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BTHS Presents: Beauty and the Beast!

By: A.J. Fezza

The Arts and Entertainment Club (A&E) is presenting its third-ever musical on April 20 and 21. This year, following the wildly successful showings of Annie and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Biotech students are performing the classic musical adaption of Beauty and the Beast. This production would not have come to fruition if it were not for the tremendous efforts put forth by the cast, crew, pit band, and musical directors. After 2 years of strong shows under the former A&E club advisor Mr. Dannen, this year is the first BTHS production under Ms. Garbely, who deserves major credit for her devotion to the show.

Senior Varsha Garla as Belle, surrounded by townspeople.

The musical Beauty and the Beast, which was written by Alan Menken and debuted on Broadway in 1994, is based on the animated Disney film of the same name (which premiered 3 years earlier). The plot centers around Belle, a provincial girl and avid reader, whose life changes forever when she gives up her freedom to save her father. She is imprisoned in a massive castle ruled by a Beast, and little does she realize that all the animated objects who comfort her during her stay, as well as the Beast, used to be human. She learns that they were relegated to lives as trinkets because of a curse placed on them a decade before. Time is fleeting, and the only way to break the curse and have the enchanted objects turn back into humans again is for someone to fall in love the Beast. Belle, they realize, could be the girl to do so and set them all free. But getting Belle and the Beast together before the rose wilts would prove to not be an easy task, especially once herds of angry townspeople discover that a beast lies nearby, and they try to siege the castle!

This story was loosely based on a 1740 French fairy tale, which for long was not particularly notable. However, once the 1991 Disney film was released, the story skyrocketed in popularity. A new live action version of Beauty and the Beast, in fact, was just released on March 16, 2017, starring Emma Watson as Belle.

The vibrant backgrounds were painted by the Set Painting Crew, led by Carey Lau (the Visual Arts Chair of A&E). Angela Zhao is conducting the pit band, which will provide resonant background music as awe-inspiring as the scenes themselves. The stage crew, led by Laura Vorbach and Maxine Wang, functions to ensure seamless transitions onstage. Choreographers Patricia Magistrado and Aneesha Doshi created the spectacular dances in numbers such as “Be Our Guest” and “Human Again,” and the costumes were arranged by Ingrid Song. Lastly, Directors Nina Samuel, Isabel Wallace, and Michael Brennan invested countless hours of their time every week into organizing rehearsals and bringing this production to its final product. This year, over 30 talented students make up the musical’s cast, a third of which being completely new to the Biotech stage! The cast includes Varsha Garla as Belle, Andrew Colbert as the Beast, and Ben Buckman as Gaston.

Senior Ben Buckman singing as Gaston, while Lumiere and Cogsworth share a laugh in the background.

Please be our guest this Thursday and Friday (April 20 and 21), in the Biotech MPR to see the spectacular arrangement. You can buy the tickets here for both dates, and if you are a Biotech student, you can also purchase tickets during lunch the week of the show. See you there!

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