Beauty and the Beast
The Herricks Union Free School district holds it's annual Middle School production in the beginning of each new year. Performed on the Herricks Community Center stage, it is a middle school production like no other. The middle school shows are musicals that are the full productions with a full orchestra and a budget that allows for there to be sets like no other....
I was graced with being the set and lighting designer for the 2018 musical, Beauty and the Beast. This production is special in many ways. Because there was the live action movie made only a year earlier, this musical in particular is a hot commodity for this year. The middle school also had done this musical 10 years earlier in 2008, also directed by the same director. So in my design, I wanted to make this production as magnificent and live up the standards of how iconic the story and music are.
I knew from the second I found out what the show was, that I wanted to design a set that had levels to it. This show is known for having height and stairs, which I incorporated into each scene. I developed a platform layout that was used as a base for each setting in the show. All that was needed to change the look was set dressings. For example, in the beginning with "Belle" the set was staged with walls of the town, a fountain, and a marketplace table. Then we transitioned to the castle where the walls flipped around to show castle walls painted in a french baroque style of molding.
The number that I started thinking of before anything else in my design process was "Be Our Guest." I knew from the start that I wanted it to be big and flashy. So what is the flashiest thing for a number like that but a giant 30'x16' silver mylar rain curtain.
Some of my favorite pieces however were simple. I love how the dungeon worked or Maurice. I built that into the structure of the platforms and added a piece made of dowels that was hinged and could swing open for the Beast to let him out. I also love how just adding some antlers and LED candles to the set with the massive Gaston chair made from cardboard tubes and dressed in antlers really created the tavern.