Weekly Feature



2018-03-14 / Front Page

Disney classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to come to life at Cardinal O’Hara

by JULIE HALM Correspondent


Jeremiah Martinez as LeFou sings to Kale Klis, who portrays Gaston, during a rehearsal of “Beauty and the Beast” at Cardinal O’Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda. Performing in the background are Connor Gilmartin, Morgan Morehouse, Cloe Klis and Diana Dolan. The musical is scheduled to take place March 23-25. 
Photo by Julie HalmPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Jeremiah Martinez as LeFou sings to Kale Klis, who portrays Gaston, during a rehearsal of “Beauty and the Beast” at Cardinal O’Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda. Performing in the background are Connor Gilmartin, Morgan Morehouse, Cloe Klis and Diana Dolan. The musical is scheduled to take place March 23-25. Photo by Julie HalmPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com From an animated children’s tale to a live-action blockbuster, “Beauty and the Beast” has seen many iterations, and now the students of Cardinal O’Hara High School will be performing the tale as old as time.

For several of the student performers, the widespread familiarity people have with the story adds extra pressure to preparing their onstage rendition.

“I feel like it’s hard because so many people have seen the show before or even been in it,” said Jackson Bright, a senior who will play the Beast. “But it’s definitely thrilling because you want to put on a show they’ve never seen before.”

Bright isn’t the only one feeling trepidation because of the story’s popularity.

“It’s a Disney show, so everybody knows it,” said AJ Erick, a junior who will portray Lumiere. “There’s a standard to uphold.”

“It definitely brings huge pressure,” added Kale Klis, who is set to play Gaston.

While the show presents challenges, for some of the characters not everything has been an uphill battle.

Bright and Kathleen Dunne, who has landed the role of Belle in her junior year, are not just a dynamic duo in the show, but are also good friends off stage.

“I don’t think we had to go through the uncomfortable finding chemistry part,” said Dunne. “Also, we’re able to be honest with each other.”

For Klis, taking on this character means becoming an on-stage villain for the first time in his four years of participation in the school’s productions.

“I actually love it. I’ve never been the bad guy,” he said. “It’s a change from what I’m used to.”

Klis said that when he takes on a role, he attempts to truly become who he is attempting to portray and find parallels between himself and the character.

For Dunne, finding such parallels was a bit difficult.

“I’m nothing like Belle,” she said. “I have a little more sass, a little more edge.”

The junior said she does connect with Belle, who is an intellectual and not trying to fit into any mold.

While Dunne prepared for her role by learning every song during the summer months after the musical was announced at the end of the last school year, Erick had to prepare by learning a convincing French accent after he landed the part of Lumiere.

“I’ve always been able to sort of morph my voice,” he said. “It was really just hearing others doing it and figuring it out.”

While singing is a strong suit for Erick and the accent came with relative ease, the junior said he had a big adjustment in portraying a very charismatic member of the cast and that the notion of dancing choreographed numbers was entirely new to him.

No matter the challenges individual actors are facing, the cast has confidence in one another that they will put on an impressive show.

“We have the sense that we’re not the biggest school, so I think we all have that desire to be better than what people expect,” said Dunne.

And while she has faith in those with whom she will share the stage, they, likewise, believe in her.

“She’s going to kill it,” said Bright.

The musical will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, March 23; at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 24; and at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at Cardinal O’Hara High School, 39 O’Hara Road, Tonawanda.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students and seniors, and advance tickets can be purchased by calling 695-2600, ext. 310 or by sending in an order form, which can be found at www.cardinalohara.com.

Additionally, there will be a “Tea with Belle and Friends” event to take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 18, at the high school. Refreshments will be served, and parents will have the opportunity to take photos of their children as they meet their favorite characters. Tickets are $6, and reservations are required, which can be made by calling 695-2600, ext. 310 or by emailing mpierce@cardinalohara.com.

Return to top