Diversity, talent take stage in ‘Beast’

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I always enjoy reading the articles, editorials and comments of folks in the Times. Recently I enjoyed LaMonique Hamilton Barnes’ “take” on what seeing “Hamilton” with her son meant. However, if she or any parent wants to see diversity, talent and a group of young people who truly represent the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s challenge to have children of all colors standing together holding hands and singing; then you need to go see the ACT for Youth production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

If Mrs. Hamilton or anyone’s child wants to see somebody on stage who looks like them, then the Edna Boykin Cultural Center this weekend is the place. Not only is it a matter of color, but they truly look like him because they are his age.

The most wonderful thing about the casting of “Beauty and the Beast” by director Trish Bradshaw and musical director Caleb Skinner is that it was done unintentionally, all for the love of children having the opportunity to learn and be a part of a dramatic production.

My mother-in-law said after the show last past Sunday, those voices were incredible. It is true. They all “played well together!”

Hannah McLaughlin, who plays Belle, is a ninth-grader whose voice is amazing. There are also older seniors who are so talented that they will amaze you. They include Emma who is Mrs. Potts, Jordan who plays Gaston and Jahmez who is cast for Belle’s father and plays it so well although he is probably approaching 16. I also feel compelled to celebrate the crew, to help bring it all together and I mean bring it physically, LOL!

The reasons to be a part of this opportunity in our own neighborhood are endless and it is my dream for our community to come together and embrace our children in this production. You see, ACT for Youth is the only drama education program in Wilson and Wilson County for all children.

W. Barrett (Barry) Page