Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991, part of a resurgence of Disney animated musicals in the late 1980s through the early 2000s. From the very beginning, the film adopted a theatrical tone, with a grand opening number featuring the full cast. For its voice talent, veteran Broadway performers lent their voices to bring these now classic characters to life: Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts, Jerry Orbach as Lumiere, David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth, Robby Benson as the Beast, Richard White as Gaston, and Paige O’Hara as Belle. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken filled the score with tunes that have now become unforgettable classic songs like, “Belle”, “Be Our Guest”, and the title song, “Beauty and the Beast”. The film went on to become the first animated film nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category.
The animated film was adapted into a stage musical that made its Broadway debut in 1994. It ran for 13 years and closed in 2007. Throughout its run, many famous singers played its iconic roles including Toni Braxton, Debbie Gibson, Donny Osmond, and Nick Jonas. In 2017, Beauty and the Beast was turned into a live-action film, starring Emma Watson as Belle, allowing a new generation to experience the magical story.
Coincidentally, my own introduction to Waukesha Civic Theatre started with Beauty and the Beast in 2008. Braving a snowy evening in an unfamiliar city, I drove to WCT to audition for my dream role: LeFou (Gaston’s sidekick). Being new to the city and new to community theatre, I felt very much like Belle upon entering the castle. I was nervous, unsure of expectations, and a little bit scared. While I ended up not being in that production, I was welcomed with open arms by the wonderful people here at WCT, just as Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Chip welcomed Belle. In no time at all, I found myself at home.
Beauty and the Beast has cast a magic spell on generations that is as enchanting as the talking objects found within the Beast’s castle. It is only fitting that the film returns to its theatrical roots as part of the PIX Flix Kids series. Get your tickets today for this iconic film!
Beauty and the Beast truly is a tale as old as time.
Welcome to Alice In Wonderland JR. at the Waukesha Civic Theatre presented by our A.C.T. program. Join Alice as she chases the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and journeys through a topsy-turvy world that gets “curiouser and curiouser.” Meet the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, the Cheshire Cat, March Hare, Caterpillar, the flowers, Doorknob, Queen & King of Hearts and more unforgettable characters as they take to the stage.
This fun-filled tale is being performed by students aged 6-17 and they are having a great time. These students come to Waukesha Civic to experience participating in a Mainstage show. They get the experience of going through an audition process in a safe and encouraging environment. This program gives each student the opportunity to participate, as they are all guaranteed a role in the production. They are taught how to support their fellow actor friends and how to handle disappointment and to realize that all roles are important to make a show complete. Once casting is finished, the students go through a full rehearsal process and gain a better understanding and appreciation of everything that goes into a Mainstage production. This program wants every student to grow and gain confidence in their stage skills.
I have an older child that started in the summer A.C.T. Production shows about 5 or 6 years ago now. Her experience was amazing as she took to the stage and I watched her confidence grow. The support she received and the skills she learned are helping her in her current performances as well as helped shape her into the person she is today. So, it was no question to me when my next 2 daughters wanted to try acting as to where to send them. They are both in this Alice In Wonderland JR. production and once again the encouragement, skills training, and support from the directors and other kids is building their confidence and they LOVE coming to rehearsal 5 days a week in the middle of summer.
When I asked my 9-year-old daughter about her experience in the show, she said: “It is amazing! Just being here and being able to be a part of the show is amazing. You get to be someone else. You get to see a whole different side of yourself. And you get to try new things. Everyone in the show is so supportive which makes it fun and more comfortable.”
I realized, from observing my own children, that each of these kids may have overcome an obstacle to be on this stage today. They may have stage fright, extreme shyness, anxiety, or they might just be a natural performer who is working on enhancing their skills. This stage experience, along with the entire A.C.T. program at Waukesha Civic Theatre, is helping to shape their futures. Check out our theatre website for additional A.C.T. program opportunities.
Thank you for supporting the A.C.T. program. Sit back and enjoy the show!
Francis Annan Affotey was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. After graduating from Ghanatta College of Art and Design winning Best Student of Still Life, Best Imagination and Composition, and Best Abstract Drawing awards, Annan joined the Revolution Art Organization and displayed his work in several group and solo exhibitions in Accra. In 2013, Annan helped found the African Young Artist Organization (AYAO), an organization dedicated to supporting African youth in the arts through programs and exhibitions. Since coming to the United States, Annan has displayed his work around Wisconsin, New York, and Miami, was a Pfister Artist-in-Residence finalist, and has worked in Milwaukee Public Schools with Arts@Large.
As a child in Accra, “poses” were part of daily life. I was surrounded by women peeling oranges, carrying head pans, and braiding hair. Children played in the dirt, invented games, took care of siblings, and cooked with their mothers. I did not realize at the time how much these images or poses had a lasting impression in my mind; little did I know how important they were in revealing the “secret” joys of which millions of Africans are familiar yet to which much of the world remains blind.
I use poses to expose the paradox of everyday African life. By depicting a pose as semiabstract, my paintings highlight both the mundane and the joy in everyday African life. Images that seem pitiful or sad to the outside world have much deeper implications. A woman feeding her family suggests pride, not inferiority. A child playing in a slum suggests friendship and imagination, not hopelessness. My artwork is meant to challenge those who only see Africa through the lenses of conflict, poverty, and corruption.
Since coming to Milwaukee, my work has explored stories with more universal themes, as I connect my past with my present. Milwaukee introduced me to many new cultures with surprising differences and even more surprising similarities to those back home. The similarities and differences have led me to use new media, new techniques, and new concepts.
Francis Annan Affotey
125 E. Wells St #403
Milwaukee, WI 53202