Under the lovingly precise direction of Kristin Zetterstrom, Gig Harbor High School’s drama department will stage Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” this month. The performances will be held at 7 p.m. March 13-15 and 20-22, and at 3 p.m. March 16 at the school’s auditorium.
I had the pleasure of attending the dress rehearsal a week ago, and it was impressive.
The cast performs as if it were born to the task. Beautiful solo and choral voices, precision in choreography and gusto in delivery. The costumes are out of this world and tuned exactly to the tale’s times. The interchangeable stage sets are works of genius, nothing less!
Junior Paige Ketcham, the stage manager, said she was drawn into the theater world as a freshman and loved it ever since.
“I love being on crew,” Ketcham said. “It’s an amazing experience, even when the energy is down. You can’t beat live theater.”
Classmate Hannah Sisney is wardrobe mistress.
“My favorite part is the moment right before the curtain opens and the moment right after the curtain closes,” Sisney said. “Even for us backstage, feelings of anticipation and excitement are intense. I love being part of a living art form, making magic for those on and offstage.”
Sophomore Delaney Dill, who plays Babette loves the satisfaction of performing on stage.
“This show has given me a huge new family and so many amazing memories,” Dill said. “I do theater because it has given me a newfound confidence that benefits me in every aspect of my life.”
Junior Jane Johnson plays Mrs. Frank.
“My favorite part of show experience is having a wonderful cast like one big family and meeting new fantastic people every year,” Johnson said.
“I’ve been pretending to be princes in disguise, saving damsels in distress, for as long as I can remember,” said senior Coleman Anderton, who plays the Beast. “Every day is a new character, some new adventure to experience. I am blessed to be a small cog in this great production. A wonderful, supportive cast and crew, and director Zetterstrom have worked so hard and helped me grow so much as a performer and as a person.”
Junior Colin Murphy said there’s something attractive about theater.
“Living through someone else for two acts — in my case, a debonair candelabra — can also help you learn about yourself,” Murphy said.
Freshman Hailey Hodgson loves the challenge of taking on a new character.
“I also love the bonds formed between the cast,” Hodgson said. “By the end of production, we are family, and all of our hard work is truly rewarding.”
The favorite part of Beauty and the Beast for senior Turi Abbott, who plays Madame de la grande Bouche (the wardrobe), is interacting with everyone who contributes to the show.
“The stage crew is meticulous and goofy, while the actors and pit will burst into song or dance at any moment to brighten your day,” Abbott said. “I joined theater in hopes of finding new friends and came away with a huge family of talented people. We are all just teenagers and high-schoolers, but you couldn’t tell by how dedicated everyone is to the show. Each person is passionate about telling the story, no matter their role, and that’s what makes our theater department special. We are one family, telling a story — on stage or not.”
Senior Mariah Austin, one of the “Three Silly Girls,” said being part of the show has been a dream come true.
“I grew up with Disney movies like most kids, and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was one of my favorites,” Austin said. “That I am able to be part of a show that interested me in doing theater is unreal.”
Austin said she’s worked in musical theater since she was 9, but she’s never seen a drama program more loving than the one at GHHS.
“It’s the reason why I come back every year,” she said. “We all become a huge family, and you love spending time with the people in it. It’s sad to think I will be leaving this all behind once I graduate, but I’m grateful for the memories and the lifelong friends I have made.”
Sophomore Kassidy Luetke, who plays Belle, does theater because it’s rewarding.
“My favorite part of the show experience is meeting the wonderful actors,” Luetke said. “When I’m on the stage with my friends, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
The show starts next week. For tickets, call 253-530-1590.Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at hmcmnp1000@ centurytel.net.