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Thomas S. Wootton High School Beauty and the Beast

By • Mar 23rd, 2009 • Category: Cappies

“If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it!” says Cogsworth, the diligent and tightly wound mantle clock of Thomas S. Wootton High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast. And why should they fix it? Thomas S. Wootton’s production was simply delightful. It met and exceeded some very high expectations.

The stage version of Beauty and the Beast was meant to reflect all of the special effects and magic of the movie. Along with the special effects, seven additional songs were added, then upon review the last and final song being “A Change in Me” became the eighth new addition to Beauty and the Beast. The stage version also allows for bigger roles in some cases such as Babette and Madame de la Grande Bouche. With all this on their plates the students of Thomas S. Wootton High School not only delivered they left their audience terribly satisfied and heartbroken when it came to a close.

The development of relationships is key to Beauty and the Best, and the students of Thomas S. Wootton High School were spot on. From Belle (Jessica Futran) and Gaston (Jonathan Helwig) to Lumiere (Mattia D’Affuso) and Cogsworth (Fasil Gebeyehu) every single one of them was working and playing off of each other wonderfully. Specifically the work between D’Affuso and Gebeyehu. They built off of each other brilliantly. They had outstanding comedic timing with one another and lived every moment they were onstage. They were so clear with their delivery and their fight to be human again, that by the end it was lovely to not only see it but share the transformation.

Wootton’s Pit Orchestra carried the show and helped us all enjoy the songs we grew up to love. Such as “Be Our Guest,” “Gaston,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Their soloists captured the mood and tone of the songs. Alto Saxophonists Kevin Goldberg and Andrew Landau are a perfect example.

Alongside Wootton’s Pit Orchestra were the vocals of Belle (Jessica Futran), Gaston (Jonathan Helwig), Lumiere (Mattia D’Afusso) the Beast (Aaron Gage) and many others who delivered as well. Everyone carried their weight vocally but Futran’s vocals were off the charts. She was not only technically sound, but the tonality of her voice was hair raising. She felt every lyric and wasn’t afraid of her voice when songs demanded a darker tone. Her ability to put her all into each and every one of her songs (and there were many) was impeccable time and time again.

Smaller parts such as LeFou (Bryan Pike), and Babette (Lauren Fagan) rooted the contrast of the show and were luminous in their delivery. Notable and memorable cameos Jesse Cheever (The Rug), Elizabeth Luu (Saltshaker), Jack Stonesifer (Baker) and the Silly Girls (Suzy Bobadilla, Jenay McNeil, and Ceecee Yao) were sharp as well.

The energy required to fuel this show is ridiculously demanding in all aspects, with the acting, vocals, and physicality. Even with their large ensemble, with roughly 50-60 people, they were magnificent. There was never a dull or even dead moment. There was always someone to look at and they were always alive. They kept the energy up and even with technical hiccups they kept the pace.

Beauty and the Beast performed by the artists of Thomas S. Wootton High School was exciting and dynamic topped with wonderful character work laced throughout the cast, made it the show to see!

by Aleca Piper of Duke Ellington School of the Arts

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