YHS Beauty and the Beast musical opens April 23

mvoorhis@sierrastar.comApril 15, 2014 

The Yosemite High School Fine Arts Department will present the iconic Disney inspired musical, Beauty and the Beast, for the mountain community beginning April 23 at the Yosemite High Theater.

This musical adaptation of the 1991 animated film will be performed by 30 YHS students and backed by a 12-piece orchestra composed of members of the YHS Wind Ensemble and Oakhurst Community Band.

The well-known story follows a young woman, Belle, who doesn't fit into her small town. She looks for her father, who is lost in the woods, and finds an enchanted castle. The castle is inhabited by a Beast who's fallen under a curse and must learn to love to break the spell. Belle meets a host of enchanted objects and struggles against the angry Beast. Both Belle and the Beast must learn important lessons about love, friendship and forgiveness before they can learn to love each other.

The school's production features seniors Kailyn Hammerling as Belle, Edward Nixon as the Beast, Ben Hartesveldt as the conceited Gaston, Dillan Masai as Lumiere, Lance Litton as Cogsworth, Jacob Caldwell as LeFou and Junior Jocelyn Boe as Mrs. Potts. All the performers are students from the Advanced Theater Arts and the Chamber Singers classes.

"This was my favorite fairy tale as a child. It's so exciting to play Belle," Hammerling said. "I love the concept of loving someone despite his outward appearance."

Masai called the production an awesome play and was grateful for the opportunity. "I'm glad Thorson gave us a big challenge for our last year here — challenging because it's such a big cast and there are complicated songs."

The musical is directed by YHS Fine Arts Department Chair Lars Thorson.

"It follows the same story as the Disney movie and has all of the popular songs, but it also has a couple of new songs," Thorson said. "The musical opened on Broadway in 1994 and has become a very popular show for high schools to perform. It's an enormous challenge, and I couldn't do it without the help of Musical Director Randy Hyatt, and our vocal coach and pianist Jackie Byars."

Senior Shelby Pisel, 17, also helped as part of her senior project. Pisel, who has been dancing since she was four, choreographed the production.

"It was a lot of fun, but took a lot of patience," Pisel admitted. "It's such a big show and there are only two or three in the cast who have any dance experience, but we're coming together nicely and I'm really happy with it."

"This is our biggest production yet," Thorson explained. "It's our most expensive, has the most number of sets, and the biggest orchestra we've used. I hope the mountain community will bring the whole family out to enjoy the magic of Disney."

Beauty and the Beast will run April 23, 24, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m., with a matinee performance at 1 p.m. on April 26. The afternoon performance is a children's matinee, and following the show, the cast will come out in costume and talk with audience members.

Pre-sale tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students, seniors and children. They are available from any cast member or at the YHS Student Store. Tickets will also be available at the door for $10 for adults and $8 for students, seniors and children.

Show information: Theater Arts, (559) 683-4667 ext 256; Student Store, (559) 683-4667 ext 324.

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