First Hand Look at Beauty and the Beast

Photos: Martha Hutzell

Words: Amy Myers

There was a crowd at the mirrors where the cast curled their hair, touched their stage makeup and secured their wigs. An echo of lyrics and lines rang through the room.

“Places,” technical crew called. In a hum of excitement and jitters, we entered the stage.

It was the first musical that I had been on stage instead of watching from the crowd. After my nerve-racking audition and call back, I did not even expect to be invited to join the show, but when I saw my name on the cast list, I was thankful to be a part of the chorus, and the musical in general.

We worked tirelessly after school each rehearsal, and even when the snow took away valuable school days to our production, we created our own rehearsal. Between breaks and times when I was not on stage, I was getting closer to my classmates that quickly became my friends.

Being on stage, I never could quite tell how the musical went as a whole. I could only speak to the moments I was under those stage lights, but when I was, the air was dominated by enthusiastic voices, dedicated to making every word, every emotion visible from the back doors of the auditorium. Even if there was a mistake, the cast quickly reacted to keep the show going before I even noticed what happened.

We were rewarded after every musical number and every show with a boisterous applause, and that’s how I knew we fulfilled our job to entertain and amaze. Sometimes I was so impressed myself, I felt like joining in and applauding for my fellow cast members. We sold out every show after the first, and each time we filled every seat, it only gave us more motivation. All of those people were there to see us.

The support did not stop with the crowd below the stage, though. Before every show, the theatre teacher, Kathryn Carlsen, choir teacher, Jessica Cummings, band teacher, David Matchim,  and dance teacher, Rebecca Clark, joined us and gave us encouraging words to start the show, making sure we walked out every time with a smile on our face and focus in our eyes.

“Be sure to tell those next to you that you have their backs,” Carlsen would say.

“Break legs and hearts.”

Before the final show, I became a part of a tradition for Centennial theatre. We gathered in the choir room where we usually began to warm our voices, but this time, we started with something special. Each of the seniors involved in the technical crew, pit band, and the cast were offered a chance to give final words about their experiences in theater. Few eyes were dry by the end, though we fought to keep our stage make up intact. It was a hard goodbye for a lot of us, myself included, even if this was my first production. It made me realize just how quickly I made friends within the cast and crew, and how close we had grown in just a matter of months. I was not quite ready to let go of our time spent together, but it only meant I would have to enjoy my days even more as a senior with my newest friends from Beauty and the Beast.

We dried our eyes and found the energy that buzzed through us every time we entered the stage. Behind that curtain before our very last show, we, as a family, made a promise to break legs and hearts.

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