by Anne-Emilie Rouffiac
This spring, many wondered how GHS students could top off last year’s inspiring rendition of Hairspray. Yet, the cast of Beauty and the Beast did just that.
From Thursday, May 16 to Saturday, May 18, GHS students performed the well-known tale of Beauty and the Beast in the PAC. Auditions took place in late February and, since then, the cast has been working hard to put together a magical show.
“Beauty and the Beast is such an iconic show with so many fun roles and songs, and it’s so exciting to do it with such a big cast!” junior Maggie Tone explained. She played one of the Silly Girls who flocked around the handsome Gaston.
The cast had a variety of students from all different grades and backgrounds. One particular grade level seized the chance to participate in the musical. Numerous seniors joined the cast this year to make Beauty and the Beast as amazing as it was. Seniors Kenleigh Meritt, Ethan Thomas, Will Hartford, Hadley Delany, Marcos Eizayaga, Oliver White, Madelyn Yu, Hayden Sherr, Jacqueline Cochran, Daniel McDermott were featured in lead roles this year. Many other wonderful seniors played crucial parts in the ensemble as well. Beauty and the Beast was a special show for them since it was their last chance to be a part of the GHS spring musical. Following the bows of their last show on Saturday, they hugged and shed a few tears as the emotional journey came to an end.
“Beauty and the Beast was an incredible experience!! I had the most amazing time dancing, singing, and bonding with the cast!!” said senior Hadley Delany, who played Babette. Her French accent and vivacious, slightly sassy persona fulfilled her role masterfully.
Even though the cast was comprised of over 55 students, the students formed lasting friendships. The complex yet breathtaking ensemble scenes required tremendous teamwork. In the “Gaston” scene, the villagers cheer up Gaston in the tavern. Throughout this iconic song, the ensemble sang harmoniously and perfected a difficult choreography in which they drummed a beat with the tavern’s metal cups. Daniel McDermott added to the quality of the scene with his phenomenal acting. With a hilariously narcissistic persona and confident moves, Daniel mastered the role of Gaston.
The “Be Our Guest” scene also wowed the crowd. Different groups of students danced across the stage as napkins, silverware, plates, and flowers. Even though there were several different dances happening simultaneously with various formations developing on stage, the cast interacted seamlessly. The technical directors completed the scene with a vividly-colorful lighting that bolstered the enthusiasm. This scene received a round of applause lasting so long that Belle eventually had to begin her next line to keep the show going.
Yet, every single scene in the show was well done. This was a result of the cast’s tremendous effort and skill, as explained by Marcos Eizayaga, who played Lumiere. In this role, his French accent and acting was on par with college-level and professional performers.
“This was my first year performing with the GHS theater program,” said Marcos. “I have never met a more inclusive, talented, and hardworking group of people. Every single person in the program, from performers to pit orchestra, and all the students and professionals helping backstage, are amazing people that always give 110%. The bonds that I have formed with others in this program are unforgettable,” he added.
The technical directors and the stage crew were equally devoted. The set pieces were detailed and lifelike. Students in the stage crew maneuvered large houses, benches, chairs, and props onto the stage in lightning-fast transitions between scenes, making everything run smoothly.
However, the journey was not so simple for the cast and crew of Beauty and the Beast. Rehearsals were intense as previous spring musicals have set a high bar; this year’s cast was determined to be the best they could be. Marcos discussed the more difficult aspect of the show. “Every day was a new challenge for me, and a hard one at that. Rehearsals, especially during tech week (the week of dress rehearsals with mics, costumes, lights, and everything) had everyone on their A game, with a production level that could compete with an off-Broadway show.”
Yet, the cast supported each other each step of their way to overcome the obstacles in their way. They were connected not only by their experiences in rehearsals, but also by the message they wanted to share with the audience. They showed that one must look inside a person’s heart to truly see who they are. What is inside matters more than what is outside. At the end of the show, audiences remembered this important memento.
Thus, the cast and crew’s hard work paid off. They filled up the PAC each night and received lengthy standing ovations at the close of their performances. Beauty and the Beast was so successful that it set off a buzz around Greenwich. Even Greenwich residents who do not have children at GHS bought tickets and numerous alumni came back to see their former classmates on stage.
And so, in the words of stage crew member Zach DiBella, “It was a beast of a show.”
Lead roles seen below.
Photo Credit: Anne-Emilie Rouffiac