Arts and Entertainment

Wellington Day School in Clinton emphasizes the musical beauty of the Beast

Cameron Beck, Shelby Lubchuk, James Itaya, Moira Beck, Jeffrey Bueler, Carmen Warwick and Jonathon Peterson take a break during a costume fitting for “Beauty and the Beast” at the Wellington Day School.   - Patricia Duff / The Record
Cameron Beck, Shelby Lubchuk, James Itaya, Moira Beck, Jeffrey Bueler, Carmen Warwick and Jonathon Peterson take a break during a costume fitting for “Beauty and the Beast” at the Wellington Day School.
— image credit: Patricia Duff / The Record

Enchantment and suspense abound in the famous story of “Beauty and the Beast.”

But it’s the music that makes the Broadway version great.

Clinton’s Wellington Day School students invite everyone to enjoy one of the most beautiful musical scores written for the stage as they take on the award-winning musical-theater version of the Disney classic on Wednesday, May 19 and Thursday, May 20 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley.

This enchanting modern classic transports audiences to the heart of provincial life in a quaint French town, where the eccentric inventor Maurice lives with his smart and beautiful daughter, Belle.

When Maurice becomes lost in the woods, he seeks shelter in an old castle where he is taken captive by the horrible Beast who is trapped in a body that is not his own. Belle is forced to give up her freedom to save her father’s life.

Belle’s subsequent taming of the cursed Beast and his ultimate transformation back into a handsome prince is the icing on the cake of this struggle-to-find-one’s-true-self fantasy for which Disney is known so well.

Cameron Beck said playing the Beast has been one of the most challenging things he’s ever done, especially when it comes to growling.

“The hardest thing for me is being angry a lot and having a deep voice. You have to growl and make it a real growl,” Beck said.

But when he sings, Beck said his voice must change.

“‘If I Can’t Love Her’ is a song that needs a high voice,” he said.

“You have to train the voice and it takes time.”

Beck, who is 14, said the other hard part for him has been all the dancing.

“I have to dance the waltz, and I’m not very good on my feet,” he added.

But Beck said he is working hard on all of it, because this is his first time playing a main character onstage, and acting is something he loves.

Director Beth Itaya said “Beauty and the Beast” is a big challenge for the small school.

“But, here we go,” she said.

“I want people to know it’s the Disney Broadway version we’re doing, and the music is just beautiful. We’ve done some big shows, but this has been our biggest challenge. And we’ve had lots of parent volunteer help and wonderful help from Nymbols, the mask- and puppet-makers. I just hope people come out and see it,” she added.

The Wellington Day group has created colorful and imaginative costumes and set pieces for a magical musical ride fashioned for the enjoyment of the whole family.

Narration for this production of “Beauty and the Beast” is by David Ossman.

Performances are at 7 p.m. at WICA. Tickets are $10.

Call the Wellington Day School for advance tickets at 341-1252.

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