BAMtheatre puts on youth movie-musical of 'Beauty & the Beast'

BAMtheatre puts on youth movie-musical of 'Beauty & the Beast'

  • Belle reads to the Beast in BAMtheatre's movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast"

    Belle reads to the Beast in BAMtheatre's movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast" Courtesy of CM Stage Photography

  • Triplet sisters Paulette, Claudette and Laurette swoon over Gaston during BAMtheatre's musical-movie production of "Beauty & the Beast"

    Triplet sisters Paulette, Claudette and Laurette swoon over Gaston during BAMtheatre's musical-movie production of "Beauty & the Beast" Courtesy of CM Stage Photography

  • The kitchen utensils get their turn during the "Be Our Guest!" song during the movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast" by BAMtheatre's Broadway Kids.

    The kitchen utensils get their turn during the "Be Our Guest!" song during the movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast" by BAMtheatre's Broadway Kids. Courtesy of CM Stage Photography

  • Lumiere leads the cast in "Be Our Guest!" during BAMtheatre's movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast."

    Lumiere leads the cast in "Be Our Guest!" during BAMtheatre's movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast." Courtesy of CM Stage Photography

  • Gaston makes his introduction during the movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast" by BAMtheatre's Broadway Kids.

    Gaston makes his introduction during the movie-musical production of "Beauty & the Beast" by BAMtheatre's Broadway Kids. Courtesy of CM Stage Photography

  • Castle maid Fifi gets turned into a feather duster by the Enchantress' spell.

    Castle maid Fifi gets turned into a feather duster by the Enchantress' spell. Courtesy of CM Stage Photography

 
Submitted by BAMtheatre
Updated 11/11/2020 11:21 AM

In response to the stay-at-home and social distancing orders implemented by the COVID-19 pandemic, BAMtheatre has creatively adapted its musical theater programming while still providing educational theater experiences for students in elementary through high school.

One of these programs is the Broadway Kids program, which just finished a socially-distant, masked movie-musical of "Beauty & the Beast" this past weekend.

 

BAM, which is based in Hinsdale, converted the Student Center of the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills into a soundstage, outfitted with curtains, full lighting and sound equipment, sets and props, and fully costumed actors.

More than 100 students signed up for the Broadway Kids program this fall.

BAM created three casts of 40 students, with a creative team leading each cast to ensure that there was adequate room for students and staff to be socially distant at all times.

Each cast began rehearsals for their production in September. Students were regularly taken for outdoor breaks to allow air to recirculate and for sanitization of major touch points in the rehearsal room, and the larger group of 40 students was divided into smaller groups during rehearsal time to further keep distance a priority.

At all times throughout rehearsal and production, all students and staff were fully masked.

"Though our process looked different on a technical level, what remained consistent and unchanged from shows past was our connection to each other. The students brought such amazing energy and positivity to the experience, and were still able to create bonds and lasting friendships with each other in a supportive environment, and I believe that putting on this show was so necessary for them to have a slice of normalcy in these stressful times," said Claire Drews, one of the program's directors.

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"I am so grateful to our actors, staff, and family members who made the show possible. I think we can all safely say that this will be an experience to remember for a long time."

As with all of their in-person programming, BAM's staff continually monitors new information coming from the Centers for Disease Control, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the DuPage County Health Department in order to make important calls for their programs.

None was more daunting than the decision to film the three productions two weeks earlier than planned, since COVID cases have been rising in Illinois. Originally, the production was supposed to be filmed the weekend of Nov. 20-23, but BAM made the call to film all three casts' performances Saturday, Nov. 7, to ensure that the students would be able to have a final performance.

"A lot of thought went into producing this show, from its inception to deciding to film it early," said Jena Sugai, BAM's managing director.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"In March, when the shutdown happened, we had to cancel two weekends of 'Sound of Music' shows that we had been preparing for months. There were students who never got to perform what they had been working so hard to achieve. It was heartbreaking for the staff, and even more so for the students and their families. We wanted to do everything in our power to protect this from happening again," Sugai said.

The performances were filmed from multiple angles and are now in the process of being edited together. The final edited movie-musicals will be released as ticketed, live streamed virtual events later in December.

For additional information on BAM, its programs, and health and safety policies, visit www.bamtheatre.com.

The Broadway Kids program provides students the opportunity to study the fundamentals of theater performance and also rehearse and perform a musical theater work. The focus of this program is on skill building, and allowing students to discover all that goes into putting on a show -- from the initial beginnings of auditions and rehearsals to tech and performances.

For more information, visit www.bamtheatre.com.

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