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Bringing the magic to life

A journey into fantasy is what Dennis McGraw, the Kauai Performing Arts Center Learning Center Coordinator, described as what people can expect in the upcoming Disney play, “Beauty and the Beast.”

“I want the audience to feel like they are watching Broadway, we are putting together a fantasy fairytale,” he said.

KPAC started auditions in December for the production, and in January rehearsals began. Four months later, with 5-day-a-week rehearsals, these talented youngsters are ready to be unleashed.

Beginning April 24, the audience will be able to watch the story brought to life right in front of them. 

The production will play for two weekends, April 24-26 and May 1-3 at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. The Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7 p.m. and Sunday performances at 3 p.m. 

It has been several years since Kauai has been able to experience “Beauty and the Beast” on stage. 

“A couple years ago there was a joint production here on Kauai, and it was huge success. I thought it was time to do it again,” McGraw said.

Kauai High School senior, Lorinda Sasan was ecstatic when she heard the news she was playing Belle. 

“I specially auditioned for Belle because I saw the play when I was younger. I was so mesmerized, I always wanted to play a Disney princess, so this part is fulfilling my dream,” Sasan said.

She is excited for opening night but admitted she is a bit nervous.

“It’s my last show, so it’s bittersweet. I’m excited but my time at KPAC is coming to an end,” she said.

However, she is minoring in theater and is planning on keeping it in her life.

She is excited to play the role of Belle.

“Sometimes I’ll start crying because I feel for her,” she said. “Everything she’s going though.”

Kauai High School junior, Semisi Osamu is playing the Beast and there are three factors that helped him get the part. 

“He has a beautiful voice, he’s an experienced actor, and a big kid. Those three factors instantly gave him the part of the Beast,” McGraw said. 

When Osamu found out he was getting the part, he said he “was super happy and excited. It was amazing getting the news that I was the Beast, but I was also kinda scared because it was a pretty big challenge.”

After months of practicing, he feels excited and now feels confident about playing the Beast.

McGraw also feels good about the upcoming production.

“There is still a long way to go, as always, there is never enough time and it always seems to come together at the last minute,” he said, adding that the casts’ attire will be a sight to behold. “We are basically just solidifying things. Costumes are being finalized and are ridiculous.”

Many may know of the popular Disney movie as a colorful animated film. However, KPAC is giving the audience a different perspective.

“We have darker colors and more realism in the set. Rather than an animated cartoon, it’s a fantasy. We are bringing a fairytale to life,” McGraw said.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Youth 4-18 are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, under 3 is free with a paying adult.

Tickets are available at: Kalaheo Café and Coffee Co., Progressive Expressions, Scotty’s Music House, Jim Saylor Jewelers and North Shore Pharmacy.

KPAC is a Hawaii State Department of Education Program that is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

“I just want the audience to be entertained by the beautiful story. If we can do justice, I believe they will be entertained and we’ll bring the story to life,” McGraw added.

Info: McGraw 651-2417

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