Mrs. Potts has returned to take charge of the beast's castle and to once again highlight the transformative power of love.
Amy Pringer is directing Helias High School's production of "Beauty and the Beast" scheduled this weekend at the Miller Performing Arts Center, and she just played the character of Mrs. Potts as an actor last August in Capital City Productions' performance of the same story.
Helias' production is the first show Pringer has ever directed. She said she has directed the music of only one other show.
"An absolute appreciation for the intricacies of the costumes of this show" is what she said she brings to directing from her recent performance as Mrs. Potts — head housekeeper of a prince's castle who, like the prince and other staff, has been cursed to take on other forms — in her case as an anthropomorphic teapot.
The prince is cursed to be a beast, and he and his staff are to remain cursed until he can let love transform his selfishness and arrogance into a capability to love and be loved.
That transformative power of love is what shaped the late Joyce Weber's vision of the show. Pringer said Weber asked her to direct the music for the show, but her role grew after Weber died in November.
"She liked the magic of Disney," Pringer said of Weber. "The directing aspects I've kind of learned as I went."
Pringer said she didn't draw much from the most recent Hollywood live-action movie adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast," but a lot of the actors and students have watched it and are drawing on it for inspiration.
Helias' production features 80-90 cast and crew members.
Fifty-five people will be on stage at once for a musical number, Pringer said.
"The ensemble has such a big role in this musical," she said of a show with five big songs — not just music with the lead cast.
Pringer said she also has drawn on her previous experience to guide the cast through the big ensemble music pieces.
An estimated 30-40 students under the production management of Ron Vossen have worked on the set, which will feature interior rooms and a center stairway of the castle, the castle's gates, village scenes and a "sweeping library reveal," Pringer said.
Tickets have sold fast, but any that remain will be available at the Miller Center from 5-7 p.m. today and two hours before each performance: 7 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students.