Tale As Old As Time: CTAA Presents “Beauty & the Beast”

McGwire Ishikawa , Reporter

From March 15 to 17 at the Pearl City Cultural Center, Central Theatre Arts Academy (CTAA) will be performing the musical “Beauty and the Beast.” The show will be performed by students from MHS, alongside students from Castle High School, Radford High School, Kalani High School, Mililani Middle School, Mililani Kipapa Elementary School, Mililani Mauka Elementary School, Mililani ‘Ike Elementary and Mililani Waena Elementary. “Beauty and the Beast” follows Belle, an abnormal and beautiful townsperson, and the Beast, a cursed and heartless prince, who both fall in love.

    “I’m sure we’ve all seen the animated film and most people have probably seen the live action version, but the story is still new, fresh and timeless. This musical centers around a girl named Belle and her quest to find love and adventure. The story opens with a run down of what is at stake and how this enchanted castle came to be cursed. Ultimately, this musical communicates how love is blind and can overpower any evil,” said Junior Amelie Valenzuela who plays Belle.

    Though the musical is being presented to feel more modern, the production team is still trying to mix it with a fairy tale aspect. Designs for the costumes take inspiration from a wide variety of adaptations for “Beauty and the Beast,” not just the Disney version. “So with the costume, I’m having the students dig into inspiration about how they would see dressing an actor into this. So we did a lot of research in time period, ‘What were they wearing back then,’ based on the play we’re doing, which is ‘Beauty and the Beast’,” said costume director Jennifer Fukino. “I’ve seen different types of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ different forms of it being done. I’ve taken inspiration from all of it and tried to meld it and see how it worked for us here.”

    In Fall of 2018, CTAA presented “Rent: School Edition,” a musical that contained very mature topics. The upcoming musical goes back to a more light-hearted and family friendly theme, with the hopes of inspiring a future generation to pursue theatre. “I think what I like about that is I feel like I’m giving the most opportunity to kids. With “Rent”, the idea behind that was that it was more of a play and a musical that high school kids could enjoy, and they would feel proud to be part of because of the mature themes and the style of the musical. For that, I was able to stretch them in that way. Now, switching it to a musical that’s family friendly, I’m giving a different kind of experience to families and to other kids, even young kids from ages of third grade, who can be a part of it as well. I feel like I’m giving a lot of different kids opportunities because the drastic changes of styles of play or musical,” said director Carolyn Taira. Valenzuela added, “Honestly, I love doing any type of show and I find value in both mature as well as fun-loving plays. It does feel great and I’m happy to be doing another Disney show since I love Disney so much. Also, I feel happy with getting to do a more kid friendly show because we’ll get to expose children into the theatre world. It’s exciting that we can maybe spark interest in younger audiences to try singing, acting, dancing, or all three.”

    The cast and crew have been working hard to make sure everything comes together in the end. They are also looking forward to putting out an entertaining show for their community. “I hope that they come out to support these students in the show as they did for ‘Rent’ this past September. We had great audiences in the fall for “Rent,” and I hope to see our house full again for “Beauty and the Beast,” said music director Kristi Higuchi-Delos Santos. Fukino added, “I would say just come and support the talent that comes from not only Mililani High School, but the other schools from the actors and especially the kids who have put in a lot of hard work.”

    There will be a 7:00 p.m. showing on March 15 and 16, as well as 2:00 p.m. showings on March 16 and 17. Student admission is currently set at $8, while general admission will be $18. Tickets will be available at the door or online at https://m.bpt.me/