Have you seen a human-sized cheese grater heading up I-70 recently? How about a teapot the size of a teenager? If so, you’re not losing your mind. It’s just the crew of Evergreen High School’s theater department trekking up the hill with costumes for their latest production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
“This show has the best of everything in it,” says director Fran Arniotes. “When you do Disney, you can just have fun with it. The costumes are larger than life, and the cast is phenomenal.”
This larger-than-life show consists of 50 cast members in front of the curtain, 40 people behind the scenes, more than 100 costume changes and several hundred LED roses that the audience illuminates at the end of the show when Belle’s rose lights up.
Arniotes says the EHS drama department selected the Disney show to provide some family-friendly entertainment for this year’s spring musical.
“Every couple of years, we try to choose something that will be enjoyed by all ages,” says Arniotes.
“Beauty and the Beast” definitely fits the bill, with songs that families will recognize from the Disney movie, as well as five original songs written exclusively for the musical version.
“There are some gorgeous songs that Alan Menken added. Some riffs in ‘Human Again,’ which the Enchanted Objects sing, sound like they are right out of ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ ” says Arniotes.
The Beast is played by Robert Collins. Collins, who also performs in a bluegrass band, is appearing in front of the curtain for the first time.
“Robert has been working backstage on our productions for years,” says Arniotes. “He’s just perfect for this part, and it’s fun to see him exploring a new side of theater.”
Collins is joined by another first-timer, Evan Stevens, who plays Gaston. Stevens has always been interested in directing and worked on lighting crews.
“He is big and burly with long hair, and has great instincts onstage as well. I knew from the beginning that he would be great for Gaston,” says Arniotes.
The role of Belle is being split by two actresses. Amy Levin is a senior who played Maria in last year’s production of “West Side Story.” Kellie Cox is a junior.
“Both Amy’s and Kellie’s voice were perfect for the part; we knew that we needed to give them both a chance to shine,” says Arniotes.
Some other shining stars in this production are the dedicated members of the technical crew.
“Bryson Hall and Nick Page have been spending every weekend at the school since January to create this elegant set,” Arniotes says. “Tony Rabbio, who does lights, and Mike Denny, who is doing sound, have also given so much of their time to make this a success.”
“This show has been such an amazing experience,” says Arniotes. “Everyone involved has been having so much fun. There’s even a buzz amongst the students at school about opening weekend. We’ve taken on so many theatrical challenges, like the transformation of the Beast into a man right in front of the audience’s eyes. There should be something for everyone to enjoy.”
‘Beauty and the Beast’
Presented by the Evergreen High School drama department March 13-22; Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices: adults, $10; under 14, $6; Evergreen students and staff, $6.
To reserve tickets, visit www.evergreencougars.net.
Amy Levin will play the part of Belle on March 13, 15, 21. Kellie Cox will play the part of Belle on March 14, 20, 22.