By Bella Kaguyutan 

News Editor

Picture via Hammond Theatre Department

Sold out shows. Crowded auditorium. Comfy seats. For this year’s Spring Production, Hammond’s Theatre department performed Beauty and the Beast, a musical theater rendition of the Disney classic. The show featured a live orchestra pit and a cast of 40 actors. There were four performances from March 16th through the 18th. The outstanding production sold over 2,400 tickets, breaking attendance records from the past 19 years. 

The show follows the same storyline of the classic Disney film; Maurice, Belle’s father, gets lost in the woods and stumbles into the Beast’s castle. The Beast then imprisons Maurice and when Belle realizes her father is possibly in danger she goes looking for him. When she finds her father locked in the dungeons of the Beast’s castle, Belle offers to take her father’s place and stay in the Beast’s castle forever. During her time at the castle, Belle and the Beast overcome their differences with one another and fall in love. Their love is interrupted by Gaston, a man from the small provincial town where Belle lives, who leads a mob in song in an attempt to kill the Beast and save Belle from him.

Beauty and the Beast was the inaugural performance of Hammond’s brand new auditorium. The auditorium had been under construction for 9 months and has been completely transformed; gone are the days of uncomfortable wooden seats. The show was initially set to run the first week of March, but was pushed back to accommodate for construction delays. Since the auditorium was under construction until 3 weeks before the show opened, the actors were unable to rehearse in the auditorium for the majority of the time they spent rehearsing the show. Despite the construction delays, the cast, crew, and pit put on a marvelous performance that truly enchanted the crowd, it was a gift to be their guest!

At the front of this talented cast, were seniors Natalie Wilder as Belle, and Riley Woodward as the Beast. Natalie and Riley were both a part of last year’s production of Freaky Friday. While both actors have had minor roles in a few previous Hammond productions, their extensive talents were clear. The entire cast brought striking singing and acting skills to the stage. 

The show quickly became a fan favorite and many spectators attended multiple performances to see both casts. It was clear that people missed attending live performances due to the pandemic and made everyone feel a little bit human again