Linda Jewell-Carr has been working hard over the last six weeks, and all of her hard work paid off Friday night as the curtains on Sampson Community Theatre’s stage rose to a sell-out crowd for the production of “Beauty and the Beast.”
This is Carr’s first time directing the Disney classic, and she says she couldn’t imagine the production being any better than it was opening night.
“We had two sell-out crowds opening weekend,” Carr said about this past weekend’s performances. “The other show was very well attended.”
For this production, Carr has two different casts, with a total of around 80 cast members, who have been diligently working for the last six weeks and rehearsing for opening night. The cast, Carr said, ranges in age from 4-69, and is filled with people from all over eastern North Carolina including Stedman, Mt. Olive and Dunn.
Playing in the leading roles are Isabelle Moore and Madison Cain as Belle, Judah Herod and Johnathan Daniels as the Beast, Zane Burdhardt and Logan Best as Gaston, and Annabeth Clark and Angela Martin as Mrs. Potts.
Beauty and the Beast was last performed on the SCT stage in 2008, when Angela Martin directed the mostly adult-cast production. This time around, Carr said she incorporated more children and young adults into the roles.
“I like to do the family things,” Carr said. “It’s important for me to get the children involved.”
Students from Sampson Community College had a huge part in the costumes and scene productions. Carr said she had a vision about what the staging should look like, and her students took that vision and created the design seen on stage.
“We were very fortunate to have the college students come in and help design the scenes and costumes,” Carr said. “They spent the fall semester working on their design. As their final exam, each student took on a final project for the show and that was their grade. They truly were a God send.”
Some of those SCC students were so vested in the show, they not only worked on stage design, but had parts in the production.
Carr tries to direct at least one show each year at the local theater, but in the off time, stays involved with other productions as much as she can.
Final showings of the show will be this weekend. Shows are scheduled Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Inkspot and Matthews or at the ticket box office on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6-9 p.m., during show rehearsals.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.