Clara MacLeod as Belle

Clara MacLeod as Belle

Beauty and the Beast opens tonight

Curtains up tonight at 7:30 p.m. McKim Theatre as Selkirk students present musical

The curtain rises tonight on another in a long line of student musical productions tonight at McKim Theatre as Selkirk Secondary presents Beauty and the Beast.

Cast and crew are all hoping for just as much success as in previous years when they presented such diverse shows as Legally Blond and Les Miserable.

Guiding students through all these productions has been music teacher Sven Heyde, and it has been a learning experience for him as much as for his students.

“I think my biggest piece of learning is simply that putting on a production involves juggling a great variety of vastly different things,” Heyde said. “Swinging a hammer while building set pieces and then an hour later wielding a baton. I guess I’ve just learned to enjoy that great diversity of demands.

“Difficulties and challenges centre around turning unrefined visions into reality. Sometimes I want to do something one way and am brought back to reality by the confines of the space or other considerations.

“One of my favourite things is to push the limits of what is possible. The McKim Theatre wasn’t designed to house musical productions, for example, and I enjoy approaching challenges from different perspectives to find solutions. The same goes for casting decisions and making a scene come to life. For example, Courtney Crawford is playing Gaston, as a girl, and while I didn’t see that when going into casting, I think it works great and has brought a new angle to the role.

“Certainly my biggest highlight though from all these productions is just watching the kids do something they didn’t know was possible, be better than they thought they could be.”

The students themselves agree.

“Being a lifelong Disney fan, getting to play Belle has been an absolute dream come true, and getting to be a part of this beautiful show with such a wonderful cast, crew, and director is something that I am incredibly thankful for,” said Clara Macleod, who plays the lead role, Belle. “Everybody has been working so hard and is genuinely passionate about what they’re doing, and I think it will definitely show.”

One of the things that really sets these productions apart is the participation of a live orchestra to accompany the students.

“The musicians continue to be amazing,” Heyde said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have several of the same faces back over the years. These are high-level players who definitely give up a lot of their time to help the students have an amazing experience. Conducting these fantastic groups is definitely a highlight for me every year. It’s a huge pleasure to work with them.”

Beauty and the Beast plays at McKim Theatre in Kimberley from tonight, May 20-23 at 7:30 p.m. nightly, with shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on May 23rd. Tickets are available at McKim School office in Kimberley and Lotus Books in Cranbrook, and at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and for the May 23rd matinée children 5 and under are free.