'Beauty and the Beast' show overflows with talent, charm

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Next year, seventh- and eighth-grade public school students in Cape Girardeau will be together in the same building for the first time since 1965. This week, more than 160 seventh- and eighth-graders have been getting a jump on cooperating with another class in a production of the musical "Beauty and the Beast."

The final show will be presented at 8 tonight at the Central Junior High School cafeteria.

Director Mike Dumey has performed his annual magical act of finding adolescent singers and actors who amaze with their talent and charm.

This thoroughly enjoyable production is augmented by Mimi Higgins' stunningly inventive costume designs for the animated objects, particularly for Cogsworth the mantel clock, Lumiere the candelabra, Mrs. Potts the teapot and Chips the teacup.

The production is based on the animated movie and uses a host of narrators to move the plot along. The narrators are Nathaniel Kinsey, Anne-Marie Bernhardt, Emily Hiett, Rachel Hendricks, Emily Ponder, Sarah Schneider, Carly Trautwein, Cole Earley and Rebekah Pfanstiel.

Sarah Goeke sparkles in the role of Belle, the heroine who sacrifices herself to life at the Beast's castle for her father's sake. Goeke's singing voice is lovely, her readings note perfect.

Rashad Fambro makes an imposing, gruff-voiced Beast who is transformed by love into a handsome prince.

However, the scene stealers are in the dining room: Kasper Woldtvedt as Cogsworth, Catherine Moreton as Lumiere, Cara Mueller as Mrs. Potts and Taylor McMillan as Chip. These students have overcome any shyness about being on-stage, and their foreign accents make everything they say twice as funny.

Their big production number, "Be Our Guest," is worth seeing all by itself.

Blake Russell as Gaston, Belle's arrogant suitor, is another whose outgoing personality suits the stage.

Other notable performances are by Alex Bettinger as Belle's father, Maurice, by Robert Weir as Philippe the horse, and by Clayton Hill as Gaston's crony Lefou.

Others with smaller parts are Meredith Busch as the enchantress, Malcolm Boyce as the baker, Mason Loy as the bookseller, Abbi Sims as the wardrobe, Paige Pritchard as the stove, Beth Gile as the footstool and Stephen Gilhaus as D'Arque.

Other students play spoons, forks, saucers feather dusters, napkins, salt and pepper, magic dust, wolves and villagers. They include: Emily Amos, Stephanie Buttelwerth, Deborah Curry, Nicole Jackson, Sean Braxton, Alex Kies, Billie Rhinehart, Emily Lurker, Holly McMurry, Kasey Seib, Nick Summary, Brittney Davis, Amber White and Mernetta Parchman.

Others are: Amanda Nabors, Megan Leus, Angela Kinnison, Natalie Gentry, Kimberly Hill Cara McElmurry, Rachel Burnett, Callie Hoffman, Carly Trautwein, Ashley Callis, Kristin Demyan, Kim Keltie, Emma Porter, Nicole Sanders, Emily Viers, Kristin Ford, Alecia King, Abby Pratt and Sarah Ressel.

Others are: Anne-Marie Bernhardt, Lindsey Greene, Courtney Schuessler, Brittany Bollinger, Meredith Busch, Betsy Schroeder, Emily Williams, Emily Hiett, Brittany Annis, Megan Wright, Brittany Friedrich, Samantha Ridings, Emily Williams Betsy Schroeder, Kingsley Ehie, Richard Price and Kyle Madden.

Others are: Malcolm Boyce, Chelsey Collins, Danitra DeMolle, Scott Dunaway, Diana Etzold, Morgan Feuerhahn, Laura Frayser, Brittany Holter, Kate Harkey, Brittany Hiett, Megan Kays, Maggie Limbaugh, Josephine Loya, Amy McClanahan, Heather Madden, Kaitlen Ritter, Chelsea Sellers, Ida Shafaie, Brittne Stovall, Alex Voerg, Diana Wehner, Stephanie Wehner, Ashley White, Linnea Woldtvedt and Susan Zimmer..

Others are: Lance Altenthal, Kayla Auer, Jill Blattner, Ty Craft, Jami Dement, Hailey Fuller, Megan Green, Dani Gross, Brooke Huber, Cori Jackson, Lex Juden, Lydia Pratt, Tara Raddle, Amanda Radford, David Ray, Tricia Roth, Monica Toole, Julianna West, Landry Westrich, Sarah White, Ashley Barber and Nicole Bagby.

The production was choreographed by Lorrin Lynn, assisted by Susan Zimmer. The set, which runs the width of the cafeteria, with its stained-glass windows was built by Gundar Woldtvedt and Ralph Dumey.

sblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, ext. 182

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