Grace Christian School decided that COVID19 wasn’t going to have the final say when it came to their annual spring musical! Under the direction of Mr. Atwood and Mrs. Steck, production work for Beauty and the Beast first began in November of 2019 with the performance scheduled for the spring of 2020. After months of practice and just hours after finishing construction of an extension for the stage in the sanctuary, Gov. Wolf closed all schools in the state due to Covid19. The show had to be indefinitely suspended.
As the 2020-21 school year approached, there was still much uncertainty about the production. In June 2020, Music Theatre International (MTI) and Disney announced a change in production rights allowing schools to pre-record their productions for streaming on a platform licensed by Disney and MTI. Work began in August 2020 on filming the production like a movie with only a few necessary changes in the cast.
When asked about her experience with B&B as a movie, Jadyn Adams, who played Gaston, said, “Turning Beauty and the Beast into a movie has been interesting. A stage play has props that you can interact with. In a movie, I can interact with the green screen. [For] example, I can safely fall off a roof with the green screen. Also, we can film at different locations to make the movie look more realistic.”
Other students also expressed positive experiences in playing their characters. Eli Conaway, who played LeFou, commented, “I think the play is really fun because I get to do a lot of physical comedy! I thought it was funny when during the Gaston song Jadyn punches me in the face!”
Brendon Steck, who played Lumiere, also liked the physical aspect of his acting. “It is really fun to act in a play/movie. I love my character and the way I have to present his emotions. Since no one can see my face, I have to show all of the emotion through body language and speech.”
This was a challenging endeavor, so of course, it came with stops, starts, and bumps along the way. After several production delays, filming finally began in March 2021 and will wrap in May. Beauty and the Beast will debut later this summer, and DVDs will be available in the fall. With so many possibilities with special effects, sound editing, and filming on location, everyone is excited to see the end result!