The Scranton Prep Players will present the timeless children’s classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” with two students from the Abington area in the leading roles.
The charming French fairy tale will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 12, 13, 19 and 20 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14 and 21. The production will take place in the high school’s Bellarmine Theatre, 1000 Wyoming Ave., Scranton. Donation is $10 for adults and $8 for students.
The participants have been hard at work for months.
“The over 100 students involved have been learning their music and lines as well as building and painting the sets, making most of the properties, and most of the costumes,” said Ann S. Moyles, who has been the director for 31 years. “We’re very fortunate here at Prep because we have a lot of talented kids.”
Two of those artistic students are junior Kris Muzzi of Dalton and sophomore Gabby Durr of Clarks Summit. Kris, 17, will play the Beast, while Gabby, 16, will take on the role of the Beauty, named Belle. It is the first time the two have been in leading roles, though they were in previous productions.
“It’s really exciting and you get a rush,” Kris said, describing what it feels like to be on stage. “Having the lead is more pressure, but it’s more fun, too. And I love being a part of it all with everyone.”
Gabby was surprised she earned the role of Belle. “I couldn’t believe it at all. I was so honored and shocked.”
Kris said one of the biggest challenges playing the Beast is that the character is so well-known and audiences have certain expectations of how the character is played. “The voice is a big part of it. There’s a lot that goes into it,” he said.
“Beauty and the Beast” tells the story of Belle, an intelligent young woman scorned by townspeople for being a bookworm and dreaming of escape. But when Belle’s father gets lost in the woods and captured by the frightening Beast, a once-handsome prince turned into a monster by a witch, Belle goes to his aid. The Beast agrees to release Belle’s father if she agrees to stay with him forever. Belle is initially disgusted, but comes to appreciate the Beast’s hidden, tender nature.
Gabby said the role of Belle is challenging, but she is well-prepared thanks to her directors.
“I’m nervous but really honored that Mrs. Moyles and Mr. (Daniel) Marx (the musical director) have confidence in me and have really encouraged me.”
Gabby and Kris said one of the most demanding aspects of their roles is the singing. Neither has experience singing in front of a crowd.
“I sing in the car, but nothing like this,” Kris said, laughing. “But Mr. Marx really worked with us and helped us so much. And they’re good songs; when you like the songs it’s a lot easier.”
Gabby said, “Mr. Marx has really worked with us. He’s unbelievable.” She said the singing aspect adds pressure, but she’s confident she will excel.
“I can do it,” Gabby said.
The production will mark 62 for Mrs. Moyles. “My joy is seeing the students grow, not only as performers, but as people,” she said.