dykeman, Moira Fayle, Emily Finn, Lindsay Golas, Remington Hanno, Zachary Hardy, Abby Jantzi, Hannah Kessler, Alyssa Laribee, Courtney Lehman, Makenzie Marti, Kelsey McLean, Elyse Merrell, Brandon Munger, Christine Pisaniello, Ellory Roberts, Jasmine Roggie, Dalton Rombough, Emma St. Croix, Megan Weber, Alexis Yousey and Melvin Zehr.
Students in grades 4 to 6 who play townspeople and enchanted objects: Olivia Baker, Ariana Beller, Jared Beyer, Alyssa Brower, Carter Green, Gavin Macaulay, Matthew McIntosh, Logan Nicol, Kyla Reed, Anna Western and Cadan Turck.
Hannah Freeman is the salt shaker and Chloe Beehm is the pepper shaker.