Tale as old as time

Published 9:37 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Community theater group to perform ‘Beauty and the Beast’


The beauty and the beast will be just a portion of the sound on stage for this year’s musical production at Marion Ross Performing Arts Theater.

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“I think we have really, really outstanding chorus and leads,” director Gordy Handeland said of the cast. “…It’s going to be a really big sound.”

Mollie Mickelson, who plays Belle in Albert Lea Community Theatre’s “Beauty and the Beast,” said the audience can expect some big en masse pieces thanks to the ensemble — but Handeland said he only has to fit the entire cast on stage one time.

Handeland said there are 54 people cast in the show, which opens Thursday. Those 54 were part of 104 total people to audition, Handeland said.

“That’s probably the most ever (to) audition,” he said. Several of those in the musical will be veteran actors, but there are some new ones from Mason City, Clear Lake, Waseca and New Richland coming to Albert Lea to participate.

Steve Stoneking and Mollie Mickelson play the father-daughter pairing of Maurice and Belle in the upcoming production of “Beauty and the Beast.” – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

“I don’t think we have a weak link in it,” Handeland said of the production.

The cast size means ensemble pieces will be some big action on a smaller stage.

“It should be pretty eventful for the audience,” Handeland said. “I think the audience is really going to like it.”

The stage will also have a movable set, which Handel said he hopes will make seamless transitions. Accompaniment will be provided live by a seven-member pit orchestra.

Lisa Sturtz and Joshua Brooks play Mrs. Potts and Chip, a mother-and-son duo who have been turned into a teapot and a teacup. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Alex Johnson, who plays the Beast, said the cast will be putting all of their effort into the show.

“They know the story,” Johnson said. “How can we tell it a little differently?”

And in doing so, Mickelson said she believes the show will engage the audience.

“The audience will be drawn into the variety of emotions the show has,” she said.

“Beauty and the Beast” will be performed Thursday through Sunday and from July 18 through 21 at Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

Andrew Anderson, playing the role of Gaston, rehearses a scene from “Beauty and the Beast” with Grace Chalmers, Emma Martinson and Lydia Saxton. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune


Tickets, please

What: “Beauty and the Beast”

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and July 18-21, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Marion Ross Performing Arts Center

Cost: $20 for adults and $10 for students

More info.: Tickets can be purchased by phone at 1-877-730-3144, online at actonbroadway.com, at the box office or at the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau

Chris Martens, left, as Lumiere and Alex Johnson as the Beast rehearse a scene from Albert Lea Community Theatre’s upcoming production of “Beauty and the Beast.” – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune


Cast list

Belle: Mollie Mickelson

Maurice: Steve Stoneking

Gaston: Andrew Anderson

Lefou: Jenni Martin

Monsieur D’Arque:  Patrick Menning

Cogsworth: Travis Nemec

Lumiere: Chris Martens

Babette: Rachel Hall

Mrs. Potts: Lisa Sturtz

Madame Bouche: Sue Jorgensen

Chip: Joshua Brooks

The Beast: Alex Johnson

Silly Girls: Grace Chalmers, Emma Martinson, Lydia Saxton

Adult Women Ensemble:  Maegan Boyer, Isabelle Brown, Christy Compton, Deborah Dyvig, Julia Dyvig, Zsofi Eastvold, Charley Fleek, Elizabeth Harty, Gretta Larson, Erin Lowe, Tierney Murtaugh, Christie Ness, Natania Raatz, Krista Reeder, Betsy Smith, Julie Stoneking, Carley Talamantes

Adult Men Ensemble:  Nikolai Brinda, Patrick Carew, Jareth Cross, Braden Deal, Ethen Eriksmoen, Matt Larson, Kyle Nelson, Ian Olson, Logan Peterson, Tony Segura (Baker), Donovin Weber, Luke Zacharias (Book seller)

Children Ensemble:  Callie Brownlee, Maya Fuller, Conner Hanson, Natalie Raatz, Noah Raatz, Makenna Reeder, Elizabeth Romano, Nora Smith, Brooke Tufte, Ava Wangsness

Mollie Mickelson as Belle and Steve Stoneking as Maurice rehearse a scene from the upcoming production of “Beauty and the Beast.” – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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