With “Beauty and the Beast’s” success on Broadway and the cinematic release earlier this year, it only made sense for Riverlight Theatre Arts to choose the fairy tale for its summer performance. It also helped to have the guidance of musical director Sean Pallatroni, who worked on the original Broadway show.
There will be two performances of the play on Friday, at 5:30 and 7 p.m. in the Cornwall Middle School auditorium.
The program, which caters to students ages 6 to 16, is funded by the Cornwall Middle School PTO. This summer’s show will see 35 performers grace the stage, a larger number than in years past.
Auditions were held a few months ago, and the performers had to be completely off-book by the time two-week rehearsals started on July 10.
“It’s tough,” creative director and producer Livi Perrone said of trying to put on a show in two weeks. “Our kids are incredibly talented and really well prepared. We’re lucky to have staff members who are all seasoned performers themselves. It’s amazing how kids pick up and retain information so fast and so well. We wouldn’t be able to do it without the team we have.”
One of the highlights of the show will be the costumes. Kids will be dressed as candlesticks, a tea pot, clock, and more.
“Having enchanted objects as a concept is so interesting,” Perrone said. “The way adults do it is they get these big bulky outfits and they can sort of maneuver. With kids, they have to act through the costumes. They use them as props and to accentuate their performances.”
One of the challenges for the kids was learning how to move about the stage as one of the enchanted objects.
Perrone notes Riverside Theatre Arts has a 70 percent return rate, so those featured in prominent roles started with smaller roles years ago. Among those who have worked their way up the ladder are Kayla Hughes (narrator), Alex Raposo (Belle), Harrison Kulic (beast), and Quinn Andrews (Cogsworth).
Unlike in previous years, there will be two shows to accommodate large audiences. Despite the short window between productions, Perrone isn’t worried about the kids being exhausted. She said it’s natural to still feel an adrenaline rush after the first show and wanted to give the kids the opportunity to put that energy to good use.
Tickets for the show will be available at the door.
Babette: Maggie Diaz
Baker: Stella Reyes
Beast: Harrison Kulic
Belle: Alex Raposo
Bookseller: Olivia Reiss
Chip: Leah Boucher
Cogsworth: Quinn Andrews
Gaston: Matthew Graves
Lefou: Lucas Russo
Lumiere: Ariel Yarmus
Madame de la Grande Bouche: Emma Blacksmith
Maurice: Jacob Ciriello
Monsieur d’Arque: Zach Stach
Mrs. Potts: Patty Pettus
Narrator #1: Kayla Hughes
Narrator #2: Grace Leake
Narrator #3: Greta Grossmann
Narrator #4: Josie Kilgore
Enchantress/old beggar woman: Alexandra Amatuli
Silly girl #1: Ceci Diaz
Silly girl #2: Carson McLendon
Silly girl #3: Taylor Moreno
Silly girl #4: Daniela Piazza
Silly girl #5: Penny Kulic
Villager ensemble: Taylan Salisbury, Erin Farmer, Evyn Lovell, Lea Patak, Stella Reyes, Olivia Reiss, Matthew Graves, Lucas Russo, Zach Stach, Jacob Ciriello, Ceci Diaz, Carson McLendon, Taylor Moreno, Daniela Piazza, Penny Kulic, Savannah Jerdon, Tina Raia, Macie Stermer.
Enchanted ensemble: Kinsley Foley, Callie Laudato, Hannah Shuttinger, Zoe Patak, Maggie Diaz, Leah Boucher, Quinn Andrews, Ariel Yarmus, Emma Blacksmith, Patty Pettus, Kayla Hughes, Grace Leake, Greta Grossman, Josie Kilgore, Alexandra Amatuli.