Students of Lucaya International School (LIS) took to the stage on Saturday, March 16, to present their Beauty and The Beast Jr. Broadway Musical at the Regency Theatre.
With an outstanding time of 100 hours and 46 days of rehearsal, the cast of 28 talented boys and girls pulled off a classic production.
School faculty, students and parents gave their full support as they filled the pews in the theatre. Principal Kathryn Dillette and Musical Director and Choreographer, Emmanuel Bulalacao admitted they were very impressed with the performance.
“The Lucaya International School’s successful production of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast Jr., was the result of a group of dedicated and talented students, faculty and parents from the school working tirelessly together, since the start of the new year.
“The arts are a very important part of the LIS Programme, because it develops many of the skills that we all want to see developing in our youth,” said Dillette.
She noted that, including social and emotional development, critical thinking, creativity and community engagement are other important skills that she hopes to see developed.
Research also shows, she continued, “involvement in the arts improves academic achievement, including gains in math, reading, verbal skills, critical thinking and other cognitive abilities such as problem solving.
“Our Director and School Music teacher, Emmanuel Bulalacao, is to be congratulated for bringing out the very best acting, singing and dancing in all of the actors and actresses.
“Also, our Visual Arts teacher, Ms. Allison Crowe was an integral part of the outstanding set and costume design,” the principal added.
Celebrating excellence in the LIS Arts Programme, Dillette noted that the school will continue to portray a few more successful projects such as their upcoming Lucaya International School Arts Show at the Rand Nature Centre, on March 22 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Bulalacao admitted that preparation for the show was a long process, beginning October 2018.
“Just to get the licensing production from Disney … we had it at the end of December, so we just started around the second week of January to start our play.
“It was like daily rehearsals after school and it was a tough job for everyone. The students really worked hard for this and I think they deserved this applause from the audience, teachers, parents and friends.
“We all know the animated movie Beauty and The Beast was really a hit in terms of music, and it was really one of the best musical Broadway shows I think that was made.
“When I started casting the role for the characters, it was a little tough; but I tried to stay positive. It took a lot of communication and encouragement from the students,” noted Bulalacao.
“This is a big cast and it was tough for them to do all the activities of dancing, singing and acting put together, but they all responded positively, they liked the play and they did very well”.
Rebecca Zimmo, who played the role of ‘Belle,’ rendered a phenomenal service as actress.
“I have done several plays in the past, but this is my last play with the school which is why it is a very sad moment as we closed the final curtain.
“You can notice a lot of change from beginning to end.
“When I started I didn’t know barely anybody in the cast and then as the weeks went on, you got closer to them. “That’s really important in an experience like this because you have to love your surroundings and you need to enjoy every minute of it. Otherwise, what is the point in the end,” Zimmo said.
“If you don’t love your surroundings, you don’t care about what you are producing in the end. That is why, this musical was somehow successful.
“I loved every moment of this production and I would encourage any actor or actress to act. You make so many memories when you do something like this, especially if it’s something you love doing to help yourself in every way.”
David Mellor Jr., also known as ‘Beast’ said, it was an uneasy beginning; however, as the group worked together it became enjoyable.
“There was a lot of mishaps when we first did the auditioning and it was really underwhelming at first. It honestly seemed like we weren’t going to finish the play, but closer to the latter days of rehearsal, it just started to get there.
“It felt really great,” he added.
“Another big part of the play was when I got a chance to meet all the people. When we are in school, we see them once in a while but never had a connection with them.
“Then what you thought would’ve been an awkward scene, after doing it for so long, it became normal and you feel comfortable with the people you are doing it with.
“This was a really great experience, this was my second play and I hope to do another one next year,” said the excited young actor.
David Mellor Sr., father of Mellor Jr., noted that productions are extensive ways youth in Grand Bahama can show off their talent.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the fantastic job the kids did. It was amazing, especially for being on a little rock. It was skillful how the teachers got them all together to do such a wonderful job, we were thoroughly impressed,” said the supportive father.
“There was nothing but fantastic comments from friends and family, and we have been sending emails to everybody and we think there should be three or four more shows.
“We really love it, we feel like they could’ve promoted it better throughout the island, but all-in-all, LIS did a fantastic job,” Mellor Sr., added.
“I think if we could encourage more plays, it would be really good for the island, in general for the community, kids and the adults.
“All-in-all, it shows how much talent we have on this island, which is what we want to push. The world is our oyster, we are a small country, but we have a lot of talent here,” shared Mellor Sr.
Leslie Davies-Baptista also shared her views on the Broadway musical. “What a wonderful show this was. It shows such great talent, such hard work and a really wonderful combination between the staff, who put it together.
“Mr. Bulalacao did a wonderful job, the students have all worked so well over the many, many weeks,” expressed Davies-Baptista.
“I have got two kids that were in the play and to see after all that hard work, how much energy and fun they had on the stage, I think it’s a wonderful representation of what some other academics, LIS can produce.
“LIS is such a well-rounded school and to see something like this come out, the hard work of the students and the teachers was tremendous.
“The kids had so much fun on stage and the people that were in attendance look like they enjoyed it,” concluded the very impressed mother.