Zillah High School’s Z Center Stage Theater Company has consistently put on amazing shows for audiences who come to see their plays. The school’s recent spring show, “Beauty and The Beast,” showed me what brilliance these students hold in their talents.
I traveled to Zillah with two friends to see the final showing of the musical, which ran at the school May 2-4 and 9-11. While the cast was preparing their last performance, I went backstage for an opportunity to interview some of the performers and crew to gain their insights about putting on this recent show.
Zillah senior Timothy Leslie, who played the Beast in his farewell with his high school’s drama program, remarked: “I was so happy when I got this (role), because this was my favorite Disney movie as a child, and this is literally my dream.”
Brantley Bryan, the sophomore who played Belle, said she had two goals she hoped to achieve through the experience: “I’m hoping that I can entertain. I’m hoping I can grow as an actor.”
Sophomore Noah Harveaux said he was excited to play the sentient talking clock, Cogsworth, noting: “This is probably my favorite musical that I’ve done in my acting career so far.”
Cameron Wertenberger, a junior who played both a shepherd boy and the candlestick Lumiere, said: “Lumiere is an extremely fun part, and I’ve been a French character before. I was Clouseau in ‘The Pink Panther Strikes Again,’ which was also a very fun one.”
Wertenberger added: “When I first started drama, I wasn’t planning on ever doing musicals because I didn’t think I was good enough at singing, so getting a lead part and doing well with it is very nice. It is nice to be able to put so much of yourself into something like this because it’s a lot to sing and dance and be in the character.”
Regarding the preparation involved in something like “Beauty and the Beast,” Wertenberger pointed out: “For musicals, it’s always kind of crazy. For plays it’s much less so, because it’s lines and blocking. But for this it’s lines, blocking, dancing, singing, character stuff.”
Sophomore props master Macey Emery had this to say about the cast: “It felt really good to have our actors go out there and do solos and do funny bits and get that big of an uproar of applause. Everybody was just in so high spirits.”
As a play enthusiast, I can claim with full confidence that Zillah’s students showed their amazing talents through every bit of this play. Their performances were very impressive, and the show was loyal to the cartoon adaptation through its Broadway adaptation.
Belle was such a gentle character, which was a good contradiction to the silly and mischievous characters, especially the somber and misunderstood Beast. Characters such as Lumiere and Cogsworth enlightened the audience with laughter. Harveaux was incredible with his role as Cogsworth, and completely sold his performance through cartoonish mannerisms and wonderful articulation.
Together, the students provided very strong dancing and singing, each student giving their full potential into that last performance. The music and acting gave me goosebumps at more than one time. Additionally, I was entranced by the colorful scenery.
My own favorite part in the Zillah play was the song “Gaston.” I was very excited to see the students perform this scene, and was so proud of how they entertained the audience. The character of LeFou, as portrayed by Kyle Fergus, often left me in tears laughing.
“Everyone did amazing,” Harveaux said after the final show. “We’re ending on the best note possible, I think.”