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NWFSC's Production of 'Disney's Beauty and the Beast' Features Local Talent, a Grand Set, and High-Flying Actors

Mattie Kelly Arts Center

 

Belle, played by Brittany Hammock, <br />encounters the Beast, played by<br /> Jeremy Ribando. Photo by Okeye Mitchell.
Belle, played by Brittany Hammock,
encounters the Beast, played by
Jeremy Ribando. Photo by Okeye Mitchell.

7/9/2009 - The Humanities, Fine & Performing Arts Division of Northwest Florida State College will present Disney's most acclaimed and beloved Broadway Musical, Beauty and the Beast on July 22 to 25 at 7:30 p.m. on the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Mainstage. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for youth age 18 & under and are available at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office in-person, by phone at (850) 729-6000 or online at www.mattiekellyartscenter.org. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to each night's performance. Tickets are available online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Step into the enchanted world of Broadway's modern classic! Based on the Academy-Award winning animated feature, the stage version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast includes all of the wonderful songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman along with new songs by Menken and Tim Rice.

The audience will be transported to the heart of provincial life in a lovely French town. In order to break the spell placed upon him and his servants, the Beast, who is really an enchanted prince on the inside, must learn to earn the love of a village girl, Belle, or risk remaining in his animal state forever. In this most beautiful love story ever told, a person's true beauty is what is on the inside. Disney's Beauty and the Beast has enthralled Broadway audiences for over 13 years.

The show boasts more than 65 onstage actors and back stage crew helping to bring the story to life. The lead role of Belle is played by Brittany Hammock of Mary Esther. Brittany is an alumna of Fort Walton Beach High School where she was a member of both the Valhalla Honor Choir and the theatre department. She was previously seen in the FWBHS production of Footloose! (Ariel), Arsenic and Old Lace (Elaine), Suessical (Mayzie la Bird), and Sound of Music (Liesl). She is currently a student at NWFSC working towards her Associate of Arts degree. Brittany is also a member of the college's Soundsations Show Choir and Madrigal Singers.

Jeremy Ribando, a professor at NWFSC, plays the role of the Beast. Jeremy began singing professionally at age sixteen in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He continues to perform as tenor soloist and was a resident tenor at the Masterworks Festival in New York where he sang the role of Vasek in The Bartered Bride and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi. Dr. Ribando currently teaches voice, music theory, and music technology in the college's Fine and Performing Arts Division and has also composed original works performed by the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra and assisted with orchestra conducting.

The college's production of Beauty and the Beast features a grand set and costumes from ZFX Flying Effects of Louisville, Kentucky. ZFX is a professional theatrical special effects company that specializes in live flying effects as well as set and costume rentals. Dr. Cliff Herron, Mattie Kelly Arts Center Executive Director and Director of Beauty and the Beast, noted that the set and costumes arrived in two 18-wheelers. ''We were very fortunate to be able to rent such a top-notch set and costumes. If we tried to construct something similar ourselves, it would have easily cost $250,000,'' Herron said. Though most of the costumes are from ZFX, Belle's costumes are all exquisite custom creations by the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Costumer Linda Corley and her team of volunteers. Disney's Beauty and the Beast will also feature a first for one of the college's productions - actors who fly through the air across the massive mainstage. The only other shows that actors were flown in were the national touring productions of Peter Pan and Jesus Christ Superstar. Flying effects were also rented through ZFX and associates from the firm provided specialized training to help the crew this complicated special effect that fly the actors using harnesses and uniquely fitted costumes. The effect will sure to dazzle the audience as four characters in the show will fly including a wolf, Lefou, the Enchantress, and the Beast.

Purchase tickets by calling the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office at (850) 729-6000, toll free at 1-888-838-2787, or online at www.mattiekellyartscenter.org. At-the-door tickets will be available each night, subject to availability, starting at 6:00 p.m. each evening. For more information on the show, visit www.mattiekellyartscenter.org.