Adam Kelly, Assistant Editor
On April 5, people of all ages formed a line outside of Billingsley Theatre, patiently waiting to enter the building. As people filed in, the actors were backstage getting ready to perform for the crowd. As family members of the students in the production found their reserved spots, excited children rushed through the aisles to get to their seats. This was opening night for North Greenville University’s theatre production of "Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical."
The buildup to this show was huge as tickets sold out for the show a month before opening night. NGU students were given the opportunity to buy tickets in advance rather than get one the week of the show. Many students took advantage of this because they needed a cultural event, while others simply wanted to see the school’s adaptation.
There was such an overwhelming response from students that they decided to have a dress rehearsal the night before opening night. This gave students a chance to see it if they weren’t able to get a ticket as well as give the understudies a night to perform in front of an audience. When the lights went down and the stage was set, it was all worth the wait.
Months of hard work were put into making this huge performance happen. NGU’s production of "Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical" was directed by Amy Dunlap with music direction by Seth Killen. Theatre majors and students in the show were also hard at work. It is no easy task to memorize lines, lyrics to all of the songs and learn choreography for all the dances. Time was of the essence, and they took it into their hands and gave an amazing performance.
The audience clapped and cheered after every song, and you could see the adrenaline rushing through each and every one of the actors as they moved effortlessly through each act. Every actor brought life to their character and gave new meaning to Disney’s beloved since their creation in 1991.
Senior Austin Smith and sophomores Aidan Beasley and Ashlynn Butrovich played Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts respectively, and had amazing on-stage chemistry. Junior, Philip Skinner and sophomore, Milner Martin performed equally well as the villains of the show, Gaston and LeFou.
As the final act came to an end, all of the actors gathered on stage to sing the seminal tune to "Beauty and the Beast" one last time before taking a bow. Everyone gave a well-deserved standing ovation, and many stayed to congratulate the actors on their performance. As for personal thoughts on how they did, none of them had anything negative to say. They were all proud of what they had accomplished and their contentment was justified.
Sophomore, Allison Yeater, who played the lead role as Belle said, “We have been rehearsing for months, so finally getting to perform in front of an audience was an incredible feeling! Our energy was high and we got to do a show that we love so much and have our hearts into.”
Sophomore, Paden Lipe, who played the other leading role as the Beast said, “Opening night had an electric feeling! It was amazing to see our story come to life and to feed off the energy [the audience] gave us. Everyone’s hard work and effort is paying off and we’re looking forward to making each show better and better!”
Sophomore and assistant stage manager, Deandra Watkins added, “The cast blew the audience away and the hard work from the technical, set and wardrobe crew did a wonderful job seeing that the show ran smoothly and [making sure] all the pieces fit together.”
The cast and crew were definitely energized after an amazing opening night, but they can’t relax just yet. There are three more shows left, with new audience members waiting to see the show. Like many of the actors said, all of their hard work is paying off and it will be a night (and show) that they will never forget.