Mt. Madonna students perform classic story based on animated film

Photo courtesy John Welch
Cast members perform as Enchanted Objects for the showstopper “Be Our Guest” in Mount Madonna School’s high school production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Shows were performed Feb. 12-13.

By Staff Reports

Mount Madonna School’s high school production of “Beauty and the Beast” took to the stage for two performances earlier this month.

The beloved “tale as old as time” is based on the Academy Award-winning animated Disney film and features wonderful songs, costumes and characters.

“Beauty and the Beast reveals a theme of ‘don’t judge by appearances,’” said director Gitanjali Lori Rivera. “This issue is especially relevant in this time of social media-saturation, as people — especially young people — frequently feel like they need to alter their appearance to be socially acceptable. This story shares a universal truth: it’s really what’s inside of you that matters.

“In the story Belle is not enchanted, but she’s on the outside of the accepted culture,” she continued. “Everyone thinks she’s odd because she doesn’t conform, while the many enchanted characters are not who they appear to be at all. Belle comes together with the Beast, another outsider, and through their shared love of stories, are able to see into each other’s being, below the surface and beyond appearances.”

Belle, an introverted young woman with an affinity for stories and literature, unexpectedly finds herself immersed in her own adventurous, magical tale, after meeting the Beast, a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the enchantment will end and he will be transformed into his former self.

But magical rose petals are dropping and time is running out: if the Beast doesn’t learn his lesson quickly, he and his enchanted household will be lost for all eternity.Mount Madonna School’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” includes music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. It was originally directed by Robert Jess Roth and originally produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

Significantly, this classic story also includes another theme rife for this time: how a mob mentality, fear and lack of understanding can lead to violence.

“Through this story,” Rivera said, “it’s my hope to convey an understanding that if we each can just take the time to be curious and ask questions about our differences, perspectives, and to see where we can meet, that through this we can stand united, in community.”