SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Arts & Entertainment

Disney's Beauty and the Beast Presented by First City Players
Review By Susan Batho & Bill Hupe


November 07, 2007
Wednesday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska - The Kayhi Auditorium was abuzz for the opening night of the 2007 First City Players' musical, Disney's Beauty and the Beast. This production was one we had been hearing about for some time now, especially after the tantalizing preview provided at the November Monthly Grind two weeks previous. For those of us lucky enough to score opening night tickets, we were not disappointed.

jpg Beauty and the Beast

Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Photograph by Susan Batho and Bill Hupe©

From the moment the curtains were raised, we were treated to an evening of elaborate sets and costumes. For the past couple of years we have become accustomed to the high standards set by the First City Players for their sets and attention to detail, especially in costumes, but with this production, they have outdone themselves. The village cast was alive with colour, especially Belle and Gaston, and the cast of characters that inhabited the castle were dressed in elaborate costumes that slowly evolved during the course of the musical. The attention to detail in every costume and prop was simply amazing, down to the rose in the bell jar - a small prop, but clearly seen by the audience. Kudos to the craftspeople and costumers who obviously spent uncounted hours, as well as First Bank who provided some of the necessary funding for such an elaborate production.

But all the production design in the world would amount to naught if the cast was not up to the performace, and without exception, we were not disappointed, and with such a large ensemble - literally dozens of actors and actresses - this is quite an accomplishment for a community theatre.

The Enchanted Objects. especially Miss Potts (Lou Ann Richardson), Cogsworth (Michael Fitzgerald), and Chip (Faith Carter) are perfect in their roles. Karl Richey as Lumiere, literally danced across the stage and has the ideal sense of humour for such a role. Lou Ann Richardson, perfectly cast for her singing voice, was quite capable of carrying the lead. Not only did all actors portraying enchanted objects give a fine performance, they did so with the added difficulty of their elaborate, changing costumes that in most cases, provided quite an additional handicap to their roles.

Alan Bailey played the role of the eccentric inventor, Maurice, who added a dash of humour to many of his scenes, with just the right amount of bumbling. Gaston, played by Forrest Allred, handled his lead role admirably, especially when it came to being dashing, daring, and the Ladies' Man, using and abusing his sidekick and long-suffering foil, LeFou (Niles Corporon, who shone as he simply took everything in stride) to his advantage. Unfortunately, the shortcomings demonstrated at the Monthly Grind, where Gaston proposes to Belle, are still present, and his voice didn't quite seem up to the role at times.

Beauty and the Beast

The two lead roles, Belle (Samantha MacNeith) and The Beast (Abel Piercy) were perfectly cast, and they handled their singing and acting roles with equal grace. Samantha played the gamut if emotions, from happiness to sorrow, delight to disgust, exceptionally well, and has a delightful singing voice that worked perfectly for the music. Abel Piercy as The Beast, worked under difficult circumstances, underneath an elaborate costume, but was easily up to the task, even when experiencing a wardrobe malfunction, which he took completely in stride with a little ad-libbing, and then carried on. These two fine actors make the First City Players' Beauty and the Beast a show not to be missed.

A full orchestra, who performed the familiar songs with finesse, and had many audience members tapping their knees along with the music, rounded out the cast. As before, we have to marvel at how a community the size of Ketchikan, month after month, year after year, continues to put on such fine productions, many of which are on the scale of what one would expect in much larger cities. And as with nearly all First City Player's productions, you will be sorely disappointed if you miss their Beauty and the Beast.

The next performances are scheduled for November 9th, 10th and 11th. Tickets can be ordered online.


Susan Batho & Bill Hupe are residents of both Ketchikan and New South Wales, Australia. They are a writing and photographic team specializing in photography of Alaska and Australia for 22 years, and Best Friends for 22 years and a day.
Their website features some of their work, and they an be reached through
©2007 Susan Batho & Bill Hupe


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