Arts and Entertainment

BHS brings ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to life

Bremerton High School students rehearse for their production of “Beauty and the Beast” which opens tonight. - Charles Melton/staff photo
Bremerton High School students rehearse for their production of “Beauty and the Beast” which opens tonight.
— image credit: Charles Melton/staff photo

Musical opens 7 p.m. today.

Tonight as Bremerton High School (BHS) students take the stage at the Bremerton High Performing Arts Center, what has been called the greatest love story ever told will unfold as BHS presents its version of “Beauty and the Beast.”

After today’s 7 p.m. performance, students will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday before performing again on March 13, 14 and 15. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors and $2 for children younger than 5. Tickets are on sale at the door and the box office opens at 6:30 p.m. during Friday and Saturday performances and 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees.

“The music is familiar, but quite difficult both instrumentally and vocally,” BHS Musical Director Cassie Gillis said. “The students have risen to the challenge.”

With more than 60 students involved in the musical as actors, musicians and stagehands, the main challenges have been the overall busyness on the stage and finding regular rehearsal time in that space, Gillis said, noting that during the past four years, the musicals presented at the high school have always been well-received by the public.

Dramatic director Linda Jensen agreed that having so many kids involved in the musical made rehearsals interesting to say the least.

“The kids had finals right in the middle of rehearsals and we have actors that play sports, so they had to be creative,” Jensen said. “And of course the theatre itself is booked with events so often, we don’t really get a set until the week before we open. The good news is once they start building, it is up quick and done well.”

The musical is the same as the award-winning Broadway version and lasts about 2 1/2 hours, but is appropriate for kids of all ages, Gillis said.

Although some of her performers have either spent hours at home working by themselves or enlisted a vocal coach to help them, Jensen said Gillis deserves a ton of credit for her work with the students.

“In my opinion, Ms. Gillis gives hours and hours of herself to teach them the music,” Jensen said. “What she does with them is amazing. I think she is my hero.”

When asked to compare “Beauty and the Beast” with other musicals, Jensen simply said, “You can’t.”

“Each musical is like a new family with all its quirks, problems and delightful personalities,” she said. “You just never know what dynamics will come from each new ‘family.’”

Even though children younger than 4 might have a tough time, Jensen emphasized “it is for families and we encourage them to bring them.”

“You can never start too young to encourage the arts with youth,” she said.

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