beauty and beast_4By Shannon Hoyt 

“Beauty and the Beast” is a film that has touched the hearts of many:  a classic musical that tells a tale kinship and romance.  But what if there were more to the story than what is shown on a screen?


When it comes to the local entertainment scene, the University of Wisconsin–Stout is a small part of something bigger. Contributing to this scene is the Menomonie High School. This year, the high school will be presenting a musical production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

As opposed to the movie version of this Disney story, the stage performance offers a more developed storyline.

Audric Buhr, teacher and artistic director for the Menomonie High School, has directed the last eight musicals, including this year’s production.

“There is a lot of parallels with [the musical production and the movie], in regards to the storyline,” said Buhr. However, Buhr also mentioned major differences. “I think that the three strongest songs that are in the show, are not in the movie.”

In addition, the characters are developed and recognized extensively.

“People are finding their character,” said Emily Jarman, high school senior and ensemble member. “We all have our own little characters that we have to build up to make the rest of the play come together.”

Not only are the storyline and characters coming together, but also the people behind the costumes.

“Every practice just gets better and better,” said Gina Uhlir, who plays Belle. “You get more comfortable with the cast; it is able to create connections that are more visible on stage.”

Currently a senior, Uhlir plans to further her education in theatre after graduation.

As well as Jarman and Uhlir, Thomas Killingsworth, a senior playing the role of Lumière, the comedic candlestick, has also made an effort to expand on his character and the production.

“[Lumière] is actually quite a bit easier for me than other characters have been,” said Killingsworth.

Familiar with the French history and culture pertaining to Beauty and the Beast, Killingsworth has the accent and knowledge to display his character’s humorous personality.

“It’s a lot of fun being able to play a Disney show and also take the spin on it to make it not so Disney.”

The musical production provides a new angle on Beauty and the Beast. A few weeks until showtime, the cast and crew work to perform this classic tale.

The performances will be Nov. 6, 7, 12, and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 8 and 14 at 2:30 p.m. in the Menomonie High School Auditorium. Tickets are $5 general admission.

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