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Photo Flash: First Look at MTWichita's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Music Theatre Wichita continues its 45th summer season with a large-scale production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Century II Concert Hall in downtown Wichita, KS. As of Monday, June 27, six of the eight performances are sold out.

The production stars Catherine Charlebois (Wicked) as Belle, Thaddeus Pearson (West Side Story West End) as the Beast, and Johnny Stellard (Evita) as Gaston. Gaston's friend Lefou is performed by Tanner Plueger (Billy Elliot), and Belle's inventor father Maurice by Timothy W. Robu.

Enchanted objects come to life through in the performances of James Beaman (Spamalot National Tour) as Cogsworth; Steve Hitchcock as Lumiere; Katie Banks-Todd (Phantom of the Opera) as Mrs. Potts; James Heinrichs as son Chip; Karen L. Robu as Madame de la Grande Bouche; and Lexis Danca as Babette.

MTWichita's production is directed by Producing Artistic Director Wayne Bryan, in the midst of his 29th season at Music Theatre Wichita. All-new choreography is by Adam Cates (Anastasia).

Other members of the current artistic team include musical director / conductor Thomas W. Douglas, millinery designer Megan Reed, hair and makeup designer Taylor Malott, lighting designer David Neville, and Sound Designer David Muehl. The newly refurbished sets by J Branson and costumes by Tiia E. Torchia were originally created by MTWichita in 2004, and have received critical acclaim throughout the US and Canada in dozens of regional productions.

Music Theatre Wichita has earned a reputation as one of the foremost summer opportunities for young upcoming talents. This year's Tony Awards featured several former MTWichita alumni, including cast members of Hamilton, Waitress, The Color Purple, Spring Awakening, and many more. Founded in 1972, MTWichita has created the world premiere of the revised Good News!, the U.S. premiere of Betty Blue Eyes, and the regional premieres of such Disney titles as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and High School Musical. MTWichita has also created cast albums for Honk! and Good News!

Photos by Christopher Clark

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