CPS Announces Disney's 'Beauty & the Beast' as 2012 Summer Musical


CPS will present Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” July 31 to Aug. 4 in Snell Theater on the SUNY Potsdam campus.

Community Performance Series is proud to announce its 2012 summer musical: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” one of Broadway’s modern classics, inspired by the Oscar-winning animated version of the age-old fairy tale.

“Beauty and the Beast” will be presented from Tuesday, July 31 to Saturday, Aug. 4 in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. The stage version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature and includes all of the wonderful songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with new songs by Menken and Tim Rice.

The musical transports audiences to the heart of provincial life in a lovely French town. When Maurice becomes lost in the woods on the way to the fair, he seeks shelter in an old castle, but the master of the castle is a horrible beast that takes him captive. Maurice’s daughter, Belle, must then give up her freedom to save his life. Belle’s taming of the unfortunate Beast and his ultimate transformation back into a handsome prince enthralled audiences for more than 13 years, as one of the longest-running shows on Broadway.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” marks the return of the summer musical for CPS, after being dark last summer due to theater renovations. CPS has been producing summer musicals since its first production of “Forever Plaid” in 2004.

“We are very much looking forward to working with old and new friends this summer,” said CPS Executive Director Amy Flack. “We are pleased to offer local actors, musicians and backstage crew members the chance to work alongside colleagues from theaters across the country, to produce a high-quality production for the enjoyment of our community.”

The production will be directed by Chad Larabee, a New York City-based director. Larabee’s credits include the Off-Broadway revival of Garson Kanin’s “Dreyfus in Rehearsal” and the world-premiere of the musical “POPart.” Other New York credits include “Good Good Trouble on Bad Bad Island,” “Do Not Disturb,” and “Molineaux.” He also directed the London premiere of “Ain’t We Got Fun” and the world premiere of a new adaptation of “Great Expectations,” which he also wrote. Larabee is a proud graduate of the University of Iowa and Florida State University, where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in directing.

The production’s artistic team features several community professionals, as well as designers from around the United States. CPS will bring back local Music Director Sara Simon-Shult and Orchestra Conductor Tim Savage, who both served in those roles for the 2010 production of “Annie.” Alexis Foster, the costume shop manager for SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Theatre and Dance, will serve as the costume designer. Annmarie Duggan will return to Potsdam as lighting designer, having previously worked as resident lighting designer for multiple seasons at the former Music Theater North. Duggan has designed Off-Broadway and extensively in regional theaters across America, designing lights for more than 300 productions. Jim Wildman of Canton will serve as sound designer. In addition to his work on several previous CPS musicals, Wildman is internationally known in the fields of opera, ballet and drama. Julia Noulin-Merat, the director of design and production for the Boston-based Guerilla Opera and the resident set designer for two New York City-based theater companies, will round out the design team as scenic designer.

Auditions for the musical will be held on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. More information on casting and requirements will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Tickets for this production will go on sale for Producer’s Club members on Monday, April 16 and will be available for the general public on Monday, June 4. For more information on joining the Producer’s Club, please call CPS at (315) 267-2412.

The CPS production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, administered in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.

The Community Performance Series is a college-community partnership presenting world-class performing artists and arts education opportunities in Northern New York. CPS has been in residence at SUNY Potsdam since 1989.

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of only three arts campuses in the entire SUNY system. SUNY Potsdam’s arts curriculum offers the full palette: music, theatre, dance, fine arts and creative writing. No matter the discipline, people from all backgrounds can find their creative compass at Potsdam, with myriad arts immersion experiences available for both campus and community.