The "Beauty and the Beast" musical hits the stage in Airdrie this December, featuring the hard work of almost 70 students.
The Bert Church High School performing arts classes putting on the performance include students from grade nine to 12 who fill the roles of the cast, the live band, as well as the backstage crew.
Kevin Goodyear, Bert Church School’s drama teacher and director of “Beauty and the Beast,” said he is flabbergasted most mornings by the students.
“It’s a dream watching them perform,” he said, adding that rehearsals are flying by. “It's amazing. I'm so excited for people to actually see the show and I'm excited to see it in full costume and with all the lights and special effects and stuff like that because it’s going to be breathtaking.”
Goodyear said students typically work on a musical each year and a play in the second semester.
He explained that Disney's “Beauty and the Beast” musical was actually Walt Disney's first Broadway show in 1994 and was a take on the 1991 Disney classic movie.
“They kind of changed the landscape of Broadway, if you know your theatre history at all, it really changed how New York City does its tourist attractions and stuff like that,” Goodyear said. “The entire intention of the show in its original format was to do the movie but bring it to the stage.”
He said when people come to see the Bert Church Live Theatre show they will see the 1991 Disney Classic unfold on stage, with the only difference being that Belle has two extra songs.
For Goodyear, Beauty and the Beast was at the top of his list of musicals to direct but it took him a few years to find the courage to put on such a big show.
Goodyear said being involved in performing arts is something he always dreamed of doing.
“The more I learned about it, the more excited I got for theater,” he said. “The more theater I saw, the more I wanted to do it.”
Now, as a director, he’s been able to tick off many shows on his list.
He said he found a group of students he really trusted this year and the musical has come together nicely.
Looking back, he remembered thinking, “This is the year to pull out all the stops and do the big one. I think this is the year we do ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”
The classic story follows Belle, a spirited young woman trapped in a quaint provincial town, and the Beast - a handsome prince cursed by a mysterious enchantress.
The show includes about 12 main characters and a bunch of lively cutlery and plates, as well as villagers and other characters.
Auditions took place in June with everyone performing a monologue and a song. Then a few people were called back for specific parts in the show.
The cast list was announced just before the summer and rehearsals started the day before school started in the fall.
Goodyear said the performing arts provides an artistic output for a lot of students and is very inclusive.
The class combines everything from performing and dancing, to creating sets, art pieces, and large art installations, as well as trying what they learn in drama class out on stage in front of other people.
“It's a really great art form to bring a lot of other art forms together in a really cohesive, interesting way,” Goodyear said.
Goodyear said “Beauty and the Beast” is a family show and encouraged families to bring their children to enjoy some Disney music.
After the performance, kids get a chance to meet the Prince and Princess, take photos, and get an autograph, alongside some of the other furniture-esque cast members.
“Beauty and the Beast” runs from Dec. 7 until Dec. 9 and the show is approximately two hours long.
Tickets can be found online on the Bert Church Live Theatre website with adult tickets selling for $15 and youth or senior tickets selling for $10.