A Look Behind the Curtain

This September, we are bringing Disney’s Beauty & the Beast: In Concert to the stage in a sweeping concert version, featuring a choir, orchestra, full cast, and the unique incorporation of other CFCArts members. We are working to create the largest, most inclusive production the region has ever seen, representing so much of the work that CFCArts does every year on a single stage.

We’re so excited to share this celebration of community and collaboration with you!

(Click here to read more of a show overview!)

Ever a Surprise

“It takes a village” to create a French village or an enchanted castle. “It takes a village” to bring hundreds of unique individuals together to produce a magical story. The rehearsal and production process for Disney’s Beauty & the Beast: In Concert continues to be a beautiful representation of people coming together as a community, and the creative team is a wonderful example.

“People in the industry who have been doing it for a long time want to give back by sharing their skills,” shared Juan Torres, director of production for CFCArts and the Beauty & the Beast show director. “We’re really leaning into gathering experts in their field to help us tell this story.”

Juan has worked with CFCArts for many years and has stage-managed for some of our biggest, most challenging and impactful productions.

“Not only does Juan have a keen eye for creating shows, but he also has a deep understanding of and love for this organization and its people,” shared VP of Creative & Production Justin Muchoney. “We’re so excited for him to have a chance to step outside his normal role with lighting and audio and the behind-the-scenes work to bring the dialogue, the blocking, and the relationships and moments on stage vibrantly to life.”

The creative team Juan has put together is currently about a dozen industry professionals who are gifting their time to help bring this story to life – from prop designers who have been in the industry for more than 30 years to someone who has styled wigs on Broadway to a talented local costumer, delightful choreographers, and so many more.

“We want them to work with professionals who have that experience,” Justin said. “We value our members and their personal success so highly that we’ll stop at nothing to surround them with the right people.”

There will be some elements that take the experience just a step beyond strictly “in concert.” But it’s important to understand something: These additional elements stem from a place of highlighting the existing talent in our community and creating an experience that makes each person on stage feel valued.

“As we’ve gone into this production, like so often happens when you get the right people in the room, there are some really wonderful talents that you discover people have,” Justin said. “We set out with a really broad mentality that this show is going to be whatever this community needs the show to be, whatever they’re ready for and want.”

And it turns out that shaping a production around the member experience means exciting discoveries. For instance, multiple cast members are capable of tap dance features, and one is a competitive ballroom dancer.

“It’s joyous to be able to integrate other skills that they bring to the table into the production,” Justin said. “The audience can look forward to seeing surprises and unexpected skills. We’re really seeking to showcase the talent of the people who are right here in our community.”

Guests will feel the intention and community behind the production from the very opening sequence. The unique layout at Northland allows singers to be in the aisles and Belle to walk through the audience on her way to the village. They’ll feel the immense joy of the performers in the tavern with “Gaston.” And “Be Our Guest” will give each group of members a chance to shine and welcome the audience to feel like a part of the story.

Beauty & the Beast isn’t a story that’s often told by over 200 people, both on and off the stage. Everyone involved in this show is working hard to create a compelling version of the tale through a relentless commitment to community, inclusivity, and accessibility.

Juan summed it up best: “I want the members to have an amazing experience, and it’s amazing to see how much joy and passion other creative members on the production team share in the mission of giving back to our members that are participating.”

The CFCArts production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 2018 was also presented in concert.

About the Show

Step into the enchanted world of Broadway’s classic, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: In Concert, an international sensation that has been produced in 37 countries worldwide. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature, the stage version includes all of the timeless songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, along with new songs by Mr. Menken and Tim Rice. The original Broadway production ran for over thirteen years and was nominated for nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This concert version will bring you right into the magic!

The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

September 7-8 at 7:30pm
Northland Church (522 Dogtrack Rd, Longwood)
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