Mercy’s spring musical: ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Junior+Maddie+Surowiec+and+senior+Caitlin+Griffin+get+ready+for+the+opening+show.+Photo+by+Emily+Walugembe

Junior Maddie Surowiec and senior Caitlin Griffin get ready for the opening show. Photo by Emily Walugembe

Emily Walugembe and Megan Mallie

Dancing dishes, a singing wardrobe, and a motherly teapot debuted on Mercy’s stage on March 6-9 as Mercy’s theater department brought a ‘tale as old as time’ to life with its spring musical, “Beauty and the Beast”. Each show was tremendously entertaining with the audience laughing, clapping, and singing along. 

Junior Maddie Surowiec played the starring role of Belle and wowed the audience with her astounding voice. Candice Threat, also a junior, portrayed the charming Mrs. Potts also won the audience over with the title song, “Beauty and the Beast” .

“My goal was to get a leading role in high school, but at first I didn’t think I was going to because everyone was so amazing,” said Threat. “Having a leading role came with its challenges, but I’d definitely do it again if I got the chance.”

Senior Caitlin Griffin, who played Babette, enjoyed her time in the show by taking on a character as confident and sassy as Babette. Compared to her first role in the ensemble for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Babette is very glamorous and confident, and Griffin had a lot of fun taking on her character. 

“[Being a part of Mercy theater] was stressful at some parts, but overall I look back at it fondly,” said Griffin. “I made a lot of friends and had a good time.”

Certainly without its cast of talented and hard-working students as well as dedicated staff members and directors, the play would not have been possible. However, an often overlooked group of people who work just as diligently as those in the spotlight are Mercy’s crew members who keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.

Junior Olivia Palm has been a member of costume crew since the spring musical of her freshman year, and is now costume crew head. Costume crew duties begin in November for one day a week, and about a month before the spring musical, crew meets every day from after school until 7:30 p.m. The time commitment can seem overwhelming to some, but according to Palm, the lifelong memories outweigh the stress she often experienced.

“I did not think I would be involved in the theater department at all,” said Palm. “But one day I decided to give it a go and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I definitely recommend joining costume crew, or any other theater crew.” 

Another vital aspect of the musical is the physical set, which stage crew is responsible for perfecting. Senior Sarah Ellsworth has been on Mercy crew for two years, and Beauty and the Beast marks her fourth and final performance. She feels pride when she sees the set she helped to create being used by the actors. 

“Crew is so important because you can’t have the musical without it,” said Ellsworth. “There would be no setting, no life, no vibrancy to the play without it. Without a crew, it’s people saying words on a stage with nothing around them to interact with and nothing to give them personality.”

Additionally, the lighting crew manages an essential aspect of the musical. Some of Sophomore Kristen Piziali’s lighting crew responsibilities include: adjusting the background lights and the lighting color changes, positioning the spotlight when it is needed, and timing the lighting shifts, which also serve as a cue for the actors onstage. Something the lighting crew also manages is color changes they decide, based on the emotion being portrayed during a particular scene. 

“All the hard work is [worth it] so that when you see [the show], it’s when it all comes together,” said Piziali. “When the lights come in it just brings a whole new level of energy, [and] makes it more magical when you watch it.”