Backstage at Beauty and the Beast

By Claire Wilson 

April 25, 2024

On Friday, MBHS Drama Club began the opening weekend of their spring musical, Beauty and the Beast, starring Josephine Davis as Belle and Elliot Miranda as the Beast. The Friday night show was a success, with 177 in attendance. The following day, a matinee and evening show boasted 224 total attendees. Although the show went smoothly onstage, what was going on backstage?

Costume crew head Gabi White, who has been part of costume crew since last year’s The Addams Family and lead since Alice in Wonderland, had her hands full throughout the weekend, with several quick costume changes and last minute alterations. Throughout the show, she and her crew helped several actors change costumes in the stage’s wings, sometimes in as short as 30 seconds. “One of the rental dresses that we have, it's a green skirt for Belle,” she explains, “and when we have that quick change at the beginning of Act Two, it's like, really intense because the skirt just always malfunctions and we can't get it tight enough because it literally is like, physically impossible to get it that tight.” Apart from her frustrations with Belle’s skirt, White also had to deal with several alterations during the Thursday dress rehearsal, such as the addition of skirt ties and buttons. Overall, White did an excellent job working with the costumes, which were rented from Costume Holiday House. “It was really exciting to see everything that I had been working up to for the past few weeks come to life,” she says, “And even if it was just putting some costume pieces together for the last few weeks, the rentals came in and they were beautiful. So I'm really glad about that.”

Gabi White peeks out from her costume rack
Babette (Jocelyn Ocampo-Mateo) and Lumiere (Emerson Jaquay) pose during a matinee
From left to right: Elliot Miranda, Caleb Hudson, Gavin Jansen, Finnix Salmon, Marley Newton. 
Prop master Savanah Hibbert and costume designer Gabrielle White

Makeup crew lead Emerson Jaquay seems to have had a less stressful tech week, despite also playing an important role in the cast, Lumiere. “I would say makeup is definitely one of the easier crew design jobs because you can make spontaneous changes in the moment, which is what I did a lot during tech week,” she says, “I definitely made a lot of last minute changes that resulted in different designs and I'm glad I did [makeup] because that's part of it and I enjoy it.” Before shows, she does many of the characters’ makeup, which often involves making characters look older or like animals or inanimate objects. This time, she says the most difficult makeup to design was her own. “I had no idea what to do for it for the longest time. And I was just genuinely confused until I eventually figured it out. And everybody said it looks really good. So I took it and I ran with it.”

For most of the actors, tech week was imperative in smoothing out rough spots in their singing, dancing, and acting. “I think the technique actually got pretty successful,” says Angus McNellie, who plays Lefou. “Especially since the week before everyone was freaking out that we weren't prepared enough and didn’t have enough time, but it ended up going really well especially considering how huge the set is and how weird the light and sound cues are, so I'm actually really impressed with everyone.” Although 5 ½ hour rehearsals for 5 days in a row can seem exhausting, and usually are, they are also incredibly productive and necessary to help the show come together in the days leading up to opening night. “It's a fun way to bond with other kids, and it's a minor stretch for all the work that you put in for a show,” says Josephine Davis, who plays Belle. “It's hard to keep up with homework because I usually get home at like 9:30 but it's super fun.” 

On Thursday, the drama club will do an audience-free pick up show to refresh their memory after a week without rehearsals. They will perform on Friday at 7 pm and on Saturday at 2pm and 7 pm. Tickets can be purchased on their website