UPDATED: Disney comes to life at OHS

Feb. 24 Update: Due to crazy weather and ticket sales, two more shows for Beatuy and the Beast have been added to Feb. 28 and Mar. 1 at 7 p.m. in the  OHS auditorium. Ticket information is below.

With opening night drawing closer and closer, the Owatonna High School has been all aflutter about the 2014 musical, Beauty and the Beast. With the highest ticket sales since The Wizard of Oz, thoughts of another performance on Saturday, Jan. 22 are surfacing. Practices have become longer, the pit orchestra is tightening their strings, and all cast and crew are ready for the opening curtain on Thursday, Jan. 20.

A musical as well-known as Beauty and the Beast has its rewards. “It’s a lot of fun because you know what the template is and you know what people’s expectations are in advance. You get to kind of play with those a little bit while hopefully reinventing them a little bit,” said Beauty and the Beast director Erik Eitrheim. This production is based off the 1991 Disney film, Beauty and the Beast. Senior Maureen Gleason, who plays Belle, the lead character, said, “It’s not really that hard of an acting challenge because there’s a lot to go off of. With this role, I think you’re kind of expected to copy what other people have done especially Belle from the Disney movie because everyone knows her,” when asked how it felt to be playing such a well-known character. There are also challenges that go along playing an acclaimed character. “It’s really intimidating because a lot of people will see this and know what she’s like and I’m just trying to portray that while still being myself on stage,” Gleason said.

Practices, which are every day after school for the actors, have been getting longer and longer. “[Practices] are going really well. We’re putting the final pieces together. It’s really kind of, over the last week and a half, transformed from this jumble of little pieces into something that is starting to take shape and look like a real musical,” said Director Eitrheim. Practices have begun to include the pit orchestra, directed by Mr. Pete Guenther.

Each play and musical at the OHS is laced with a tone of excitement brought forward by not only the actors, but the play itself. “There’s a lot of really good rousing dance numbers and the costuming in the show in particular is very cool, I think it’s really going to amaze people,” said Gleason. The OHS musical cast went to the Owatonna elementary schools on Wednesday, Jan. 12, to perform in front of the school children there. When asked what he’s most excited about for the performances, Mr. Eitrheim said, “To see and hear the audience’s interactions with what we’ve planned on the stage. It’ll be fun especially with little kids to watch them react to what’s going on.”

The Owatonna High School production of Beauty and the Beast will be performed on Jan. 20-22 at 7 p.m. and on Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. Beauty and the Beast is directed by Erik Eitrheim with musical numbers by Chris Harris. Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults, but students can purchase tickets with their activity passes. There are limited seats available, so purchase your tickets online at http://showtix4u.com/launch/index.php#!/page_Events.