There’s a candlestick over there who’s flicking his candles on and off, to the oohs and ahhs of his friends. A flirtatious feather duster is batting her eyes. And there are two teapots chattering with a couple of cups.
Welcome to Brewster High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” the Alan Menken/Howard Ashman/Tim Rice musical that was the first of the Disney musicals to make it to Broadway. It runs for five performances this week at the school on Foggintown Road.
The cast seems to be taking to the enchanted world easily. It doesn’t hurt that the video was played over and over again in their homes in their formative years.
Says Mara Goldberg, the senior who plays Belle, the “beauty” of the title: “It was always my favorite Disney movie and she was always my favorite princess, so I’ll just think of what she did in the movie and I become her.
“I want to make sure I’m like Belle in the movie, so that all the little girls believe I’m Belle,” says Goldberg, in her first starring role.
Her counterpart, Peter Esser as the beast, will be hidden for much of the show beneath a series of wigs and prosthetic makeup pieces that will render him positively beastly. He says the challenge of the role is finding moments to show the emerging tenderness in a character the audience first encounters as a snarling bad guy.
Another character, Gaston, undergoes the inverse reversal, says Christopher Motta, the senior who plays him.
“In Act 1, there’s a real comedic feel to Gaston,” he says, “but in Act 2, when he’s not getting what he wants, he gets very dark and sinister.”
The beast’s castle is full of enchanted creatures, too
Mrs. Potts, played alternately by Stephanie Rubino and Stephanie Sands, sings the title tune, which won the best-song Oscar in 1991.
“I like it because it tells the story,” says Rubino. “It’s not one of those songs ‘Oh, I’m expressing what I’m feeling right now.’ It’s a selfless song and it’s the character not talking about herself or how she feels, but about this beautiful story that’s going on right next to her.”
Sands says director Andrea Perdicho told the cast that their work “has to be the ideal,” because the audience has high expectations.
Chris Santoriello, a senior, plays Lumiere, the candlestick comedian who sings “Be Our Guest,” the song that welcomes Belle to the enchanted castle. He speaks an outrageous French accent he mastered studying French for years and summering in France last year.
“The accent comes pretty naturally, but it’s more exaggerated than a normal French accent,” he says.
Melody Compo plays Babette, a French maid who is transformed into a coquettish feather duster and tangoes with Lumiere.
H.H. Wells middle-schoolers Liam Lonegan and Nick Santamaria share the role of Chip, Mrs. Potts’ porcelain baby. Both say acting alongside the high-schoolers has been “cool” and that they’ve been welcomed into the family.
Then there’s Courtney LePere, a junior who plays Madame de la Grande Bouche, a wardrobe with an attitude. She says she can’t ever recall playing a piece of enchanted furniture before.
This will be a first.
Photo by Dave Kennedy/The Journal News: Mara Goldberg and Peter Esser work on their dance routine for “Beauty and the Beast” at Brewster High School.
“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”
Where: Brewster High, 50 Foggintown Road. When: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Call: 845-279-5051, ext. 329
With: Anna Alcott, Emily Alcott, Joe Andrade, Joanne Archibald, Victoria Arturi, Eileen Austin, Greg Austin, Joe Beahm, Jon Becker, Rebecca Bergemann, Molly Black, Victoria Blazquez, Rose Bisogno, Alex Bollella, Anthony Bollella, Eric Brundage, Jen Brundage, Briana Buckler, Jinny Cai, Sofia Cataldo, Tom Caterina, Mike Cavelieri, Fiona Chalmers, Melody Compo, Dan Chamberlain, Will Chin, Joey Cooke, Caitlin Cronin, Cole Crozier, Jackson Daley, Tom Dan, Forest Decoste, Ariel DeDominico, Caitlyn Dewitt, Jessica Disraeli, Danielle Duncan, Nick Eminizer, Kenny Ermann, Peter Esser, Andre Faivre, Genevieve Faivre, Eric Ficinus, Kelly Fitzgibbons, Charrise Fontnel, Kelly Frisch, Abbey Gallagher, Julia Garber, Katie Giacalone, Mara Goldberg, Richie Grasso, Nick Hadad, Megan Hamilton, Zack Handler, Rebecca Harris, Stephanie Hernandez, Lauren Holland, Ann Howell, James Hussey, Jackie Jakaj, Marina Jeraci, Katie Keane, Courtney Kelly, Dotty Klein, Meagan Lander, Megan Lander, Michele LaRusso, Nicole LaRusso, Anne Latini, Sarah Lenhart, Courtney LePere, Corrine LePere, Mike LePere, Liam Lonegan, June Lopez, Mark Lucas, Chris Martorell, Alex McIe, Karina McKitrick, Ryan McLoughlin, Katy Milano, Oliver Mok, Chris Motta, Taylor Muentener, Lisa Muraco, Katie McMurray, Ed Newman, Karen Nicoletti, Amanda Orgoch, Vaishali Parkash, Dave Partelow, Chanel Perez, Alex Peterson, Jeremy Phillips, Justin Pizzani, Brad Postian, Chris Postian, Nicole Prezanno, Alicia Radak, Jake Ramirez, Melissa Ridenour, Brenna Roche, Samantha Roche, Allyse Rosen, Dalton Rosenfeld, Stephanie Rubino, Alex Ruyack, Stephanie Sands, Nick Santamaria, Chris Santoriello, Alex Sanyshyn, Brian Sanyshyn, Joe Simko, John Simone, Rachel Singali, Marc Skolnick, Eddie Smith, Collin Speed, Ashley Staib, Nina Stark, Janene Starr, Jessica Stein, Ricky Tarr, Clare Tascio, Jim Thoensen, Christina Tobitsh, Mike Torissi, Amanda Tozzi, Lauren Valerio, Alex Venuti, Nicole Werdal, Sam West, David Williamson, Danielle Yarusso, Jaclyn Yarusso, Liz York.