A “Tale as Old as Time” performed by the Hebrew Academy High School thrilled the crowd with their production of Beauty and the Beast last weekend. The costumes, set, singing, and cast charmed parents and children of all ages.
The show, based on an 18th century French fairy tale, tells the story of a selfish prince who was turned into a beast and must find true love to reverse the curse. The play is familiar to most due to Disney’s animated adaptation in 1991 and the live-action movie released last year.
The energy of the cast was contagious, evoking cheers and laughter from the audience throughout the show. Freshman Kaitlyn Lieber starred as Belle, the girl who wins over the beast and reverses the spell. Her sweet demeanor and beautiful voice portrayed the innocence of the character, while junior Avigail Kahn captured the strength and ferocity of the Beast.
Other actors who shined included Shayna Boymelgreen (12th grade) as Lumiere, who put on a flawless French accent and brought a comedic touch to the show. Eden Grosz (12th) as Cogsworth played the clock with humor and punch and Eliana Pollack (10th) as Mrs. Potts brought her majestic voice to the classic song “Tale as Old as Time.” Other strong characters were Natalie Alishayev (11th) as the sassy Babette, Mary Berkowitz (10th) as Belle’s father, Maurice, Adira Kahn (12th), as Gaston, and Sarah Attias (11th) as Le Fou. Kahn and Attias sparkled in the famously funny number “Gaston,” in which they comically cavorted across the stage.
One of the key moments of the show was the cast’s rendition of “Be Our Guest,” a lively song and dance number that included most of the actors. Choreographed by freshman Anna Hirsch and sophomore Deborah Winer, the act featured animated dancing and singing and was able to showcase the talent of the entire ensemble. One of the crucial components that made the show a success was the teamwork and unity of the cast, and this could be seen throughout the musical.
“The show was amazing, and you were able to see how the actors were really into it, and they were enjoying it and that made it more special,” said audience member Danelle Levi (10th).
The show was new Drama Director Phebe Hibshman’s first production with the school.
“I was thrilled with the play and the overall production of Beauty and the Beast at Hebrew Academy,” Hibshman said. “The students were wonderful and went above and beyond to bring the story to life. It was a privilege to work with such intelligent and thoughtful young women.”
The actors said they immersed themselves in the world of Beauty and the Beast and that they were thrilled with the results.
“I think it was a wonderful performance and our hard work paid off,” said Kaitlyn Lieber.
The show broke records as the highest attended Hebrew Academy production on a Sunday, according to Assistant Principal Dr. Dara Lieber.
“Everyone in the cast and crew worked so hard to make sure the show happened,” Eden Grosz said. “There were days when we were there for four hours to make the show what it was, and it was really gratifying to see it all come together on the stage.”