Sewickley Academy presents ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’

Monday, February 18, 2019 | 6:00 AM

It’s a “tale as old as time,” but Sewickley Academy Senior School’s upcoming take on “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” will be a novel interpretation.

“This ‘Beauty and the Beast’ will be different from any ‘Beauty and the Beast’ people may have seen before,” said Matthew Griffin, artistic director and Sewickley Academy theater teacher.

Griffin looked to source material for the production’s concept.

“The costuming is different than typical Disney costuming. We still have Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth…but the costumes have been interpreted in a different way than before,” Griffin said. “We’re looking at the Gothic period in which it was originally written and that’s seen in the design. We’re using silhouettes, emphasizing silhouettes in all dimensions. It still has wonderful music and the score, and the joy and love, but it’s shown in a way that is different.”

In the classic story, Belle feels trapped in her provincial town and the prince is trapped in the body of a beast. If he can learn to love, and be loved in return, the spell will be broken.

With a supporting cast of servants-turned-enchanted objects, the Beast attempts to turn the head of the imprisoned Belle.

Griffin selected the musical because, in his six years with the academy, students haven’t taken on Disney, and he wanted to give them the experience.

“It’s a fun designing opportunity and there are so many different roles,” he said.

Rehearsals started at the end of November with dance intensives with choreographer Joe Jackson. The cast then worked on solos and ensembles, then moved onto blocking and running the show.

About 75 students are involved in the production as cast members, stage techs and in the orchestra.

“The students that are participating … are putting their hearts and souls into this. It’s really long hours on top of school,” said Griffin. “If for no other reason, come out to celebrate really bright students’ awesome work.”

Performances will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 28-March 2 in Rea Auditorium.

Tickets are free and can be reserved at or by calling 412-741-2230.