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Beauty and the Beast Welcomes Over 3000 Guests

Keerthi Adusumilli, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Watchung Hills’ production of Disney’s musical, Beauty and the Beast has brought new meaning to the world-renowned phrase, “Be our guest.” Over the course of four shows on March 30th and 31st at seven o’clock P.M., and April 1st at both two o’clock and seven o’clock P.M., the Watchung Hills Performing Arts Center (PAC) hosted approximately 3500 guests. Two out of the four performances were completely sold out with all 956 tickets (the maximum seating of the PAC) being purchased by eager audiences. As such, it can easily be said that Beauty and the Beast has been, if not is, one of the most successful musicals presented by the Watchung Hills Script and Cue to date.

Audiences were enraptured by the ravishing production and justifiably so. The leads of this musical, Sam Sinnott, who played the Beast, and Hannah Melillo, who played Belle, along with their immeasurably talented fellow cast members, offered a flawless rendition of a story beloved by audiences of all ages. Perhaps that is why this musical garnered so much attention from the WHRHS/local community–because it appealed to so many age groups. The Arrowhead can confirm that the seats of the PAC each day the show was performed were filled with not only high school-aged students, but entire families, the elderly, and most notably, innumerable younger children.

The Beast (mid-performance) standing by the famous rose that represents his curse.

The Script and Cue team was able to capitalize effectively on the opportunity to present a Disney musical and the broad appeal that comes with that. Indeed the team put together an event called “Breakfast with Belle,” in which all characters from the musical were there to interact with audiences and share a delicious breakfast together. A plethora of parents and children arrived, some even in costume. Indeed having the opportunity to interact with cast members and a favorite Disney princess beforehand certainly helped boost attendance for every show. With this event and a previously unmatched appeal to all audiences, Script and Cue proved that a “tale as old as time” can bring together people of all ages and backgrounds.

Yet of course, the marketability of Beauty and the Beast was not the only reason it had so much success. The actors and actresses throughout the show exhibited expertise and mastery of their roles. Each and every student fit their role perfectly, from Will Johnson as Gaston to Jacob Lesser as Lumière to Anchal Dhir as Babette. The musical and its characters were able to come to life because of the work of these students, no matter how large or small their role. Students working on stage as performers and off stage as crew members were the people responsible for the triumph of this musical. And, over the course of the four performances, it became evident how closely these individuals had worked together to make every show a grand success.

The poster created by WHRHS Computer-Aided Graphic Design Students for the musical.

Angela Muñoz, an ensemble performer, said, “The best part about being in the musical is by far the friendships you make. Everyone is a family [and] the atmosphere is so incredible. It’s just one big supportive family and I’m happy to call myself a part of that.”

Jessica Pearlstein, a backstage crew member concurred. She told The Arrowhead, “Being part of Script and Cue is likely the most stressful thing I’ve ever been a part of. But, it has allowed me to have so much fun. All of us have become so close and together we have been able to pull of the most incredible shows.”

Ultimately, Watchung Hills’ Script and Cue has been able to offer to the local community an enchanting and awe-inspiring production. The talent and hard-working nature of the students behind the production has brought the PAC immeasurable success, and has ensured audiences for years to come will want to be Script and Cue’s “guests.”

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Beauty and the Beast Welcomes Over 3000 Guests