Tale as old as time: PMHS Theater presents Beauty and the Beast

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It’s a tale as old as time, but the Picayune Memorial High School Theater Department, High Tide Productions, is adding an extra pinch of magic to its rendition of the classic Beauty and the Beast, which will be the troupe’s final performance of the year.

While the story may be quite familiar, the personalities of the cast add a new level of familiarity to the sometimes comedic performance.

With the quiet cleverness of Le Fou, played by Ty Spriggs, and the defiant mischief of Lumiere, played by Jesus Rodriguez, the classic movie translates effortlessly on stage.

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Despite the hype about the newest live-action Disney movie, Picayune Drama Teacher and Director William Rester said he’s not sure if he knew about the movie when he chose the play.

“We always try to do a good musical every couple of years and Disney shows are really popular,” he said.

Yet, by choosing such a popular story, Rester said meeting the audience’s expectations is more difficult.

“It’s a fun challenge with [musicals], to make them as special and as magical as you possibly can,” he said.

The excitement the students display on stage is clear, having the opportunity to perform such a show gives them a chance to demonstrate to their parents and friends the extent of their theatrical repertoire.

Only a few of the department’s members are preparing for graduation later this month, Rester said.

Two of those students are hoping to continue their work in fine arts after graduation, Shelby Sheffield and Courtney Borchert, he said.

For his last performance at PMHS, Sheffield is playing the Beast, a role Rester said is a little bit outside of Sheffield’s wheelhouse. Sheffield always tries to analyze the characters he plays and put his own stamp on them, something that’s harder to do with such a well-known role.

Borchert is playing the lead silly girl, one of the villagers that loves to dote on Gaston, played by Cole Arthur, despite his “affection” for Belle, played by Emily Arthur.

Rester said Borchet is especially talented in the artistic side of production, including costume and set design.

Because it is the last performance of the year, Rester said he decided to use the extra funds in the department’s budget to rent costumes from New York, a detail that makes the show that much more professional.

The cast for this weekend’s performance also includes: Samantha Burkett as Narrator 1, Destiny Wheat as Narrator 2, Vanessa Barajas as Narrator 3, Hannah Barkley as Narrator 4, Jack Capell as Maurice, Rene McCraney as Silly Girl 2, Trinity Blades as Silly Girl 3, Katherine Ledford as Cogsworth, Emily Victory as Mrs. Potts, Brooke Watkins as Chip, Olivia Crump as Madame De La Grande Bouche, Isabelle Shoemake as Babette, Annika Sanders as Enchantress/Beggar Woman, Jacob Mitchell as Monsieur D’Arque, and Lizzie Barrois, Cody Butler, Austin Eisler, Jean Overby and Ashley Roe as Villagers/Servants.

The PMHS Theater Department is inviting everyone to be their guest for the night, with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. in the Picayune Auditorium.

Tickets are $5 per person.

Friday night, the cast will be available at 6 p.m. for pictures. Parents are invited to bring their aspiring princes and princesses to take pictures with the cast, or as a family, with some of the stage props.

More photos are available on the Picayune Item Facebook page.

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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