I went to my local hardware store the other day only to discover a flyer for an upcoming production of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” posted on the sliding glass doors at the front of the store — thrilled to see the business showing support for local student activities.
I learned after calling the contact on the flyer that Saguaro High School is performing “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” Feb. 29-March 2 at 7pm. They’re performing in the school auditorium and members of the public are welcome to attend. General admission tickets are $10 (at the door, or in advance at the school bookstore).
Marilyn Mumaw, who teaches in the theatre arts department at both Saguaro and Desert Mountain High Schools in Scottsdale, is directing the show — which involves about 100 students. Mumaw notes that there are more than 40 students in the cast.
A student orchestra will be playing in the pit, and students are also working backstage in various tech positions. The production involves students from every performing arts department at Saguaro High School — theater, choir, dance, orchestra and band.
“Every other year we do a large scale musical,” says Mumaw. They do a “mainstage musical” every fall — and tour a children’s production each January to local elementary schools and community sites such as homeless shelters.
The Saguaro High School students have been working on “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” for just under two months. Mumaw notes that they start off rehearsing close to three hours everyday weekday, and add more hours as opening night approaches.
Cast members are selected through an audition process, says Mumaw. One day they sing, the next day they read from the script. Cast members are chosen after callbacks. Mumaw says “it’s amazing how much kids grow” between the time they start rehearsing and the day they open the show.
Mumaw hails theater for helping students to “create a sense of self-identity and confidence,” noting that these are skills they’ll use “no matter what they go into.” She adds that theater teaches kids to work as a team, take initiative and act responsibly — sharing that theater kids also learn leadership and public speaking skills.
If you’re eager to support arts in education, encourage students who work hard to achieve a common goal and share the love with teachers who foster student creativity, head to Saguaro High School next week for a real high school musical.
Note: Desert Foothills Theater’s Teatro Gecko performs “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.” May 17-27. Click here for information on auditions taking place Feb. 24 & 25.
Coming up: More arts in education