The Ironwood Ridge High School actors took on the challenging task of performing the Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast” this spring. The challenges they had to contend with were numerous with extensive costuming, choreography, complex scenery, and musical ranges. Opening night put all those challenges to rest, and their efforts in all these categories were nothing short of stellar.
The costumes were not only whimsical, but also surprisingly mobile. It cannot be easy wearing a teapot dress with one arm constantly being held out throughout the performance, but Christina Kroell’s ability to transform herself into the loveable Mrs. Potts was a delight to watch as she effortlessly graced the stage as a charming tea pot.
Lumiere, the candlestick, was portrayed by Evan Anway with great enthusiasm. His costume was perfect down the last detail. Evan gave a comedic performance all while using a delightfully French accent. His ability to stay in character and capture our imagination was superb. His partner in crime, Cogsworth, was played by Hadley Singer. Hadley and Evan showed excellent comedic teamwork, their timing and performances were of the highest caliber.
Maurice and Babette, Belle’s father and the French feather duster, were brilliantly acted by Stuart Kieren and Elle Wheeler. What impressed me about their performances, aside from their wonderful costumes, was their ability to transport us to believe they truly were an eccentric inventor/father and a delightfully flirty French maid/feather duster. The “oo-la-la’s” were pitch perfect and the ability for both actors to not only transport us with their craft, but with their singing was like having your cake and eating it too.
The other supporting players, Brittany Brouileete, Tariq Akif, Delany Hinsberg and Melanie Kersey were all delightful in their transformation into fantasy that Disney weaves so well. The ability of being part of the a fantasy cast is very tricky and these actors gave each other the space to not only perform the individual characters, but also allowed their fellow cast mates to shine brightly as well.
What can I say about the stellar performances given by the three lead actors; Morgan DeLoach as the beautiful Belle, Keenan Odenkirk as the tortured Beast/Prince and the handsomely politically incorrect Gaston portrayed by Joshua Baca?
Ms. DeLoach’s singing was superb and her ability to become the innocent and intelligent Belle was perfection. When she wasn’t thrilling us with her vocal abilities, she was taking us along with her on Belle’s journey through well thought out and believable performance by her thespian choices. I look forward to seeing her next performance.
Keenan Odenkirk conquered the daunting task of costume changes from man to beast as well as the transformation of a spoiled Prince to an angry, scared and eventually charming beast. You only had to look around at the audience to see that his performance was a delight to watch and that the Beast had found his way into the hearts of the theater patrons.
Gaston was masterfully played by IRHS freshman Joshua Baca. Josh brought with him the experiences of playing a Disney lead from last year when he played Aladdin. His rendition of Gaston was in a word, captivating! Gaston was not only handsome and overly masculine, but Baca’s performance gave him the perfect comedic edge that blurred the line between the characters politically incorrect views of the relationship between male and female of today. Josh’s vocals were on par with that of Ms. DeLoach, both were superb in their ability to deliver memorable performances that made this patron and others anxiously waiting to see the next IRHS production.