By Michele Kinsey—
MUNCIE, IN – Muncie Civic Theatre will open its 2022-23 season with a “tale as old as time.”
“Guests” of all ages are invited to “Beauty and the Beast” on the main stage Aug. 12-14, 19-21, 26-28 and Sept. 1-4. Performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday matinees will begin at 2:30 p.m.
“Beauty and the Beast,” based on a beloved animated feature, tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince thanks to the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved before time runs out, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. If he doesn’t, well, he will be doomed for all eternity.
For Isaac Denniston, being the music director for this show is a Disney dream come true.
“The scores of Disney music such as ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and other similar movies are what made me want to become a music director,” Denniston said. “I can still remember standing on a stepstool with a pencil conducting songs from this show and other Disney music as a very young child. Now I get to do it in real life!”
Kalyn Melham, who is “Belle” in the musical, is also a big “Beauty and the Beast” fan.
“’Beauty and the Beast’ is one of the most beautiful stories with music that is timeless,” she said. “I am a huge Disney fan, no doubt, but I have looked up to this character since I was a young girl. Being able to play this role, whether on a screen, on Broadway, or in your backyard, is the same role in each actor’s heart. It has always been a dream to be able to do that.”
This will be Conner Johnson’s first time on the Civic stage. He will take on the “arrogant and self-centered” “Gaston.” “The experience has genuinely felt like living in a dream,” he said. “Just like a magic rose or talking furniture, this journey has been overwhelmingly and indelibly enchanting.”
The show’s director, Laura Williamson (who is also Civic’s Executive Director), has created a “family” among the cast and crew.
Denniston said the best part of this experience has been “watching different ages, races, and personalities come together and turn into a 3-month family. I literally got to hang out at a club with and stand in between a 69-year-old and someone in their early twenties.”
Melham agreed. “Among the singing, dancing, big lights, and all that theater magic, is a spot for everyone,” she said.
“[The best part has been] watching the formation and growth of a family, as well as being included in it,” Johnson said. “These are some of the greatest people I’ve been in a cast with, both in character and ‘in character.’”
Melham said she hopes audiences “feel the emotion and dedication that this cast, crew, and orchestra have volunteered to create.”
That and the Disney magic, of course.
For tickets and more information, call (765) 288-PLAY or go to www.munciecivic.org.
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