A closer look into this year’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

BY THEA POSTALAKIS ’24

The performing arts program has always been a big part of UAHS, and many students are involved each year. This year, “Beauty and the Beast” made its debut on the UAHS stage.

Students have been rehearsing every week to prepare, starting in November.

“I’ve been doing musicals here at Upper Arlington since I was a freshman. And I was super excited about ‘Beauty and the Beast’ because it’s always been my favorite Disney movie,” senior Avery Golowin, who plays Belle, said.

New director Tim Browning has acted and directed all over Columbus, including at Short North stage and the Actors Theater of Columbus. Browning commented on one of his main teaching styles.

“I never lose sight of the fact that I’m working with high school kids, but I just treat these students as I would any professional actors and push them the same way… the kids have really stepped up,” Browning said.

This extra push has helped students with their acting processes throughout.

“The directors make it really simple and easy [to memorize lines]. Mr. Browning gives us lots of creative freedom, which sometimes makes it difficult because I’m unsure of what I should do with myself,” junior Gracie Clark, who plays Babette, said. “But he always corrects me at the end of the day and makes sure I know.”

Another vital component is the balance between school and musical rehearsals, and managing busy
schedules.

“It can be difficult at times, but you have a lot of support from your directors and stage managers,” sophomore Elliot Hattemer, who plays Cogsworth, said.

Golowin shared this sentiment, along with her own strategy for this balance.

“I’m really just managing my time, and making priorities on what I need to do every night and having a clear schedule,” she said.

Browning has noticed this drive in the students.

“Their level of commitment is really high,” he said. “They care a lot about being great, and it’s so nice to see.”

There also comes a great enjoyment and a form of connection within the musicals, past and present.

“I’ve made my absolute best friends in this program,” Clark said. “You spend so much time together and it’s so nice to get to know everybody.”

Browning noted that this musical in particular is special for him now.

“The more I interacted with the music and the script, I just definitely fell in love with themes, the characters and now the actors who are involved and it’s become this deeply meaningful, sort of project
for me now,” he said.

The joy of this show and performing resonates with the students as well.

“I just really love performing, being on stage just makes me happy. It’s a good way to express yourself,” Clark said.

The performances are Feb. 16-19 and tickets can be bought online at uavocalmusic.org.