A beloved children’s story comes to life when Centreville High presents the Disney musical, “Beauty and the Beast.” And playing one of the lead roles is senior Nick Ingargiola, who attends the Fairfax Academy for musical theater.
“The actors have just blown me away,” said Director Mike Hudson. “We had a preaudition last May, and we had no idea we’d get this level of talent. About half the kids are choral students, but we’re also blessed with theater students who can sing.”
The show features a cast of 58, crew of 16 and a 15-piece orchestra, and the actors have been rehearsing since early October. Art students worked on the scenery, creating the village, Belle’s house, the woods and the interior of the Beast’s castle, complete with a central staircase. And the special effects will include lasers, two types of fog and smoke.
Besides that, added Hudson, “The costumes are beautiful and there will be a custom-made Beast head. But our Beast isn’t frightening – he actually has a charming personality. And we’ll be selling light-up roses before each show, and there will be a chance for the children to join in and wave them at the show’s end.”
Three students choreographed all the dance numbers and, said Hudson, “I cannot praise them enough – they’ve done an amazing job. Our choreography is second to none.” Overall, he said the audience will appreciate the cast’s “spontaneity and enthusiasm; everyone’s worked so hard on this production. Since this is the Disney version, children will recognize the songs, especially ‘Be Our Guest’ and ‘Human Again,’ and we’ve got marvelous voices and musicians.”
PORTRAYING THE BEAST is Ingargiola, a Fairfax Academy student. Describing the Beast as a “complicated character,” Ingargiola said he was a prince who was changed into a beast by an enchantress after refusing to buy a rose from her.
“He’s angry and depressed and doesn’t know how to love or care for anything,” said Ingargiola. “He lives in a castle with his servants, but he has to learn to love or be doomed to be a beast forever. And when he encounters Belle, he eventually falls in love.”
Ingargiola says it’s challenging “to emote through a gigantic, beast costume and mask. So I have to be really expressive with my eyes. But I have a gorgeous song to sing, ‘If I Can’t Love Her.’ It portrays the agony of his existence and is tragically beautiful and lets the audience understand him better.”
Thrilled to have this role, he said, “It’s cool evolving with the Beast; he’s shy and not used to talking with people. And it’s adorable to see him flounder about and try to make this girl like him, let alone love him. He has so many dimensions to his personality.”
Besides the tender love story, Ingargiola said the audience will also be impressed with the show’s special effects. And, he added, “The dance numbers are really spectacular. The choreographers have done a wonderful job – it looks like professionals did it.”
THE CURTAIN RISES Thursday-Friday, Feb. 5-6, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 7, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 via www.theatrecentreville.com or at the door (but people are advised to get them online or from a cast member for the Saturday matinee).
In addition, there will be a meet-and-greet at 1 p.m. in the school cafeteria before the Saturday matinee, and it’s free to any ticket-holder. Children will be able to meet and talk with Belle, Gaston, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and the Silly Girls and take photos with them. Centreville High is located at 6001 Union Mill Road in Clifton.