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Tale as Old as Time: The ACT Presents “Beauty and the Beast” Featured

Cast members rehearsing the final musical number of “Beauty and the Beast.” Cast members rehearsing the final musical number of “Beauty and the Beast.” Steve Burdette

For more than seven years, The Actor’s Charitable Theatre, or ACT, has been providing the Tuscaloosa area with a wide variety of musicals, plays, dinner theatres and children’s acting camps. This month, The ACT celebrates its 30th stage production when it presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the historic Bama Theatre, Sept. 16-19. Beauty and the Beast will kick off The ACT’s 2016-2017 season, entitled “Bringing the Classics to a New Generation,” and will feature a variety of familiar ACT cast members, as well as a few newcomers to the stage.

Based on the 1991 Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, the production tells the story of a prince transformed into a hideous beast as punishment for his cruel, uncaring heart, and an adventurous young lady named Belle who is imprisoned in the Beast’s castle.  In order to lift the curse and become human again, the Beast must earn Belle’s love before time runs out.

The cast of Beauty and the Beast is led by University of Montevallo music student Grace Conner, who plays the adventurous Belle, and Greg Vander Wal as the Beast. Calvin Bryan (Gaston) and Daniel Deshazo (LeFou) team up for mischief and trickery, and the Silly Girls (Emily Odom, Courtney Cooke, and Lauren L’Etang) provide comic relief and spice up the story as they swoon over Gaston.  Harrison Thompson (Lumiere), Joey Lay (Cogsworth), Bibi Steinke (Mrs. Potts), Jennifer McMillan (Mrs. Potts), Glinda Blackshear (Wardrobe), Pamela Welbourne (Babette), and Ben Richey (Chip) lead the group of castle objects doing everything they can to help Belle fall in love with Beast and break the curse they have been placed under.  Colton Crowe plays Maurice, Belle’s loving, eccentric father, and Will Henson plays the crooked Monsuier D’Arque, who is in the middle of Gaston’s evil plan. In total, this “tale as old as time” features over 50 talented cast members in stunning costumes, and brings to life Belle’s provincial town and Beast’s enchanted castle with spectacular sets.

Beauty and the Beast is directed by Mary Kathryn Perkins Mathews, a mainstay in ACT musicals and director of several previous Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre musicals.  The production team includes Johnathan Lyons, musical director; Alisha Lay, choreographer; Joey Lay, costumes and set design; Todd Roberts, costume design; Amanda Manos, stage manager; David Jones, lighting and sound; and Eric Dickey, set construction and painting.

Beauty and the Beast will run September 16-19, at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Monday morning school shows will give Tuscaloosa students a chance to see the show with their peers, at a reduced rate.  

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $16 for students and $14 for children ages 12 and under. Tickets and information are available at TheACT.info or by calling (205) 393-2800.

The ACT welcomes community involvement with many ways to contribute, including auditioning for shows, helping with set construction, performing in an orchestra, helping backstage during shows, and being a patron or sponsor. Visit the website or like The ACT’s Facebook page (The Actor’s Charitable Theatre) for more information on how you can get involved.

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