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Beauty and the Beast

Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Peoria Players Theatre
September 9-11 & 15-18
By Nicki Haschke

The enchanting fairy tale Beauty and the Beast comes to life on the Peoria Players stage September 9-18. This Disney musical, featuring songs written by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, opens Peoria Players’ 98th consecutive season.

Beauty and the Beast is the classic tale of a handsome Prince who is turned into a Beast because of his arrogance. The only way to break the spell is to love and to be loved. Enter Belle, the beautiful young woman captured by the Beast, and in turn she soon captures his heart. This Disney favorite ran for over 5,000 performances on Broadway, becoming its ninth longest-running show. It has also played in thirteen countries and 115 cities.

Along with Belle and the Beast, all the beloved characters are here for your entertainment – Gaston, Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Madame De La Grande Bouche, Babette, Chip, Maurice, LeFou and all the silly girls and townspeople of all ages! And they certainly do not disappoint; each one is a joy to watch! The show, directed by Jimmy Ulrich, lives up to the grand spectacle one would expect of Beauty and the Beast.

Set Designer Christine Paternoga has created a wondrous setting for these characters, including a majestically-colored village and a 16-foot-high castle with exquisite detail and multiple levels. The elaborate costumes, some rented from Heartland Costumes and some designed by Costumer Jill Barr, are a stunning display of vibrant and splendid artistry. Our Belle, Jillian Risinger, will be adorned in a beautiful ball gown which will sparkle with nearly 300 citrine Swarovski crystals, and over 25 yards of satin fabric and glitter tulle. Tyler Smith, with the help of makeup artists Rebecca Sierra, Gwyneth Mitchell and Mary Rose Williams, will transform between the characters of the monstrous Beast and the handsome Prince, both physically and emotionally. After having had extensive musical theater experience, both Jillian and Tyler are thrilled to be a part of this production. A graduate of AMDA in New York, Jillian has returned to our area and been a part of several other productions at Peoria Players, including The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Damn Yankees and Cabaret. A student at Bradley University, Tyler was seen as another Prince here at Peoria Players -- in our 2015 production of Cinderella. He is also no stranger to the role of the Beast -- he donned the mane for the 2014 Community Children’s Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr.

Jimmy’s cast of over 60 performers have been in rehearsal since May. Whether working on vocals with Music Director Julie Simmons or choreography with Dedra Kaiser, this dedicated group has spent their summer hard at work in preparation for our season opener. Orchestra Conductor Shawn Degenhart has assembled a live orchestra to underscore this captivating story.

The complete cast list includes the following: Belle-Jillian Risinger, Beast-Tyler Smith, Gaston-Jeremy Kelly, Mrs. Potts-Angie Dorough, Lumiere-Josh Hammond, Cogsworth-Jake Van Hoorn, Madame De La Grande Bouche-Katy Hawley-Ailshie, Babette-Courtney Arnett, Chip-Maddox Stephens, Maurice-Curt Rowden, LeFou-Andrew Schoepke, Silly Girls-Amanda Maddalozzo, Courtney Cluney, DeAnn Ingersoll, Ashleigh Koch and Katherine Ryan, Monsieur D’Arque-Fred Schoen, Beggar/Enchantress-Ali Dixon, Inkeeper-Pat Cusack, Librarian-Bill Barr, Baker-Tim Chambers, Marie-Anita Rowden, Young Man-Seth Draminski, along with ensemble members Sydney Abdnour, Stephanie Brattin, Randee Blickenstaff, Mary Curry, Brittany Foster, Lori Greene, Sadie Graack, Darah Hannan, Marie Hattermann, Maria Herrera, Lauren James, Kelly Jones, Hillary Kelly, Monica Lin, Michelle Luther, Megan Martinie, Izabella Middleton, Marie Nelson, Adam Raso, Mary Ellen Ulrich, Briana Vior-Van Hoorn, Adam Vestal, Aaron Wargo, Jaclyn Wessol, Tyler Skibinski, Tristian Bailey, Bella Bishop, Seattle Creasy, Julia Dixon, Nathan Dunn, Ava Follis, Cayden Follis, Ellie King, Grace Matthews, Zoe McDonald, Anna Meister, Stephanie Moreno and Malik Thorndyke. Peoria Players Theatre presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Jimmy’s equally talented production staff includes Assistant Director Kaitlin Seaman, Music Director Julie Simmons, Orchestra Director Shawn Degenhart, Choreographer Dedra Kaiser, Stage Manager John Donlan, Production Secretary Erin Pantages, Costumer Jill Barr, Set Designer Chris Paternoga, Props Chairpersons Edie Wood and Tammy Grant, Hair and Makeup Artist Rebecca Sierra, Lighting Designer Wayne Carey and Sound Engineers Terry and Tim Grawey, along with an exceptional crew.

So be our guest for this magical production! Performances of Beauty and the Beast include September 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm and September 11, 17 and 18 at 2:00. Tickets are on sale now for just $19 (adults) and $12 (patrons 20 and younger), and are selling very quickly, as some performances offer limited seating. This is definitely a show which every member of the family can enjoy!

To purchase tickets for Beauty and the Beast, please call our box office at 688-4473 or visit us online at

Posted on September 8, 2016 


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