‘Beauty and the Beast’ musical preview

Choir production dazzles in first performance

Jesse Belen and Ena Mekic

Park’s choir has been working on the production of “Beauty and the Beast” for around two months, and the first show was performed March 18. The show was musically directed by John Myszowski and stage-directed by Lil Zumberge. With the help of student choreographers Anya Panday and Sylvia Tolzin, they said the show turned out to be a huge success. 

Senior Gwen Rockler-Gladen, who played Belle, said the show went without a hitch. 

“We practiced a lot of work on set and choreography in the week leading up to the show, but we managed to pull it together,” Rockler-Gladen said. “The vocals went really well. Everyone seemed to have their lines memorized and it went pretty smoothly.”

Sophomore student choreographer Sylvia Tolzin said one of the roadblocks was how fast they had to move to hit everything just right. 

“It’s really fast,” Tolzin said. “Songs such as ‘Gaston’ or ‘Be our Guest’ are more upbeat and fast-paced, so it hits everything on when the music is supposed to be.” 

Director Lil Zumberge said her job was pretty low-key and left almost everything up to the students. 

“I structured the time that we spent together to make sure that we keep moving through the things that need to be covered,” Zumberge said. “Although I’d say that Anya (Panday) and Sylvia (Tolzin) played a big part in that as well. I just helped keep things moving towards the final production and let the kids know if it was working.’”

Tolzin said it was fun leading the choreography and seeing the outcome of all their hard work. 

“I typically learned the parts that were feminine and Anya (Panday) learned the more masculine parts and when we put it together and danced together it was so much fun seeing the entire community figure it out,” Tolzin said. “Just seeing it all come together is very beautiful to me.” 

Zumberge said that the show brings the songs she loved as a kid to life. 

“The show is really true to what you know,” Zumberge said. “It’s really fun to see the songs that we may have loved watching as a kid come to life on stage.”

Rockler-Gladen said performing as Belle made her feel like a princess and enjoys being on stage.

“I’m so glad I got to play the role of Belle,” Rockler-Gladen said. “She was my favorite Disney princess as a kid so it’s definitely a very fun experience to be able to play her. I am a singer and I love singing these songs and performing. It’s also fun to just be on stage and be a princess for two hours.”

“Beauty and the Beast” plays at 7 p.m. March 24 and 25 in the St. Louis Park Middle School auditorium.