‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ comes to GPAC

Jolisa Canty Staff writer

September 28, 2013

PEMBROKE — It is not every day that forks dance and teapots sing.

But if you visit Givens Performing Arts Center on Thursday, you will see a plethora of enchanted objects perform. You may become enchanted yourself with the performance.

The GPAC at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will serve as the venue for the touring Broadway musical “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.”

The show, which will be performed at 8 p.m. on Thursday, kicks off the new season for the Givens Performing Arts Center.

Based on the Academy Award-winning animated film of the same title, “Beauty and the Beast” tells the story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is actually a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress.

If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed forever. The story comes from a classic French tale.

One of the cast members with North Carolina ties spoke to The Robesonian from New York.

Emilie Renier plays an enchanted folk and napkin in the musical.

“This show is really special for a lot of the cast members because for many of us, it was our first show and we know how we were affected when we first saw the show,” said Renier, who has been performing since she was 4. “It’s just great to see how kids are being affected.”

Although Renier is from California and now lives in New York City, she is no stranger to the Tar Heel state. A graduate of Elon University with a bachelor’s degree in Musical Theater, Renier has been cast in musicals such as the “Sound of Music,” “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan” and “Wizard of Oz.”

“I love North Carolina and I miss it so much,” Renier said. “It’s really great to go back and perform in the state when I saw a lot of shows while I was in college.”

Patricia Fields, executive director of the Givens Performing Arts Center, looks forward to the show.

“This will be the first time that this classic Disney love story has graced the GPAC stage,” she said. “Following a 13-year run on Broadway, the production continues to wow audiences around the world with the magic that any Disney work brings to the stage.”

Reviewers have said the lavish two-and-half hour show features Disney’s most modern heroine, as well as some of the best tunes in the Disney songbook.

Chad Locklear, director of marketing at GPAC, said “Beauty and the Beast” is quite an opening act for the new season.

“We’re very excited to have a show of this magnitude to come to GPAC and for it to open the season is really a great thing,” said Locklear.

The musical has been performed more than 5,400 times during the past 13 years for more than 35 million people worldwide. It will be performed throughout the country and in Canada over the next nine months.

“With our location being in such a rural area, the season gives folks that live here a chance to see a show like the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ without having to travel to New York,” Locklear said. “There are people who come to our shows who don’t travel to big cities.”

Tickets for the “Beauty and the Beast” range from $15 to $40 depending on seat location and discounts. For information, call the box office at 910-521-6361 or 910-521-6325.

The season continues on Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. when the S.O.S Band will perform during The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s homecoming celebration.

The band became famous for the hit “Take Your Time (Do It Right),” and went on to craft a string of hits, including “Just Be Good to Me,” “Tell Me If You Still Care,” “Borrowed Love,” “No One’s Gonna Love You,” “Just the Way You Like It,” and “The Finest.”

The band originated in Atlanta in 1977 and was originally known as Santa Monica. The band changed its name to SOS, which stands for Sounds of Success.

GPAC will also present “Memphis the Musical” and popular musical act Three Dog Night and jazz musician, Peter Nero. The season also includes Green Day’s “American Idiot” and The River People Music and Culture Festival.