Although theater manager and director Dominic Cattero is excited about the opening of Batavia High School's first play in the new Batavia Fine Arts Centre, he says the production has not been without its challenges.
"It has been a joy as well as a great learning curve," Cattero said.
If you goWhat: Batavia High School's production of "Beauty and the Beast"
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3-5; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6
Where: Batavia Fine Arts Centre, 1201 W. Wilson St.
Tickets: Purchase online for $11-$13, through the box office or by phone for $13-$15
Details: (630) 937-8600; bataviafineartscentre.org
"Beauty and the Beast" opens today, Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre, 1201 Main St., and runs through Sunday.
For many years Batavia High School drama students performed in the cafeteria. An 890-seat theater is a completely different venue.
"Things are done a lot differently with an actual theater," Cattero said. "You have a lot more space; you have to fill the space."
But Cattero said the roughly 80 students that compose the cast and crew of "Beauty and the Beast" are "immensely" prepared to perform in the new venue.
"They have risen to the challenge," he said. "They have such exuberance."
The story of this musical will likely be familiar to most audience members, as it's similar to the Disney animated film. It is the love story of Belle, played by sophomore Kelsey Skomer, and the Beast, played by junior Connor Frederick. The Beast is trapped, along with his entire staff, in a spell that has enchanted his castle with dancing flatware and singing furniture.
In total, 44 BHS students and four Batavia grade school students will fill the stage.
The pit orchestra, directed by veteran BHS music teacher and band director John Heath, features 29 BHS students and pianist Melinda Rudy.
Cattero says "Beauty and the Beast" will showcase the new Batavia Fine Arts Centre's state-of-the-art features, including a digital sound board, computerized lighting system, hydraulic pit, and sophisticated staging equipment.
"We have some great technology -- some great surprises," Cattero promises. "The audience is not going to know what hit them."
If you plan to attend, however, Cattero suggests buying tickets as soon as possible, as the show is nearly sold out. As of Monday, only 528 seats were left, out of the 3,500 total for the show's run.
A breakfast with Disney characters from the play, set for Saturday morning at the fine arts center, has sold out completely.
Cattero, a 1999 BHS alum, has directed 27 productions throughout his career.
Joining Cattero and Heath on "Beauty and the Beast" is the same directorial team that collaborated on BHS' April production of "Little Shop of Horrors": vocal director Christina Virgilio, BHS choral director/teacher; choreographer Tracy Adams; technical director Mike Baglieri, a 2009 BHS alum; and assistant technical director Michelle Heronemus, a 2005 BHS alum.
"Beauty and the Beast" marks the final time Heath will direct the pit orchestra for a BHS production. He will retire at the end of the school year after having led 21 BHS pit orchestras over 19 years.