It’s going to be quite a spectacle. Students at Woodhull Intermediate School and Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School are collaborating on what’s being billed as a spectacular drama club production. Beauty and the Beast, Jr. is already producing a run on the proverbial box office.
The show will be co-directed by teachers Allison Von Vange and Todd Hiscox. Huntington High School senior Alyssa Befumo is the student director. The teenager has been assisting with the annual play for the past six years after performing in drama club productions throughout her years as a Woodhull student.
“Beauty and the Beast is such a beautiful musical that allows for so much creative involvement,” Mr. Hiscox said. “I can’t wait to see how all the efforts put forward for this production come together. We are just so proud of everyone’s hard work.”
Huntington freshman Sarah Biernacki is also volunteering her time, working with the show directors so she will be set to assume student directing duties from Ms. Befumo when she graduates in June and heads off to college.
There are more than 150 students from the two schools involved in this year’s play. “The students from both schools have worked extremely hard these past five months to bring this play together,” Ms. Von Vange said. “Not only do Woodhull and STEM get to work together, but we also are making friends along the way.”
The process began with auditions, which led to students being placed in specific roles. One the cast was set, rehearsals began.
Ms. Von Vange provided a synopsis for the musical: “One night, an old beggar woman goes to the princess castle and offers him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold,” she explained. “The prince rejects the rose because of how ugly the woman appears to be. The old woman was actually an enchantress and saw that there was no love in his heart. As punishment, she placed a powerful spell on the castle and all who lived there. The handsome prince has now been transformed into a hideous beast and the only way to break the spell is by him needing to learn to love and earn his in return.”
The cast and crew is pumped up about the musical. Fifth grader Sofia Rodriguez who plays the part of Lumiere said “the play is very fun and it’s exciting to take part in it and know that it will be a huge success.”
Students have thoroughly enjoyed rehearsals and all the prep work that goes into pulling a show together. “This has been a great experience and I have made new friends along the way,” said fifth grader Nicholas Plachta, who plays the part of the Beast.
Keeping everyone on task keeps Ms. Von Vange and Mr. Hiscox busy. “I love being in the play,” said fifth grader Josephine Sullivan who plays the part of Belle. “It is so much fun and everyone is so amazing and nice.”
Shows are set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 1-3 in the Woodhull Intermediate School gym/auditorium. “We are sold out for Saturday’s show and almost sold out on Thursday and Friday,” Ms. Von Vange said. Send her an email ([email protected]) if you want to reserve tickets to Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. performance or the one scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.
There have been plenty of humorous episodes during rehearsals for the play, but that’s a story for another time.