Be their guest at ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2005

In 1991, Beauty and the Beast made cinematic history, becoming the first animated feature to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy award. Since then, it’s become a Disney on Ice show, and one of the longest-running stage productions on Broadway.

Beginning tonight, the story of a young woman named Belle and the monster she comes to love will find its own place in local history – it’s the first Disney production in the Hurrah Players’ 22 years.

&uot;This is the biggest event we’ve ever done,&uot; grinned artistic director Hugh Copeland. &uot;It appeals to every member of the family. There’s incredible sets and incredible costumes. If you’re doing Beauty and the Beast, you have to do it right.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

A huge cast, with bits of Suffolk sprinkled throughout, will make sure of it. Nansemond River students Sara Fahringer and Jason Hilton are in the background during several of the songs that made the flick great, such as the Oscar-winning &uot;Beauty and the Beast&uot; and the nominated &uot;Belle&uot; and &uot;Be Our Guest.&uot;

&uot;I like knowing that I’m up there, entertaining all those kids,&uot; Fahringer said after a production for several schoolchildren early Thursday (she’s most visible as one of the three women that fawns over musclestud snob Gaston, who battles the Beast for Belle). &uot;I had to pipe my voice up, and I have about a thousand pins in my hair from this wig.

&uot;I watched the movie 24-7 when I was getting ready,&uot; she said. &uot;When I was in a car, I’d listen to the soundtrack. Every little part helps.&uot;

Hilton’s in the background during the bar scene, when everyone’s praising Gaston.

&uot;I just try to act like a normal person,&uot; said the 14-year-old. &uot;We’re all drunk and having fun, and I want to give people a good idea of what’s going on.&uot;

What type of talent is required to play a stick of butter? Ask Samantha Jervey, 11, who plays the yellow culinary during &uot;Be Our Guest.&uot;

&uot;It was fun learning the words,&uot; said the Southampton Middle School student. &uot;I smile a lot, because it makes the audience happy.&uot;

The play is at the Roper Theater in Norfolk, and runs to Oct. 16. For information, contact the Players at 627-5437 or Ticketmaster at 671-8100.