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‘Beauty and the Beast’ canceled, Stony Point Players consider alternative summer show

‘Beauty and the Beast’ canceled, Stony Point Players consider alternative summer show
Cast members rehearse the Stony Point Players 2019 summer production of Spamalot. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob,

The Stony Point Players will wait at least one more year to tell the “tale as old as time.”

The Charles City area theater group announced on Monday that it has canceled plans to present its summer production of “Beauty and the Beast,” due to the COVID-19 situation.

“We don’t really know where we would be, in the sense of how many people can be together,” said Stony Point Player President Michelle Grob. “There are just too many unknowns to put that much work into something that has a very high likelihood of not happening.”

‘Beauty and the Beast’ canceled, Stony Point Players consider alternative summer show
(Disney promotional artwork)

Grob said that a musical as elaborate as “Beauty and the Beast” doesn’t leave much room for doubt. She said the theater group is considering putting together an alternative show that would have less preparation time.

“We know that right now restrictions are lessening a little bit, but in order to do a musical, you have to be able to have more than 10 people together, you have to be in close proximity to each other,” she said. “Even something as basic as trying to schedule auditions to assemble a cast is difficult when you can’t have everyone in the same room at the same time.”

Grob said that in order to have the show by August, sets and costumes would likely have to be getting ready by the end of this month, and “Beauty and the Beast” is a show with more elaborate costume and staging requirements than most shows.

“Even though we feel very strongly that, come August, we might be able to have a show, we would have to be practicing and getting ready for it in June at the latest,” Grob said. “We really don’t want to go with no production at all this year, but we have to be realistic and look out for our actors and our crew members and think about what is best for them and their families.”

Grob was set to direct the show, along with musical director Derek Sturtevant. They are tentatively still planning on putting on the show sometime, perhaps in the summer of 2021.

“We are looking at some other options for some sort of live performance,” Grob said, regarding this summer. “We have some ideas of perhaps putting on a collection of short plays or vignettes, where people could rehearse apart from each other until the time when it’s safe to get together.”

Grob said that such a production would cut preparation time by more than a month and would allow more flexibility with cast members. She said the Players were also considering filming the production and then releasing it online, if crowds are still not allowed in August.

Grob said that more information will be coming from the Stony Point Players by early June. She said the Stony Point Players hope to be a part of the community’s return to normalcy once the COVID-19 situation subsides.

The Charles City area will be looking for uplifting activities to support and participate in, and Grob said the Players are hopeful they can be a part of that.

“Check our Facebook page, check the Charles City Press, and check KCHA radio,” Grob said. “We’ll be making announcements in all of those places.”