The beauty of illusion Magical musical opens Friday at Warwick

By on March 14, 2012

The magic of Disney, and illusionist Rob Lake, comes to Warwick High School this weekend as the WHS music department presents "Beauty and the Beast" as its spring musical.

Show times are this Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the high school. Pre-sale tickets are still available this Thursday in the auditorium lobby from 6 to 7:45 p.m. Tickets will also be available one hour prior to each performance.

All seating in every section is reserved. Orchestra Center Section is $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens (age 60 and older) and children/students. Sides and Mezzanine seating ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for senior citizens and children/students.

So, what do you get for your ticket price? Warwick musicals have become well known in the area for the caliber of talent and production value. This year, they’ve added the magic of a renowned illusionist to take the production to the next level.

Lake, who has been working with the cast for the past week, is no stranger to "Beauty and the Beast."

"This is actually the 500th ‘Beauty and the Beast’ production that I’ve been working on," he said during a break in rehearsal Monday night. "I provide the magic and illusions for multiple shows from community groups to professional theaters to schools."

Warwick’s directors contacted his office in Oklahoma last fall.

"Luckily, my tour schedule was open so I was able to come out here and work with them," he said. "I’m on the road 80 to 90 percent of the year."

Warwick expects the addition of Lake’s props and illusions to take this year’s spring musical to the next level.

"When the Disney animators create a movie like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ they control anything they want," he pointed out, "so they can draw a beast transforming mid-air into a prince. When they do the show live on stage, costumes and sets can do a lot of the things, but they really do need a magician to come in and make the illusions exactly like you’d see in the film."

His job is to integrate that magic into the production, seamlessly.

"It’s really a lot of fun working with the kids," he added. "I loved doing high school theater when I was in high school, and I get to travel to some of the most amazing venues in the world these days with my own business. So, whenever I can bring some of my knowledge back to share with young people, it’s really a pleasure."

The choral and orchestra parent’s group, the Warblers, sponsored Lake’s time at Warwick.

The story of "Beauty and the Beast" begins in a small provincial French town where a girl named Belle is dissatisfied with her life and is constantly trying to fend off the misplaced affections of the conceited Gaston. Meanwhile, an arrogant and handsome young Prince Adam is cursed to a beast form by an Enchantress who sees no love in his hardened heart for others. She places him under a spell because he cannot love. The only way he can break the spell is to learn to love another and earn love in return before the last petal from his enchanted rose falls. The rose will bloom until his 21st birthday.

Leads for the play include:

Narrator, Erik Homberger; Enchantress and beggar woman, Tessa Samuelson; Belle, Alina Stephenson; Maurice, John McQuaig; Lefou, Bailey Norman; Gaston, Connor Brosemer; Monsieur D’Arque, Joel Sheppard; Beast, Jordan Kelley; Lumiere, David Krak; Cogsworth, Samson Cassel Nucci; Babette, Jessica Poje; Madame De La Grande Bouche, Kara Miller; Mrs. Potts, Bailey Fulginiti; and Chip, Ben Bosis.

Music director is Debra Kline-Smith, co-pit orchestra directors are Ann Ahlers and Sherry Kline, and Kline is also the conductor. Drama director is Misha R’Kingsley, assistant drama director is Connie Hilliar and choreography director Samantha Hewes.

"It will be a beast of a show," Lake promised. "It’s going to be talked about for years and years to come." More MUSICAL, page A6

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