Stony Point Players to present Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ June 26-28
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles City’s own Stony Point Players intend to tell “a tale as old as time.”
The local community theater group announced to its members Tuesday night that it will be presenting Disney’s stage version of “Beauty and the Beast” as its musical production this summer.
“Yes, the rumors are true, we will be doing ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” said Michelle Grob, president of the Stony Point Players.
The dates of the production will be Friday through Sunday, June 26-28, with evening performances on Friday and Saturday and an afternoon matinee on Sunday. The venue will be North Grand Auditorium in Charles City.
Grob will direct the show, with Derek Sturtevant returning as musical director. The two directed Stony Point’s production “The Wizard of Oz” in 2018 and Sturtevant assisted director Janeice Bergland last summer in Stony Point’s production of “Spamalot.”
Grob and Sturtevant also co-directed Charles City High School’s musical productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Cinderella” and “The Addams Family” over the last three years.
“It’s one of the musicals Derek has wanted to do,” Grob said. “We knew this year was going to be a show that would include kids, and be a show that families and children would want to attend.”
Grob said the Stony Point Players board decided to alternate between family-friendly and more adult-oriented productions.
“One year we like to have a show that is geared to include children as well as appeal to children and families, and we had that with “The Wizard of Oz,” she said. “Then, the next year, we want something a little more for an adult audience, and “Spamalot” was good for that.”
This summer’s play choice was announced Tuesday evening at the Stony Point Players Reception at the Elks Lodge in Charles City. The event — which the Players hope to make annual — was to thank all those who volunteer time, reflect on what was accomplished in the last year, and announce upcoming events to the community theater group. It was a part of Stony Point’s annual board meeting.
“As we got to thinking about possible cast and costuming and so forth, it seemed like it would be a great show for the community, and also one that would bring in a lot of revenue for Stony Point, as we continue to get our legs back underneath us,” Grob said. “It’s such a popular show, we believe we’ll have great response from the community.”
The 2020 summer musical will be the third straight year the Stony Point Players have put on a show at North Grand Auditorium. The 2018 presentation of “The Wizard of Oz” was the first production by the Stony Point Players in more than five years.
The local community theater group first began performances in the 1960s. Named for Stony Point Road — the location of a barn where the group performed in 1968 — the Stony Point Players performed in a small auditorium above First Security Bank before the 1968 tornado.
For the better part of four decades, the players were an important facet of the community’s culture, and performed two or more shows a year at various venues throughout town.
“Beauty and the Beast” is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and the book by Linda Woolverton. It tells the story of a cold-blooded prince who has been magically transformed into an unsightly creature as punishment for his selfish ways.
The musical is based on the 1991 animated Disney film, which was adapted from the French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Disney’s version of the stage play has grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and played in 13 countries and 115 cities.
The premise is “a tale as old as time” — in order to revert to his true human form, the Beast must first learn to love a bright, beautiful young woman whom he has imprisoned in his enchanted castle before it is too late.
The main character is Belle, a beautiful book-lover, who encounters the Beast when she arrives at his castle to plead for her father’s freedom, ultimately trading her own freedom for his. As tension over her imprisonment escalates in the town, spurred by Gaston — the selfish lover who seeks Belle’s hand in marriage — the relationship between Belle and the Beast grows, leading to an emotional and transformative conflict.
Grob said that auditions will be in April, and that interested actors should watch for announcements regarding the details. The production will need actors of all ages, and Grob said the parts can be filled by college-aged and high school students in lead roles, all the way up to some of the middle-aged and even some of the well-seasoned, elderly actors in the community.
“We really are hoping to fill most of the lead roles with adults in the community,” Grob said. “Of course there are huge chorus numbers, where we can utilize some middle school kids, and we’re hoping for some young kids as well. We’ll be looking toward extending to third and fourth graders, as we did in Wizard of Oz with our Munchkins.”
As always, Grob said the players will be looking for help behind the scenes as well as on stage.
“We will be looking for costume designers. We have a great costume designer in Sandy Peterson, but she will need help,” Grob said. “Obviously we will need set painters and set builders, people to run lights and sound, and Derek will be looking for people to fill the pit orchestra.”