Putting on a production with iconic characters can be a hindrance to high school drama departments, but Thomas More Prep-Marian High School is taking on “Beauty and the Beast,” opening Thursday night.
“What usually scares off people from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is the amount of costuming,” said Travis Grizzell, drama director at TMP.
The private Catholic school has taken on other Disney productions in the past such as “The Little Mermaid,” but “Beauty and the Beast” is more complex.
“This is a little more specific in what you need to have them look like because the animated characters are so iconic,” he said.
It’s a show that Grizzell said he has been asked about for several years. He took his drama class to see the Salina Community Theater’s production two years ago and was impressed with the animation on some of the costumes. Lumiere’s candles light up and the hands on Cogsworth’s clock spin.
The costumes are rented from a costumer in Chicago, and both the costumer and TMP went to some extra lengths to get them to Hays, as the costumes don’t ship very well.
“He was very gracious in dropping them off at his parents in South Dakota, and we had a couple of our parents of a cast member go up there and snag those from his parents,” Grizzell said. They’ll make the trip again to return the costumes after the production.
“It’s a little out of the ordinary for us, but these costumes have been worn by professional actors on Broadway, so it’s kind of cool for our kids to wrap their heads around that,” he said.
Grizzell said this production has probably the most students involved that he’s worked with at TMP, and all have given their spare time outside school hours and even during study halls to get it ready.
“I spent all my weekend in that building, and I was usually surrounded by kids with a paintbrush or staple gun or sewing machine. We kind of pulled out all the stops on this old theater for this show. I’ve had a lot of kids just kind of taking ownership and investing in it,” he said.