February 26, 2008
Burns Park Players: Beauty and the Beast
My favorite shot of the series: Jay Pekala (both personally and as Cogsworth) is somewhat ambivalent about the burden on his shoulders, while Clinch Steward (Lumiere) is awash with light.
The show has been closed for over a week, and my family is still trying to figure out how the songs go. Max still sings his cover versions of Consider Yourself (from Oliver!) and To Life! (from Fiddler on the Roof) — nearly on a daily basis.
Color v. Black+White
When I first started shooting for the Burns Park Players, I wasn’t very good at color correcting the insufficient fluorescent and rehearsal lighting that illuminates the pre-performance cast and crew work. My sneaky way of making those shots look a lot better was to show them in black+white. On the other hand, since the on-stage production featured beautiful lighting — not to mention colorful costumes and sets — I showed those shots in their full-color splendor. Problem solved.
Since then, however, I’ve become quite adept at color balancing images taken in all kinds of lighting conditions. So I could choose whether to display a particular rehearsal/crew shot in color or black+white — based on what worked best for that image, rather than on any technical considerations. But this year, in my haste to get the show up in time, it was faster to forego the choice: I just produced everything in color. I was happily surprised to hear that people missed the black+white.
For Relish — and for old time’s sake — I decided to return to the original Kanses v. Oz strategy. To good effect, I think.
The cheese-grater costume (deftly donned by Barry Fuller) was particularly fascinating in its realism.
Set crew member Jim Wallace engineered and built Maurice’s invention, including all the bell[ow]s, whistles, fire, and smoke.
Make-up crew member Harvey Weinblatt painted Jon Wardner’s face numerous times before arriving at the final beastly look.
A dramatic shot of rehearsal from upstage.
The oldest and youngest cast members — Fredda Clisham and Ben Worden.
Vocal warm-up exercises with music director Eric Lofstrom.
Beautiful light (and faces) could be captured in the pit orchestra.
When Maurice arrives at the castle, he enjoys checking out ALL the equipment. [Bob Galardi, Jay Pekala, and Eva Rosenwald]
Gaston is determined to get Belle at any cost. [Karen Ostafinski Hulsebus, Jeff Post, Zack Pearlman]
Dramatic lighting and staging: Maurice in the dungeon | Gaston fights the Beast (in this scene the Beast is played by body-double Barry Fuller, of cheese-grater fame).
Madame de la Grande Bouche (the Wardrobe) offers Belle a favorite gown. | Lumiere, in full costume, was positively dashing. [Dawn Korman, Karen Ostafinski Hulsebus, and Clinch Steward]
Mrs. Potts sings “Beauty and the Beast” while Belle and the Beast dance in the castle ballroom. [Milo Tucker-Meyer, Lisa Mann, Karen Ostafinski Hulsebus, and Jon Wardner]
And yes, the show even had a kick line. Bravo!