By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
When Kentwood residents Adam Wright and Micah McDonald headed into auditions in early fall, they both had their sights set on Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s children production of “Holes.” Instead, they ended up being dancing dishes and flatware in the company’s presentation of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.”
“This summer, I actually was doing another show [the summer repertory production “Into the Woods”] and everyone was talking about ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” said McDonald, who is a 2016 graduate of East Kentwood High School and is pursuing theater at Grand Rapids Community College. “I knew I wanted to be in another show at Civic and they had double auditions for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Holes.’ I was thinking ‘Holes,’ but I kind of wanted to be a part of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ because it had been a part of my childhood, and I ended up getting a part.”
Wright said he went into auditions looking for a possible role in “Holes,” but instead landed in “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” along side his friend McDonald, who the two shared the role of the prince in “Into the Woods.” Along with being a wolf, townsperson and dancing dish, Wright again portrays a prince, this time the young, selfish prince who is turned into the Beast.
“It was kind of hard becoming that prince,” said Wright, who is a sophomore at Caledonia High School. “It was difficult in that the young prince is such a nasty person, stern and very hard on people.” A trait that Wright simply does not have.
McDonald is also in the ensemble, portraying a villager along with a gargoyle and a candlestick during the “showstopper —according to both McDonald and Wright —number of “Be My Guest.”
“There is so much going on,” McDonald said of the “Be Out Guest” scene. “It was so hard to learn but it all came together. The scene is extremely entertaining and so much fun and the crowds reaction has been amazing.”
In fact the cast has been overwhelmed by the positive reaction of the audience and community. “In a preview, we had more than 25 seconds of applause,” Wright said.
“We have had sold out shows and the crowds, their reactions, laughing at everything,” McDonald said. “It really has been a good time for everyone. The audience is so engaged and there have been so many little kids helping to bring the magic of the story to life.”
In fact the reaction the Civic Theater production has been so overwhelmingly positive that tickets are limited. Check online, at grct.org for availability.
McDonald, who got the acting bug at East Kentwood High School as a junior when he performed in “Cats” under the directorship of Scott Mellema, said he hopes to pursue Christmas musical theater in New York. But no matter where he goes next, being part of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” will be a special memory for him.
“I partially wanted to be a part of this show because it is a part of my childhood and it gave me the opportunity to relive that part.”
And for Wright as well, the production has been an experience he will not forget. “It truly has been magical being apart of a truly amazing cast and having the opportunity to bring my childhood to life,” Wright said.