Weakley Playhouse presents ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Weakley Playhouse students will tell a ‘tale as old as time’ in the group’s first ever musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”
Students representing three of Weakley County’s high schools want you to ‘be their guest’ for this special spring musical performance at Westview High School.
Cogsworth, Lumiere, Belle, and the Beast will take the stage after months of rehearsals and preparation.
The classic tale has been uniquely adapted for the Westview Theatre stage.
Two Westview High Schools Seniors, Abbey Buchanan and Atlantis Taylor, are a part of this year’s whimsical production that’s packed with amazing musical numbers, beautiful costumes, and eye-catching set design.
Abbey Buchanan is helping with choreography and portrays one of the Silly Girls on the stage.
“I think this production is going well for our first musical,” Buchanan commented. “It has been fun to be a part of a theatre experience that’s new to Weakley Playhouse. I have a passion for acting, but it’s rewarding to watch the choreography in your head come to life on the stage. We also have some interesting techniques that we’re employing with our costumes. It’s a must-see.”
Atlantis Taylor is portraying the Wardrobe. She said that it can sometimes be a challenge to get past preconceptions of a character.
“It’s been interesting for me to think outside my notion of the animated character we’ve all seen, as well as the fact that my character is a piece of furniture. More than any of my past roles in previous performances, this production has required my focus on building the identity of the person behind the Wardrobe, and exploring who they are and how they think,” Taylor explained.
The Westview High Theatre has recently undergone several renovations. New stage lights, sound system, and stage curtains were purchased with Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief [ESSER] funds. The upgrade allows the group to perform more technologically advanced shows and performances that require special sound and lighting.
Weakley Playhouse director and Westview teacher Martin Kane believes the additions have brought the theatre into the 21st century.
“The ESSER funds allowed us to replace obsolete equipment with modern lights and sound. Thanks to the upgrade, I’m able to teach my students skills they can apply in the growing number of careers that require knowledge of audio/visual technology. Additionally, the theatre is also better suited to host community events such as pageants or guest speakers,” said Kane.
Buchanan and Taylor know that this final performance is sure to be bittersweet for the Seniors in the Weakley Playhouse group.
Buchanan mentioned, “We all know that this is our last performance before we graduate. We’ve made such wonderful relationships with underclassmen, and we know that we’re going to have to say goodbye to them. I’m not planning to pursue a career in professional acting, but I think that what I’ve learned here will always stay with me.”
Added Taylor, “It’s helped me with memorization and recollection skills, and I just feel more comfortable talking to people. It’s definitely a kind of bittersweet farewell.”
Students involved in the production include Westview students Neela Hernandez, Bryson Boyd, Emily Kelley, Deborah Shaw, Jeremiah Britt, Matthew Moon, Atlantis Taylor, Lydia Thorsen, Kayleigh Hilt, Abbey Buchanan, Lucy Oelrich, Hayden Swaim, Thomas Brown, Samuel Butero, Mayra Chandler, Leah Craddock, Abigail Collie, Anabelle Cuello, Stanley Dean, Sydney Hurt, Lexie Jones, Emma McGregor, Bailey Meacham, Natalie Merritt, Matthew Oliver, Emily Scott, Alina Vo, Taylor Longacre (Stage Manager), and Ava Winstead (Assistant Stage Manager); Gleason High student Zowie Tipton; Greenfield High student Will Crews.
Weakley Playhouse’s “Beauty and the Beast” coincides with the Weakley County Schools Arts Festival, which will be held from 11AM til 1PM on Saturday, May 13, in the gymnasium across from Theatre at Westview High School. This year’s Disney-themed Arts Festival includes artwork and live music from students around the county, an “Upcycled: Chairs As Art” exhibit, and an awards ceremony at 1PM. Admission is free and the entire community is invited to attend.
“Beauty and the Beast” performances will be on two weekends at Westview High School in Martin – Thursday through Saturday, May 4-6 and May 11-13. All shows will be held at 7PM in the Westview Theatre. Tickets are available at the door or online by visiting weakleyplays.ludus.com/index.php. Students who attend Weakley County Schools have received a voucher to attend the performance at no cost.
(Erica Moore, Weakley County Schools Communications Director)