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Love’s a Beast

Music & More players present their twist on Disney favorite ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at DeWitt Theatre
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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It's a tale as old as time, and right now it's being told to Auburn audiences. The DeWitt Theatre stage is looking more like an enchanted castle these days, as the Music & More Arts Academy Community Theatre Players present Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the story of an unloving prince transformed into a beast and a girl who comes to live with him, and later learns to love him, in his enchanted castle after he imprisons her father for trespassing. The crew spent Wednesday night working on last-minute preparations for opening night Valentine's Day. All said they've had a lot of fun with their roles. Kimberly Blakley got into character Wednesday night, her arms frozen in a teapot formation to embody the role of Mrs. Potts. Audiences are sure to love the play, which incorporates everyone's favorite elements of Disney's take on the fairy tale. It's Disney ” everybody loves Disney. What little girl, or big girl, doesn't want to be Belle, or a Disney princess? Blakley said, adding that she liked portraying the singing teapot. I'm really excited. It's a really challenging vocal role and I'm excited about that because I love to sing. I've been singing forever but I've only acted in a couple plays, so I'm really excited to refine my skills. Musical director Kay Coder says Beauty and the Beast is a love story appropriate for all ages. It's a magical story and I think every child, and even adults, love the romance of the story and I think there are some really beautiful and touching moments, she said. It's a wonderful fairy tale come to life, and it has everything ” mystery, and some parts that are kind of frightening, and the music is really wonderful. Really, it's a fantastic show, for everyone, from very young to adults. Portraying the Beast is a role of a lifetime for Josh Harper, 29, of Auburn. I've wanted to do this part for 10 years, he said. It's sort of a long time dream come true. The raw emotion that has to show from being an animal to becoming more human ” I think it's a real intriguing transformation to make. Duffy Ford loves her role as Madame de la Grande Bouche, a singing wardrobe. My character's an old opera diva, so it's fun to play a big, over-the-top character, and to be semi-animated and sort of cartoonish, she said. Terry Hicks embodies a candelabra as Lumiere. He is very flashy and it's just very different for me, and I like that I can speak with a French accent, Hicks said. Harry Hale, portraying the evil Monsieur D'Arque, said there are a lot of reasons local theatergoers should see Beauty and the Beast. I think the charisma of Disney productions draws people, he said. I think we've come up with an interesting twist on a couple songs and brought it to life in our own ways.