Behind the Scenes: Beauty and the Beast Musical

November 11, 2019

The Cypress Ranch Theatre Program recently performed its 2019 fall production, inspired off the Broadway version and Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast. The show lasted from November 1st to 4th and received critical acclaim from hundreds and many wondered: what goes on behind the scenes to create such a magical musical? Here are the stories from the actors and actresses themselves, explaining what the audience doesn’t see. 

Although every scene looked effortless, the cast worked diligently and spent countless days to make the dancing, acting, and singing perfect. Since the moment they received their roles, practicing was a top priority. 

“We’ve been working almost every single day for 2 hours since school started. Personally, I started working on my music over the summer,” Colin Vargas, actor for LeFou, says. 

One actor had to physically train for his villainous role. 

“I’ve been rehearsing really hard, every day after school I’d spend at least an hour singing all of my songs, then maybe another 30 minutes going over choreography and since I’m Gaston I had to put on some muscle. So during the summer, I would go to the gym twice a day,” Caelan Fricke says. “I wanted the audience to hate me, because that’s really the only goal of an antagonist so if I do that I know I’m good.” 

Additionally, some preparations went beyond the stage.

“I feel like I’ve worked 24 hours a week non-stop,” Mia Velasquez states. “I really love sinking myself into my character and so I’ve been working on what kind of walk or voice or mannerisms Belle would have. It’s the stuff that the audience doesn’t always notice but in the full production really creates a full character. All of this is on my own time because in rehearsal at school it’s usually working on blocking or choreography to create the bare bones of our show. There have been so many nights of just walking around my room imagining our set to practice the show.” 

The cast had to especially practice for scenes that required an elaborate effort. 

“I think the most difficult scene to work was Maison Des Lunes,” says Vargas. “Because of the amount of vocal dedication required to make it work. There were so many harmonies and tempo changes and it just made it a really hard number to get down, but I think we made it something to be proud of.” 

Velasquez notes a different segment that was particularly complex.

“The ones before a quick costume change. Those are solely about timing and making it look effortless when in reality I’m running backstage to the dressing room pretty much shoving people out of the way because every second counts.”

Fricke couldn’t decide which scene was the hardest. 

“The hardest is honestly a toss-up between “Me”, my solo, or the fight scene between me and Beast, because with “Me”, we were always changing the choreography to make it the best it could be and the fight scene was hard because 1. It has to look realistic and 2. We were also changing it a lot. I have to fall off the set in the fight scene so getting that right with the music was hard.”

But that doesn’t mean the cast didn’t have an enjoyable time while rehearsing.

“The most fun scenes to practice was with Gaston because that’s like my moment in the spotlight and I got to learn a tap number which was very cool and it’s an ensemble number so I get to see my other friends have their moment on stage with me and it’s amazing to me,” Vargas adds. 

Velasquez also quotes what scene was the most hilarious for her. 

“When Beast is supposed to yell at Belle for not coming to dinner. When Colin McGarity delivers his line I always feel like laughing just because I find it so unthreatening and almost silly. I usually have to bite my tongue so I don’t crack a smile on stage.” 

However, putting on a grand show doesn’t just require actors and actresses, but personnel beyond the curtain, as well. 

“The real stars of the show are the parents and staff that worked countless hours on building set, painting, teaching us the music, and teaching all the choreography. It honestly takes a whole village to put on a show and we’re so lucky to have such a supportive staff and parent base and especially a super supportive principal. I mean these people take hours out of their day just to help us get where we need to be and for that, I’m super grateful,” Vargas mentions.

Since Beauty and the Beast was Cypress Ranch’s biggest production yet, they brought in an extra element to enhance the musical.  

“This show requires so many different skill sets that we’ve previously never had before. We have an orchestra! That totally changes everything for us and allows us to experience (as well as the audience) live music with our dances and scenes,” Velasquez adds. “It’s honestly magical having a pit be able to perform with us in our show.”