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Beauty and the Beast
GBHS fall play opens Sunday
Daniel Abbott is the Beast in the Great Bend High School fall theater production, “Beauty and the Beast,” which can be seen Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at the GBHS Auditorium. - photo by Susan Thacker

Great Bend High School’s fall play, “Beauty and the Beast,” will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, and at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 12-13.

GBHS drama teacher Holly Johnson, who directs the production, said this isn’t necessarily the version of “Beauty and the Beast” that audiences are familiar with.

“While still a fairy tale, the original production that our students will be performing is darker than the Disney version,” she said. “With underlying themes addressing identity and acceptance, characters wrestle with the beast inside before reaching their happily ever after.”

“It’s more like the original Grimm fairy tale version,” said McKalyla Williams, who plays Iris, one of Beauty’s two sisters. “There are going to be different twists than people would normally expect.”

Williams said she’s seen all of the Disney versions of the classic story, but hadn’t read Grimm’s fairy tale that inspired it.

The cast includes 17 talented students, Johnson said, including Bayle Sandy as Beauty and Daniel Abbott as the Beast. The production will be held at the Great Bend High School Auditorium, 2027 Morton. Tickets can be purchased in advance from cast members for $4 each, or they will be available at the door for $6 each.

Other cast members include Patrick Heath, Thain Bowman, Deizel Carey, Jadon Ward, Jalyn Lear, Robert Brining, Hayden Honomichl, Payton Doll, Anh-Nhi Trinh, Tatum Sander, Larissa Dias, Jacee Stevens, Lily Fellers and Olivia Petrik. 

Thursday evening, stage managers Allias Hartman and Lexy Fox were watching the rehearsals and keeping track of props. They talked about the elaborate set that the technical crew had built.

“We usually don’t have as many set pieces,” Fox said.

“The (two-story) house splits in half and it reveals the castle behind it,” Hartman said.

In addition to having meaty parts in the play, Patrick Heath and Bayle Sandy are partners on the GBHS debate team. Heath, who plays Beauty’s father, said they gave up attending most of the debate tournaments in November to work on the production. “We’ll do (debate) regionals in December,” he said.

Even minor roles require a lot of work. Trinh and Dias said it takes at least half an hour to put on makeup for their parts as beastly servants.