By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The first time Madi Zuro put on her Beauty and the Beast Belle costume earlier this year, part of her did a little dance.
“I looked at myself and thought, ‘My 5-year-old dreams are coming true,’” said Zuro, who plays one of the two leads in McNary High School’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, opening this weekend.
Show dates are Nov. 13 and 14 and 19-21 at 7 p.m. Matinees are slated both Saturdays at 1 p.m. with tea parties before the matinee performances at 11:30 a.m. Show tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and children 12 and younger. Tea party tickets are $10 for adults and $15 for children. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged at mcnarytheatre.weebly.com.
The story, for the most part, follows the Disney animated movie of the same name with a few added scenes and songs. Belle feels trapped in a provincial French town and trades her freedom for the life of her father who has been imprisoned by the titular Beast. Beast must learn to love and be loved to lift a curse placed on him many years prior. The play is brought to life with the help of an extravagant set, built by McNary students, and mind-blowing costumes courtesy of Westview High School in Portland.
McNary senior Taylor Bomar is cast as Beast but, like all of the actors, he had no idea what the show was going to be at the time he auditioned.
“I was hoping to just be part of the ensemble,” said Bomar. “I had a jaw-drop moment and then a lot of stress and worry thinking about it. I want to be as good as I can be.”
Bomar, who has participated in choirs at McNary for his entire high school career, said he expected the acting to be the tough part.
“Funnily enough, the singing part of it has been hardest. The acting just kind of came along, but I have to change how I sing. I’ve had to relearn that part of it,” he said.
Cameron Engle and Josiah Henifin portray the production’s real villians, Gaston and LeFou, respectively.
“As soon as we heard, I wanted to be Gaston. Then they posted the cast list and I was bouncing off the walls. I was super excited,” said Engle.
Henfin had the opposite reaction.
“I was terrified, I hadn’t sung in front of anyone before the audtion and now I suddenly had a whole song to perform,” Henifin said. “LeFou is just really dumb and its hard to embrace that, but you have to bring it alive onstage.”
Engle said the play has continued to get better with each rehearsal, but he has high hopes for the production that extend beyond what’s happening on stage.
“I always thought it would be cool if we could make the musical production a big community thing like football games and this show really feels like it has that potential,” he said.
Even though there will be many in the audience familiar with the story, and those who will be able to sing every verse of every song, Zuro said there is still a bit of something for everyone.
“There’s jokes the parents will get and jokes the kids will get and the whole thing is just beautiful,” she said.
Be their guest at princess tea party
The McNary High School cast and crew are hosting princess tea parties prior to both Saturday matinees of Beauty and the Beast.
“It’s a party for little kids and those young-at-heart,” said Dallas Myers, director of Celtic theatre arts.
Tea parties begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by matinee performances of the play at 1 p.m.
Four costumed characters, Belle, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Cogsworth, will be in attendance and available for photos in front of a special backdrop created especially for the event.
Juices and souvenir cookies prepared by Sweetly Baked, a local cookie company, will be served. A princess dance is also planned.
Tickets are $10 for parents and $15 for children. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged at mcnarytheatre.weebly.com.