by Sophia Tran (’24) | May 10, 2021
A wilting rose hiding deep within the walls of a frigid castle. A hideous beast lurking in the shadows, shackled by a curse. A beautiful maiden searching for adventure, and perhaps, even love. And… a diabolical villain called COVID-19? Saint Francis High School’s spring musical production is creatively adapting this “tale as old as time” amidst the pandemic. The production of Beauty and the Beast Jr. consists of almost thirty cast members, ranging from rookie freshmen to experienced seniors. As this unique show will premiere May 13, let’s take a sneak peek behind the curtains!
After completing auditions, the cast officially began rehearsing in March. At first, rehearsals were only conducted over Zoom, allowing all students from different grade levels to bond while learning the songs. It was not long before rehearsals shifted onto campus at the end of March. Beneath the shade of the SFHS tents, the students joined to practice songs. Their beautiful voices echoed throughout the quad as they practiced for the day they would officially film their performances.
As it is unsafe and difficult for the entire ensemble and cast to sing together while in the theater, the students are recording their own vocals independently. The vocals will then be pieced together by a behind-the-scenes crew to create a chorus of voices. Though the songs are pre-recorded, the cast will still act out the parts in person. A camera will be set on stage to capture the students’ movements as they waltz across the stage, and masks will simplify the lip-syncing process. As for sets, the directors are using a towering green screen when filming on campus, so they can easily add appropriate backgrounds throughout the musical.
In addition to formatting, the production is heavily focusing on choreography. Six feet social-distancing and camera difficulties have unfortunately complicated the process; students are to dance far enough to keep their distance, but not too far as to be cut out of the shot. Nevertheless, student choreographers have successfully managed to direct the students to complete a multitude of spins and leaps to create charming sequences for the songs. Whether it is swinging cups for the “Gaston” sequence or stomping with spears in the “Mob Song,” each choreographed scene has its own identifiable traits.
After weeks of practice, students are finally seeing the show come alive through costumes. Silky turquoise dresses, laced skirts, glittering gold jackets, and more fill the racks behind the stage. Dance sequences are now resplendent with colorful skirts and glittering fabrics, and the costume arrivals mark the proximity of the musical’s premiere.
As the semester’s end nears, Beauty and the Beast Jr. will premiere this May! “Be our guest” to this classic romance and adventure the SFHS theater troupe has organized, and stay tuned for more information regarding the premiere dates!