By ERIN SANSON
Carlinville High School invited the community to be their guest as they put on a tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast. Taking on a beloved classic was no doubt a daunting task which required a lot of hard work, though the Carlinville production made it seem effortless on Friday and Saturday night.
The cast was in fine, if not necessarily true, form for (most of) the production. Senior Jacob Petrovich played the titular Beast with Amelia Cosenza filling the Beauty title role as Belle. Michael Schmidt played Gaston with Patrick Dunn playing as his sidekick Lefou. Gabriel Henson played Maurice, Belle’s inventor father. Aaron Wills played Monsieur D’Arque, who schemes with Gaston to get Maurice locked away unless Belle marries Gaston. The trio of girls pining after Gaston were played by Megan Dunn, Claire Behme, and Emily Barbre.
Colin Kreipe played Lumiere with Eli Ratcliff as Cogsworth and Lauren Summers as Mrs. Potts. The three seniors brought their enchanted, inanimate characters to life with their energy and banter.
Other castle characters, who were no less enchanted or enchanting include Madame De La Grande Bouche played by Chloe Velasquez, Babette played by Mia Verticchio, and Mrs. Potts’ teacup son, Chip, played by Charlie Behme.
The castle characters and ensemble sang an energetic rendition of “Be Our Guest” much to the audiences delight. Summers stunned in the second act with her solo of the title song, Beauty and the Beast.
Schmidt, Dunn and the ensemble cast, as townspeople, gave a lively performance of “Gaston” which also seemed to be a crowd-pleaser.
Petrovich, as the Beast sang in a lower register to keep the growling tone the Beast speaks in. His performance, both as the Beast and the transformed Prince, was met by applause after each song and cheers from the crowd at the end of the show.
Cosenza had the most songs to learn for her role, being featured or soloing in seven songs. She also wowed the crowd, hitting high notes and holding notes for extended lengths of time.
As always, the ensemble put forth an amazing effort, learning multiple songs, dances, and at times taking on the role of the stage crew to move set pieces between scenes.
The orchestra learned every song and learned them well, keeping the music in the musical.
The show was directed by Michael Morrison, this was his second show as the sole Director. The director’s chair was previously filled and then shared with Lori Reiher, who has taken a step back from the productions in recent years. Reiher could not leave the stage completely behind and acted as the Assistant Stage Manager in this years production. Dayse Velasquez was in charge as the Stage Manager, keeping stage left in line.
The show was choreographed by Jessica Ryan, whose grandmother, Ann Reichmann, began the musical program at CHS in 1980.
Ryan Pirok directed the orchestra, which included his own high school band students as well as some community members.
Dustin White pitched in as the vocal director and accompanist. Katherine Starr, a CHS musical alum, was brought on as an assistant vocal director.
CHS art teacher Dawn Peterson and her art students worked to design and decorate the set. Set construction was completed by a team led by Von Leefers.
This was the first show since Freaky Friday in 2019 that went on as regularly scheduled. The show for 2020, The Addams Family, was cancelled just before opening night due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Addams Family was finally allowed to open in June of 2021 after the year long hiatus.
This year’s high school musical was performed in the Carlinville High School gym on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19. Both shows started at 7 p.m. and had a two hour run time.
In the ensemble was Juliann Amos, Avery Boatman, Madyson Buck, Alyssa Carriker, Raegan Carter, Amaya Emery, Arian Ewing, Carlos Garcia, Emily Gerl, Clara Gray, Adelle Hammann, Dakota Hearn, Adelynn Hunt, Gbriella Lopez, Carter Lowrance, Lillian McCurley, Shelbie Parnell, Grace Pigott, Cali Powell, Mikayla Rodgers, Jessica strubbe, Michaela Utter and Grace Wickert.
Stage crew was Alex Behme, Morgan Broaddus, Kyle Carriker,Tomas Cottingham, Jacob Hamel, Ryan Koster, Paul Lewis, Maddie Lowrance, Jessi Michael, Alexis Norwood, Kendall Rice, Blaize Rovey, Alex Scott, Haley Summers and Lana Totsch.
In the pit orchestra was Sam Alender, Zach Ashby, Steph Beatty, Marie Brown, Caitin Corradini, Paige Doyle, Jay Drury, Gary Gardner, Bella Hanner, Brian Lotter, Abby Meyers, Melanie Murphy, Zander Poe, Sheri Steward, Duston Suits, Hayden Truax, Lanna Vanderpoel, Jacob ury, Angela Wilkerson, Charlie Wilson and Sam Wilson.