Children’s Community Theatre’s Penguin Project has selected the cast for its September production of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.”
The Penguin Project, now it its third year in DeKalb County, is designed to give children and young adults with disabilities the opportunity to experience the thrill of performing in a Broadway-style musical. They are assisted throughout the process by peer mentors, who work alongside the artists throughout the four-month rehearsal process and appear on stage with them to assist as needed during shows.
The selection of the cast was based on a month-long audition process, during which director Tracey Busby, along with assistant director Kristi Bork and musical director Julie Briedenbach, got to know the various artists.
Selected for the role of Belle, was two-time Penguin veteran Haley Tyrrell, of Sycamore, who will be mentored by Annie Shirley. Playing the Beast, whom Belle helps transform, is Penguin newcomer Jacob Morton, of Genoa, who will be mentored by Brittany Watne.
The role of Gaston, the brawny and conceited hunter who pursues Belle, will be played by Garett Shuck, of Cortland, mentored by Letty Johnson. Gaston’s sidekick, LeFou, will be played by Adam Wirth of Waterman, mentored by Jake Busby. Belle’s father, Maurice, will be played by Daniel King, of Sycamore, mentored by Jesse Heinsohn.
Playing the role of the various enchanted household items that occupy the Beast’s castle are: Jacob Ihm, mentored by Taylor VanLanduyt, as Lumiere, the candlestick; Shari Schramer, mentored by Taylor Correa, as Mrs. Potts; Cody Marbutt, mentored by Cain Hillman, as Cogsworth; Stephannie Baccay, mentored by Lindsey Cooper, will play Madam de la Grande Bouchet; and Jennifer Busby, mentored by Baylee Ricker, will play Babette, the feather duster. The role of Chip, the teacup, will be shared by Erin Steele, mentored by Coco Breidenbach, and Bobby Roller, mentored by Rebekah Small. The role of Monsiuer D’Arque, owner of the local insane asylum, will be played by Jacob Collingbourne, mentored by Dustin King. Jacob Costliow, mentored by Cole Cada, will act as the narrator.
The cast of characters that make up Belle’s town includes four Silly Girls - Meagan Cheatham (mentored by Heidi Smith), Shaelyn West (Carlie Hayes), Sydney Milner (Izzy Johnson) and Ashley Baker (Raina Sands); an eggman played by Jonnie Schauer (Jack Marbutt); a bookseller played by Jonah Malecki (Merri Bork); a fishmonger played by Marc Isabel (Tyler Bork); a sausage girl played by Lauren Cooper (Lauren Engel); a woman with a baby played by Amanda Christensen (Rachel Butler), a milk maid, played by Kaitlyn Umbach (McKenzie Bohlig) and a shepherd boy portrayed by Michael Castrisis (Kyle Hess).
The ensemble, which will play various roles including villagers and occupants of the Beast’s castle, will be filled by Ben Turk (Sam Naftzger), Jasmin Robles (Emily Stuebing); Nicole Pikula (Sami Hepker), Kenny Perry (Grant VanLanduyt), Justin Parker (Jeff Baccay); Alyssa McKnight (Sarah Horton), Scott Heinsohn (Jessica Stanbery), Lisa Finkelstein (Brianna Cada), and Rebecca Butler (Callie Correa).
The Penguin Project’s production of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” will be presented Sept. 13-16 at DeKalb High School. To keep up on the latest news about the production, follow the show on Facebook at CCT Penguin Project.