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Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Life as a Beast
This weekend is the final round for HART's Beauty and the Beast, so you just have a few more chances to catch that excellent production, which features the talented Levi Kelley in one of the title roles - the half of it that requires wearing an original, fierce mask.
You can read an excellent article about Levi right here - here's an excerpt:
It's not the kind of summer job most people would go for - ridiculously long hours running around, growling, singing and sweating in a hot and heavy furry costume with a mask and makeup that takes hours to apply and remove.
But when HART in the Park decided to take on the massive Disney production of the beloved musical "Beauty and the Beast," young theater veteran Levi Kelley, 23, who has been in such former HART in the Park productions as "Hairspray" and last year's "Wizard of Oz" as The Cowardly Lion, jumped at the chance.
"I've wanted to do it ever since I saw Ryan Hardiman in 2005," Kelley said. "It's a dream role like The Cowardly Lion was a dream role, but this is the ultimate dream role. I have been blessed with so many great roles, and I didn't think at first that I could do it, but Ryan has been so supportive of me and those are huge shoes to fill. I don't care what anyone else thinks just what Ryan Hardiman thinks as I have taken on this role. I'm transforming my personality into something animalistic, and just getting that stance down, my body hurts at the end of every night, and my hands are cramped from keeping them tense and clawlike."
With two big thumbs up from Hardiman, and from the rest of the theater community in Huntington, Kelley and the cast of "Beauty and the Beast" take to the stage for an upcoming final weekend that includes an unprecedented four nights of shows at Ritter Park Amphitheater.
The weekend festivities kick off Thursday, June 29, with a special early "Beauty and the Beast"-only performance that will start at 7 p.m., with gates opening at 6 p.m.
There will be no children's or adult pre-show for the June 29 performance. At intermission, the Choose Joy Players will serve lemonade to guests, host a "Moana" Princess Parade across the stage and play Beauty and the Beast trivia with the crowd. Because of the earlier time, this performance Beauty and the Beast offers an opportunity for families with small children to see this "tale as old as time" and still get the kids in bed at a somewhat reasonable time.
Rolling Friday through Sunday, June 30 through July 2, will be three full nights of performances as gates open at 7 p.m. for picnics with the children's Disney-themed pre-show at 7:30 p.m., the community pre-show entertainment at 8 p.m., and the main show at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors and children, with group rates also available. Tickets can be purchased at www.GHPRD.org, by calling 304-696-5954 or at the gate the night of the show.