1:30 p.m., March 10)
St. Peter HS production of animated Disney classic a real
By Fred Sherwin
St. Peter High School production of Beauty
and the Beast featured Asia Csabi in the
lead role of Belle and Mitchell Schick as
Gaston. Fred Sherwin/Photo
it comes to high school musical theatre, the St. Peter
High School musical theatre program is the gold standard.
Further proof of this was their production of Beauty
and the Beast which recently wrapped up a four-night
run at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
my count, this is the ninth St. Peter musical production
that I have had the pleasure of attending in as many years
and I can honestly say it was one of the best. Not because
any one performance stood out from the others, although
Asia Csabi was phenomenal as Belle. Not because of the
live orchestra, which was on point throughout the four
performances. Not because of the impeccable sound enhanced
by the acoustics of the Harold Shenkman Hall. But because
of the ensemble cast which could give any professional
musical theatre company a run for their money.
bar was set exceptionally high from the opening performance
of "Belle", and continued through the first
half of the play with performances of "Gaston"
and "Be Our Guest" which is one of my personal
cast was at their best, however, during the second half
of the play which features such endearing numbers as "Human
Again", "Transformation" and the "Beauty
and the Beast (Reprise)" finale.
St. Peter production was actually a reprisal of the school's
2009 production of the Disney musical which was staged
in the school cafetorium and featured Lydia Barrett in
the lead role of Belle, and Charles Douglas as the Beast.
was every bit as good as Barrett and Clarence Jura delivered
a strong performance as the Beast. Other performances
that stood out included Brandon Mainville and Jarrad Haas
as Lumiere and Cogsworth; Sydney Maloney as the Wardrobe;
and Benjamin Massey as Lefou.
role of Gaston, who wants to kill the Beast and marry
Belle, was played by Mitchell Schick with just the right
mix of arrogance, obnoxiousness and bravado, without going
too far over the top. He was also in fine voice during
his performances of "Me" with Belle, and "Gaston
(Reprise)" with Lefou.
mention should also be made about Kaity Schieman who played
Mrs. Potts and delivered a magical solo performance of
"Beauty and the Beast" during the second act.
remainder of the lead cast included Liam Bernier as Belle's
father Maurice; Caitlin Munro as Babette; Manoha Jean-Baptiste
as Chip; and Kat Armstrong as Mme. D'Arque.
production itself had everything, including lots of great
lines and several extremely humourous moments between
Cogsworth, Lumiere and the Beast.
the fact that the rest of the cast was so strong I would
be remiss if I didn't mention them by name. The company
included Emily Howran, Anna Dale and Angie Wehbe, who
played the "Silly Girls" and was rounded out
by Kayla Bernier, Hannah Decker, Jamie Elliot, Calista
Guy, Ariya Lawrence, Cassie Luk, Aleksandra Lukie, Anya
Perry and Rebecca Valade.
Peter does not take part in the Cappies program, which
allows students to critique other students, out of principle,
which is understandable on the one hand, but robs the
students of critical acclaim by their peers, on the other.
So I'll provide them with the critical acclaim they so
2017 version of Beauty and the Beast is right up
there with other outstanding St. Peter musical theatre
productions like Little Shop of Horrors (2010),
Phantom of the Opera (2011) and Tarzan (2015).
timing of the St. Peter production couldn't have been
more perfect, either, with the Disney remake of Beauty
and the Beast scheduled to open in theatres on March
17. The live-action remake of the popular animated film
will likely be a box office smash, but frankly I'll pass.
I'll take live theatre over a movie anytime, and especially
if it features the talented group of students at St. Peter
ensemble cast in the St. Peter High School
production of Beauty and the Beast
is one of the best the school has ever put
on stage. Fred Sherwin/Photo
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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