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Beauty and the Beast’ opens tonight in Hastings

Hastings High School's “Beauty and The Beast” production.

The clever set at Hastings High School's “Beauty and The Beast” production at the new performing arts center, allowed for significant costume changes on stage at critical moments. Here, Belle (Sydney Pattok) weeps as the Beast (Gavin Patton) succumbs to wounds from his fight with Gaston – who, in real life, just so happens to be his twin brother, Grayson. (Photo by Scott Harmsen) Joan Van Houten Staff Writer

“Beauty and the Beast,” the first theatrical event at Hastings schools' new performing arts center, raised about $30,000, and blew ticket sales from prior years into never-never land.

The first two nights of the performance were sell-outs, school officials said. A total of 3,014 tickets were sold. The money raised covered the $18,000 in production cost, leaving an approximate $12,000 as profit for planning the next spring production.

In previous years, ticket sales for the musical averaged 700, according to Matt Callaghan, who directed the musical.

“We've never seen a profit like this. Normally, we break even, if that. We're so grateful to the community for supporting the theater arts by coming to see what our kids have worked so hard to create.

“We splurged for the first show because of the importance of the new performing arts center. We really wanted to wow the community and highlight our theatrical program. It's much more than we've ever spent. Because this musical was so well received and supported, we can look ahead to a great show next year,” Callaghan said. “I've been approached by many people who had never been to a high school musical before and some who never intended to, but now they say they will absolutely be back. The kids and the show really won them over.”

The program is supported by the community through ticket sales and financial contributions from local businesses, organizations and families. Without this support, he said, the school program could not exist. All the money raised by the productions is put back into the theater arts program.

Callaghan said working beside the students were adult crews that helped to pull the production together. They were Todd Willard, Spencer White, orchestra director, Emily and Dan Haywood, Whitney Martin-Pennington, Sara Milbratz, Micheal Sali, performing arts center director, Jeff Buehl and Craig Holley. Several departments at the high school were also involved, including the robotics team, students from the construction program and the art department.

He said the theater arts department has waited a long time for a performing arts center, and the technology in the sound and lighting system and the drops for changing the background is a big boost for what they will be able to do in future shows.

Sali, the new director of the performing arts center, said the production was a “welcomed stress” and that it was exciting to be part of such a quality production.

A lot of work by many people made it happen, he said.

“We were hoping to sell at least 2,000 tickets and we went much over that,” Sali said. “It was a great joy to see how the community wanted to support the students and the arts center.”
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