Magical production enchants crowd


There are so many things I want to tell you about Lancer Productions’ “Beauty and the Beast.” So many that we’d probably have to take out a special section just for me to tell you everything. But I’ll start here:

When Hannah Noonan walked out onto the stage in the second act in Belle’s iconic ballgown, the entire audience audibly gasped.

It’s that kind of magic.

This show is such a beautiful marriage of cast and creative team. Ashley Becher, who has already directed two of my favorite things I’ve seen in the North Scott Fine Arts Auditorium (CCT’s “Newsies” in 2021 and LP’s “Frozen Jr.” in 2022) led an all-star team here.

The cast is perfection. Seniors Thomas McCarthy (The Beast) and Hannah Noonan are culminating their high school careers with brilliantly nuanced performances. Thomas brings warm humanity to his Beast, and Hannah’s just straight-up living her Disney princess dreams. They both have gorgeous voices, and Thomas’ “If I Can’t Love Her,” and Hannah’s “A Change in Me” brought the house down.

Over at the castle, the Enchanted Objects are once again magnificent. Seniors Riley McCoy (Cogsworth) and Maddux Lamb (Lumiere) delighted an appreciative audience with their hilarious back-and-forth. Maddux also has effervescent chemistry with senior Anna Harris, who plays the flirtatious Babette. And junior Ryenne Lacher shows off some serious pipes as the operatic Madame de la Grande Bouche.

As Mrs. Potts, Amber Bauswell is warm and motherly, and delivers a strong vocal performance on the show’s title song. Amber also apparently took the two young actors playing Chip under their wing during production. Ed White fifth grader Jax Huntley and John Glenn fifth grader Elena Skadal trade off performances, with Elena on the even nights and Jax on the odd. I saw Elena on Saturday night but caught Jax during rehearsal and both young actors are delightful.

Making a very strong stage debut is sophomore Kaden Timmerman as the bombastic Gaston. When he’s not being fawned over by a trio of giggly fangirls played by juniors Lauren Pawloski and Gabby Andersen and freshman Addalie Reese, he’s getting hyped up by his trusty sidekick, LeFou, senior Caleb Strom, who jauntily leads musical tribute to Gaston. And Isaiah Jensen gives a kind and gentle performance as Belle’s eccentric father, Maurice.

The ensemble is lively and energetic, and there’s some quite nice featured dancing, including some fancy footwork by members of the North Scott Silver Shakers. They’re accompanied by an excellent pit orchestra, directed by Carl Collins.

The accent work is pretty on point, including what Maddux Lamb described as his “filthy French accent.” And the stage combat is terrific, with fight choreography by Bobby Becher.

The set is gorgeous, thanks in large part to master painter Nora Glover and her crew. It’s also dressed quite nicely by props master Haidyn Koberg and her pint-sized helper, Amelia Hintze.

Saturday night’s nearly sold-out crowd was enthralled and was on its feet before the lights came up for the curtain call.

This show is an awe-inspiring feat. If you’ve seen the show, you already know that it’s nearly indescribable how fantastic this show is. And while it’s a complete triumph, it’s also something of a miracle.

Because here’s the part you don’t know.

The rest of the story

Over the summer, as Lancer Productions’ creative team started to think about the show, Stacie Kintigh was scouting for costumes on the internet. And she found a beautiful costume and props package that was being sold by a community theatre in North Carolina. After reaching out, she learned that it had already been sold, but her contact in North Carolina told her it was off to a school in Jacksonville, Fla., and Stacie contacted the buyer. Eventually,  the guy in Jacksonville verbally agreed that Lancer Productions could purchase the package once the school was done with it.

Stacie went to the Drama Boosters with the plan and then went to work getting things lined up. Parent volunteers Brad and Jolynn Kelsey planned to fly to Sanford, Fla., and drive to Jacksonville to pick up the package. Stacie worked with her contacts at Penske Rentals in Bettendorf to get a truck and drive the whole shebang back to Eldridge. And things were going great.

But then the guy in Jacksonville stopped returning Stacie’s weekly phone calls and texts.

When he finally did respond, she learned that he had sold the package out from under her to a school in Boca Raton, Fla.

So, Stacie got back to work. She and costume head Brooke Rich began scouring the internet again for another costume package. They began exploring rentals, including from Maine State University and the Riverfront Playhouse in Aurora, Ill. And she contacted the program director at the St. Andrew School in Boca Raton, which bought the package, multipe times, but didn’t hear back.

After weeks of this, one night, Stacie decided to give St. Andrew School one last shot.

And she finally got an email back.

The program director there said she wasn’t sure, because the school didn’t have a way to ship the costumes.

And Stacie said, “Oh, we’re coming to get 'em.”

From there, things moved swiftly. The Boosters gave their endorsement. Stacie, Hannah and Thomas went to the North Scott Optimist Club and secured a donation to rent the Penske truck back from Florida.  Volunteers Matt Hodge and Joe Zrostlik flew to Punta Gorda, loaded up the truck in Boca, and the package arrived at the high school on Feb. 29.

The creative team began integrating the costumes into rehearsal pretty quickly, so the actors could get used to their enchanted objects. Rich and the costume team also scoured more than 40 years of the LP wardrobe archives to source pieces for the ensemble, including costumes from as far back as 1994’s “Pirates of Penzance.” All in all, there are approximately 40 wigs and over 100 costume pieces in this show. 

All’s well that ends well

After the final curtain comes down this Sunday, the package will be sold.

Disney Theatricals is launching a nationwide tour of “Beauty and the Beast” next year, which means the amateur rights to produce the show will be embargoed until the tour is over. With a mad rush of theatre companies around the country trying to stage the show before the end of the year, it’s expected the package will sell quickly, and another audience will get to enjoy these beautiful costumes and props.

But all the hard work to bring them to North Scott is certainly not lost on the actors that got to wear them.

“Every single one of them loves us so much,” said Thomas. “And they care about us more than they can put into words, I’m sure. Josh (Tipsword), our tech director, is here all the time, working super hard to make sure we have the best set ever. Stacie is always going the extra mile for us. We even have Bobby and Ashley Becher, who are professional actors, taking time out of their day every day to help us rehearse. It’s amazing. We’re just blessed with everything we have, and blessed with how much they care for us.”

“They love us so much,” agreed Hannah. “They will do absolutely anything for us. We are family. That’s what it is. And the fact that Stacie spent hours and hours on the phone. And the fact that Thomas and I had the opportunity to go with her to the Optimist Club and explain what we do here. And they were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, here’s the money.” And Thomas and I … our jaws dropped. It was crazy to see. It just shows how much they care about us. They got us these costumes and this stuff, and we’re like, ‘Best show ever then. Here we go.’”

Best show ever? It’s really, really, really up there.

I could cry when I think about how glad I am for these kids that they got this experience.

And it’s an experience meant to be shared and savored. There are a limited number of seats left for the last three performances. Do not wait – go to and get them now.

Lancer Productions, Beauty and the Beast, Hannah Noonan, Ashley Becher, Thomas McCarthy, Riley McCoy, Maddux Lamb, Anna Harris, Ryenne Lacher, Amber Bauswell, Jax Huntley, Elena Skadal, Kaden Timmerman, Lauren Pawloski, Gabby Andersen, Addalie Reese, Caleb Strom, Isaiah Jensen, Carl Collins, Bobby Becher, Nora Glover, Haidyn Koberg, Amelia Hintze, Stacie Kintigh, North Scott Drama Boosters, Brad Kelsey, Jolynn Kelsey, Brooke Rich, North Scott Optimist Club, Matt Hodge, Joe Zrostlik, Josh Tipsword