Beauty and the Beast a timeless classic

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The cast of Invercargill Musical Theatre's production Disney Beauty and the Beast JR rehearse last week.

A TALE as old as time will be performed at the Civic Theatre this month.

Invercargill Musical Theatre (IMT) will present Disney Beauty and the Beast JR, which is based on the beloved Disney films and Broadway production.

IMT vice-president Bernadette Gourley said parents and grandparents would love the show just as much as children.

“The great thing about the Disney version is it’s targeted at audiences that range from very young right up to senior citizens. It’s just a delightful production.”

The show is being directed by Jan Brown, with musical director Michael Buick and choreographer Melanie Bradley.

It was the same creative team behind The Wizard of Oz 18 months ago.

“And that was a fabulous success for us,” Gourley said.

IMT president Fergus More said Beauty and the Beast was chosen because Buick and Bradley felt it was the kind of show which would attract an audience and the cast would enjoy performing.

The cast comprises of 55 young performers aged from 7 to older teenagers, who are from schools throughout Southland.

“It’s a big cast, but it’s a great cast, and a big cast will make a great sound,” Gourley said.

Some cast members had had a lot of experience on stage, including their last junior production The Wizard of Ozand recent major productions including Mary Poppins, she said.

However, there were others who had never done anything like this before. This was one of the reasons why the society produced junior shows.

“It gives them the opportunity to broaden their experiences on stage and it may become a career path for some of them,” More said.

“While it’s a junior cast, our expectations as a producer remain just the same of them in terms of being focused and committed, and professional. It gives them a taste of what musical theatre is all about,” Gourley said.

All the elements of a major production were in play with the sound, lighting design, music and LED cloth, make-up, and costumes.

“They’re done to the standard that we expect for all our shows,” Gourley said.

“We’ve got a good stage crew, who enjoy working backstage creating the props and building the set,” More said.

Gourley said unlike their recent major productions which were part of a consortium, the props, costumes and sets for this production were being sourced from scratch.

“There’s a big team of people behind what happens on stage.”

She said IMT, as a society, relied heavily on volunteers for all aspects of its production.

“We’re very grateful to all those who give so much time.”

It also helped them to keep the ticket prices as they were, she said.

“We set them just to cover costs really and keep it as affordable as we can for families.

“It’s a great opportunity for parents and grandparents to bring children along to see live theatre of this high standard.”

The show runs for about an hour and a quarter.

Disney Beauty and the Beast JR, Civic Theatre, Invercargill, March 15-17, 7pm. Matinee Saturday, March 17, 2pm. Tickets from TicketDirect.

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