Beauty and the Beast, Jr. 1

Blocking over 80 middle school students for the finale can be like herding cats, but Director Daniel Trippett managed the job patiently.

The Trumansburg Middle School Drama Club will present “Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” on March 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. and March 25 and 26 at 2 p.m. in the elementary school auditorium. Adult tickets cost $9 with student tickets priced at $7. Tickets may be purchased from the elementary and middle school offices or at the door. The book is by Linda Woolverton. The music was written by Alan Menken with the lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

Once upon a time in a faraway land, an Enchantress turns a cruel, unfeeling Prince into a hideous Beast. To break the spell, the Beast must learn to love another and earn her love in return before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose. The castle’s servants have also fallen under the spell and also seek release. Belle, a beautiful and intelligent villager, her father Maurice, and the evil, jealous Gaston also become involved in this wonderful story. It is a tale of transformation and tolerance.

The Director of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is Daniel Trippett. “Something resonated with us and the students about this musical,” he said. “Our first production back from COVID was ‘Annie.’ We wanted to offer the kids more and they felt strongly about this musical. This is not an easy show for middle school students due to the love interest. With this show, we revisit beautiful costumes, fantasy and we wanted to go over the top.”

Nathan Parker is the Music Director. Sue DiNapoli is the Costumer and Nancy Kane is the Chorographer. Some of the main characters are being played by Eutaw Hannan (Beast), Addison Muraca (Belle), Finn Carubia (Gaston), Lucia Caraher (Lefou), Luke Mielty (Maurice), Abby Arco (Cogsworth), Claire Olney (Lumiere), Lucy Clementson (Babette), Leah Washburn (Mrs. Potts), Eme Walker (Chip), and Sean Kaplan (Prince).

Tammy Parker is the show’s producer. “This musical allows for a lot of kids to be involved,” Tammy said. “We actually chose three possible musicals (Spamalot, Frozen, and Beauty and the Beast) and let the students vote. It was almost unanimous for ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ We have over 100 fifth through eighth grade students involved, including 35 stage crew members and sound and lighting.”

Songs in the musical will be familiar to many. Among them are “Belle,” “Gaston,” “Be Our Guest,” “Something There,” “Human Again,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Mob Song.”

The part of the Beast is being played by Eutaw Hannan. “I am having fun being the Beast," Eutaw said. "It is very different from playing President Roosevelt in ‘Annie’ because I move from being in a wheelchair to that of a massive character. It is clear that anger is a problem for the Beast, but he is scared of a lot more outside of his character. He is mad, but there is more to it. I grow to be more sensitive throughout the musical. Lumiere and Cogsworth are my most loyal servants. I am supposed to rule over them, but they help me more.”

Hannan’s favorite scene is the wolf attack because he can show the power and anger of the Beast. “I like the dance scenes too because I never danced before," he said. "I also like the scenes with Belle and Cogsworth because it shows character development. The lesson learned from this musical is that everyone can change for the better. You are not stuck with one personality. People can learn to love anyone, but it is ironic because I turn back into the prince again at the end.”

Addison Muraca plays the part of Belle and really likes the song ‘Beauty and the Beast’ because she likes the music, the flow of the song, and the lyrics. “Belle is a complex character with a lot of emotion," she said. "She is sick of her town and wants to leave, but when she does, she regrets it. Belle tries to light up a room and make everyone happy. She also likes to read.”

“This musical has a good life lesson,” Addison said. “Don’t love someone based on their appearance, but on how they are inside. It is a famous story and the message shows how you can love anyone because of who they are inside and their personality. This show is a challenge because I have to show a lot of different emotions in different scenes and have to bring out the emotions in many different ways.”

Addison is hoping for big audiences at all of the performances. “The musical is really coming together," she said. "We are having fun at rehearsals and enjoying it. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has a fun plot and people will enjoy the music and the dancing. There is a lot of detail in the fancy costumes too, like with the wolf heads. It’s definitely a lot more than last year with Annie.”

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