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'Beauty and the Beast' Highlights SCVST August Production

JULY 21, 2006--The beloved megamusical "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" opens Friday, Aug. 4, for seven performances at the St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre, on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

With music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashmann and Tim Rice, the musical stage version is still playing to sold-out audiences on Broadway. The show is based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature written by Menken and Ashmann, the team responsible for "Little Shop of Horrors." Lyricist Rice has written lyrics for "Aladdin," and "Aida."

"Disney's Beauty and the Beast" unfolds in a small French provincial town where the lovely Belle lives with her father, Maurice, a doddering inventor. When her father disappears after attending a local fair, Belle sets off to find him. She discovers he is being held captive by a horrible Beast in an old castle. She trades her freedom for his, and "a tale as old as time" unfolds.

How Belle tames the ill-fated Beast and his ultimate transformation into a handsome Prince is a heart-rending and poignant story for audiences of all ages, with unforgettable characters, comedy galore, and memorable songs, including "Be Our Guest," "No Matter What," "Human Again," and the title song, "Beauty and the Beast."

Director Carin Bratlie of Minneapolis makes her SCVST debut with this production. She is the artistic director of Theatre Pro Rata, Minneapolis, and has assistant directed or directed at the Guthrie Theatre, the Guthrie Lab, the Great American History Theatre and Outward Spiral Theatre.

Headlining the SCVST cast are:

Penny Reinhold (Knapp, Wis.), a UW-River Falls music major, as Belle. Active as a dancer and choreographer with the University Dance Theatre, she has been seen at SCVST in "Oliver!" and "The King And I;"  

New Richmond native Keith Carl takes the role of the Beast. He is a music and business major at UW-RF, seen earlier this season as Jinx in "Forever Plaid;"

Michael McKay (Hibbing, Minn.), featured this summer in "Forever Plaid" and "Sisters of Swing" is Gaston, the egotistical villain determined to marry Belle;

Belle's loving, eccentric father Maurice is Woody Davidson (Woodbury, Minn.), an SCVST veteran seen in productions including "Anything Goes" and "You Can't Take It With You;"

River Falls' physician and SCVST stalwart Paul McMillan takes the role of the French candelabra, Lumiere, singing the show-stopping number "Be Our Guest." McMillan has starred in many SCVST productions over the years, including Fagin in "Oliver!" and the Major General in "Pirates of Penzance;"

Tom Monn (Woodbury, Minn.) portrays Cogsworth, a tightly wound mantle clock and head of the Beast's household. In addition to appearances in several SCVST shows, Monn has been seen with The Lakeshore Players, Woodbury Community Theatre, Theatre in the Round, and the Phipps;

UW-River Falls vocal music professor Sarah Parks makes her SCVST debut as Mrs. Potts, the warm-hearted, enchanted teapot, who sings the captivating title song, "Beauty and the Beast;"

Stillwater resident Michael Adrian is Chip, an enchanted teacup and Mrs. Potts' darling little boy;

Vince Baumel (Madison, Wis.) is Monsieur D'Arque, the scheming proprietor of the local insane asylum. Earlier this summer, Baumel portrayed Smudge in "Forever Plaid" and was featured in "Sisters of Swing;"

Hudson resident Bridgette McGehee is Madame de la Grande Bouche, a former opera diva turned enchanted wardrobe. She has appeared in numerous productions at the Phipps;

Joe Burger (Menomonie, Wis.) is Lefou, Gaston's bumbling sidekick;

Kristy Reid (Waconia, Minn.) is Babette, a saucy feather duster, and the object of Lumiere's affections;

Also featured in the cast as Silly Girls longing for Gaston's affections are: Kristina Weckman (Shakopee, Minn.), Naomi Magner (River Falls) and Alyssa Syrstad (Woodbury, Minn.)

Music director Linda Ruth Short has supervised musical direction this summer for both "Forever Plaid" and "Sisters of Swing." She teaches speech communication at UW-RF, but has four decades of experience performing opera, arts songs, gospel concerts and recitals. She has a vocal performance degree from Luther College with further studies at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. Choreographer Denise Baker (Hudson) is in her fifth season with SCVST. She choreographed "Sisters of Swing" this season. Her previous credits as an SCVST choreographer include "Pirates of Penzance" and "State Fair." Scenic design is by John Dalziel, an assistant professor of theater at Alma (Michigan) College, lighting by Michael Burgoyne, costume coordination by Deb Murphy and sound design by Jason Unseth.

Ticket prices for "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" range in price from $9 to $15. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 12. A 1:30 p.m. matinee is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 6. All performances are in the Blanche Davis Theatre, Kleinpell Fine Arts Building, UW-River Falls, 420 Cascade Ave., River Falls. For information and tickets call the SCVST box office at 715-425-3114 or 800-228-5423.

PHOTOS:

Top, right : Featured cast members from "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" opening August 4 at the St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre, on the campus of UW-River Falls, include (from l to r) Tom Monn as Cogsworth, a mantle clock; Penny Reinhold as Belle; and Paul McMillan as Lumiere, a candelabra. Performances are Aug. 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. Information and tickets: 715-425-3114, or 800-228-5423.

Left: Featured cast members from "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" opening August 4 at the St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre, on the campus of UW-River Falls, include (from l to r) Tom Monn as Cogsworth, a mantle clock; Penny Reinhold as Belle; Keith Carl as The Beast; and Paul McMillan as Lumiere, a candelabra. Performances are Aug. 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. Information and tickets: 715-425-3114, or 800-228-5423.

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Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:07:30 Central Daylight Time

 

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