North Grenville District High School (NGDHS) are gearing up for the opening night of their student-led production of Beauty and the Beast. The musical is a mixture of three different versions of the show, the original animated Disney movie, the Broadway production, and the 2017 live remake. “We took the things we like from each version,” says Grade 11 student, Azaria Shams, who plays Belle. “We wanted to make it our own.”
The cast includes students from every grade at NGDHS, including the Grades 7 and 8 from the junior school. “Seeing all the grades come together has been great,” says Grade 12 student, Ethan VanDenbosh, who is playing the Beast. “You make connections across grades that you wouldn’t have made otherwise.”
Students have a hand in every aspect of the production: from picking the musical at the beginning of the year, to costumes, set design, choreography, and blocking. Gavin Watson, Grade 12, who plays Cogsworth, is helping their teacher, Ms. Island, produce the play, which means he not only has to know his role, but everyone else’s too.
“Lots of the leads take on leadership roles as well,” Azaria says. “Balancing school and life and a lead role is difficult.”
The cast has been working hard at putting together a quality show for their peers and the community. At the end of April, the set was near completion and dress rehearsals were underway. “Now, with the costumes, everything has come together,” Ethan said at the rehearsal of April 23. “We are seeing what we envisioned from the start.”
Community performances will be held on Thursday, May 16, at 6:30 pm and Saturday, May 18, at 1:30 pm at NGDHS. The students will also be performing for their peers at NGDHS the week leading up to opening night. “We hope to be full, and that everyone gives it their 100 per cent,” Azaria says.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12, and are available at the NGDHS office, or at the door.