FORT MILL --
The Nation Ford High School Performing Arts Company will open its spring musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” for a four-day run beginning 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
The other shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday, and Saturday and at 3 p.m. matinee Sunday.
The process of planning and rehearsing the show has been going on for months.
“A lot of time and consideration was given to the selection process of choosing the spring musical,” said Patti Mercer, the company’s public relations representative, and the mother of Mallory Mercer, who will play Belle in the musical.
“We wanted a show that would be family friendly, showcase and match the talent within our school and, at the same time, be challenging and entertaining – a tall order for sure!”
“Beauty and the Beast” is sure to capture the talents of every cast member, with several dynamic characters.
“Although ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is titled after the main characters, there are lots of entertaining characters within the framework of the story. Plus, the musical score is truly beloved Disney, which is known for it’s magic of making everyone’s heart feel a little warmer,” Mercer said.
The production is directed by Cheri Addison, the drama teacher at Nation Ford, and several adult volunteers are involved, but students have done most of the legwork in bringing the script to the stage.
“The set design and construction is all done in house by the students,” Mercer said.
“The spring musical provides an opportunity to bridge the talents of the art department as they draw and paint the sets, and the IT department as they design the marketing poster as an individual class project. Matt Drescher, identical twin of Brian Drescher, who plays the Beast, is the set designer and construction manager.”
The shows become a family affair with parents like Mercer and the Dreschers’ father putting in after school hours as well.
“Costumes are being ordered from a company specializing in authentic designs for ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ With the pageantry of Cogsworth and Lumiere it was very important to have quality, believable costumes,” Mercer said.
“My favorite memory is when everyone is trying on costumes. It brings magic to the show,” said Ha Bui, 18, a senior at Nation Ford and fourth year member of the performing arts department.
Though many happy memories are made, they do not come without hours of rehearsals.
“The cast has been rehearsing since January with rehearsals almost everyday,” Mercer said.
“The week of the show, the cast will be running the show every night with full makeup, tech, and costumes. Technical work also begins early. It is vital for everyone involved in the production to attend rehearsals whether you’re on stage or behind the curtain.”
Before purchasing a $10 ticket, or $8 in the case of students, possible attendees may wonder who their money is going to benefit. One of the major goals for the musical is to raise funds for the performing arts company at Nation Ford High School.
“Due to budget cuts, many areas of education have felt the pinch, placing a tremendous need for ticket sales and support from our community. Our goal is to sell out every performance,” Mercer said.
“I would love to have a full house for at least one show,” said Bui.
The students, parents, and faculty at Nation Ford are confident in the show and it’s ability to win over the community’s hearts.
“There are always challenges and unforeseen bumps on the road to opening night. At times you wonder if it will ever gel, and somehow it always does,” Mercer said.
“The talent at Nation Ford, under the direction of Cheri Addison, is topnotch. She is more than a drama teacher; she is a friend, coach and confidant. These kids are striving for excellence inspired by the material, the community, and the hopes of creating lasting memories in the hearts of those who come to see Beauty and the Beast.”
As another spring show hits the stage, senior cast members prepare to say goodbye and apply their lessons learned to the next phases of life.
“Doing the show has been wonderful,” Bui said before a dress rehearsal, one of her last days on the Nation Ford stage.
“Being a part of the theatre department has opened many doors. As of this week I have been accepted to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and Los Angeles.”