Oxford High School Theatre to present ‘Beauty and the Beast’

The Oxford High School Theatre will present Beauty and the Beast this weekend for the school’s winter play production. Photo by Melissa Williams.

By Wendi Reardon Price
Staff Writer
OXFORD — After a successful weekend of magic and storytelling, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is on stage again this week at the Oxford High School Performing Arts Center, Thursday through Sunday.
Oxford High School seniors Heidi Allen, playing Belle; Chase Williams as Beast; Sean Wilson as Gaston; Jadon Ebeling as Maurice; and Leah Rauh as Bobette, shared it’s been a great experience bringing “Beauty and the Beast” to the stage.
“It’s really cool to see everyone work together to put something that was just from a script to the stage,” said Allen. “Our director makes it so amazing. It’s an awesome experience.”
Wilson added the last time “Beauty and the Beast” was performed at Oxford was 10 years ago in 2014 and the cast from that show has come out to support the current cast.
“They really made it feel like tradition,” he said. “It makes it feel like family.”
“It’s crazy being the 10 year mark,” said Williams, who was in the show in 2014 as Chip. “It’s really cool especially seeing the new Chips, too, wearing my old costume.”
Rauh added the experience has been positive.
“There’s a lot of work and a lot of late nights,” she said. “That’s the most bonding part and the most fun part.”
Part of the fun is bringing the characters to life on the stage.
Wilson admitted it took time to get into his role of Gaston.
“A lot of people told me I am the exact opposite person,” he said. “It took a little bit. He’s a brute. I am a big teddy bear.”
Ebeling shared it had been a bit of a struggle.
“I want to portray the movie and a famous story but also a way to make it my own,” he said.
Allen shared it was easy to find common interests with Belle.
“I feel pretty similar to my character in ways. She’s from a little town. I feel the same way. she wants out of it and I do, too,” she chuckled. “She likes to read. “
Ruah said Bobette is very fun to bring to life.
“She’s very flirty,” Ruah shared. “I think the hardest part was probably the French accent that took a bit to get used to.”
Williams shared he put thoughts into how to portray animal traits.
“For my voice, I think a little more ‘Phantom of the Opera’ with scary and mysterious,” he said.
All five added part of the magic is all the work put behind the scenes with costumes, props, sets and all the volunteer work put in.
Allen shared it’s amazing to be able to perform “Beauty and the Beast” for her last musical.
“It’s amazing to go out with such a great show. It’s something that is kind of hard to pull off,” she said.
“I think we knew since ‘The Little Mermaid’ ended last year this was going to be the show,” Wilson said. “We have the perfect cast for the show.”
Performances for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” are this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online at https://oxfordperformingartscenter.thundertix.com. The box office is open weekdays from 3-3:30 p.m and opens one hour before every live performance.
“It’s great to support your local high school,” said Ebeling. “You come in expecting a great show.”
“We worked really hard on this the past four months,” said Allen. “I feel like we’ve done a really good job. We have a pretty strong cast.”
Wilson added switching into his character of Gaston, “personally if they want to see some muscles…”

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