Briarwood Academy will have its production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at Briarwood’s Clinton H. Grant Field house.
There are 54 students in grades 3 through 12 participating in the musical. Parts were auditioned for right after Christmas break. Kari Callaway, the music teacher at Briarwood Academy, is the directo. Callaway said the production lends itself really well to including elementary students.
“We have incorporated them into the villagers’ ensemble, the wolves and the Be Our Guest fantasy objects,” she said.
Callaway said this is the first time the school has done a fantasy musical. It was chosen for that reason as well as for the fact that the students she has in high school and middle school chorus fit nicely with the characters and their requirements. She said they have a large number of elementary students who are very interested in performing, and this musical allows them to accommodate the younger students.
Callaway said it also offers an opportunity to use special effects such as fog machines and sound effects, things that are not normally a part of the more classical musicals.
The school performed The Sound of Music last year. Other previous musicals include Bye, Bye Birdie; Footloose; Fiddler on the Roof; Oliver; Camelot; and South Pacific.
“We try to offer a full-scale musical experience each year for the students that includes set design, sound, lights and stage crew experience,” Callaway said. “We generally have an audience size of about 300-350 over two performances.”
Callaway said productions like this help put the students in the middle of the creative process from beginning to end. They brainstorm the sets and props, collaborate on design and execution, practice improvisation techniques to help them get more comfortable on stage, and work on developing the character.
“I really want for the students to come away from this musical feeling fulfilled in their efforts and talents at entertaining others,” she said. “But I want it to be about more than entertainment, too. I want the students to walk away from this knowing something about themselves that they didn’t know about before.”
Advance tickets are on sale. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by calling Briarwood Academy at (706) 595-5641. To tie in with the rose theme of the musical, Briarwood is also selling souvenir light-up roses for $5.
The school will present a portion of the musical today at an assembly at 1:15 p.m. Following the assembly, audience members can have their picture taken with any member of the cast for just $5 for 5x7 photographs. They can add an additional character for $1 each.