‘Beauty and the Beast’ comes to life Downriver

Photo by Sue Suchyta. “Beauty and the Beast” comes to life at the Downriver Actors Guild in Wyandotte Dec.4 to 20 with Brian Welch (left) of Dearborn as Lumiere, Michael Suchyta of Dearborn as LeFou and Brianna Bielak of Southgate as Babette. For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

Photo by Sue Suchyta. “Beauty and the Beast” comes to life at the Downriver Actors Guild in Wyandotte Dec.4 to 20 with Brian Welch (left) of Dearborn as Lumiere, Michael Suchyta of Dearborn as LeFou and Brianna Bielak of Southgate as Babette. For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

By SUE SUCHYTA

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” comes to life at the Downriver Actors Guild at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12 and 19, and 3 p.m. Dec. 6, 13, and 20 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle in Wyandotte.

Tickets are $16 for adults, and $13 for students and seniors. For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020, or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

Directed by Debbie Aue of Taylor, the classic story of Belle, and the Beast trapped under a spell, features Novi residents Kyle Harwood as the Beast and Kayla Aue as Belle.

Debbie Aue said “Beauty and the Beast” is one of her favorite fairy tales, with fun characters and a wide range of emotions, which makes it fun to direct.

“’Beauty and the Beast’ has a wonderful message that we all can learn from,” Debbie Aue said. “Beauty is from within, and don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Adults will appreciate the visual beauty of the show, Debbie Aue said, from the costumes to the scenery, as well as the love story.

Kayla Aue, who plays Belle, said she enjoys playing an independent character who fights for what she believes in.

I tell people that if they love the movie, they will love the fact that all their favorite characters will come to life,” Kayla Aue said.

She said the play is great for everyone in the family.

“It’s energetic, and you will see your kids light up,” Kayla Aue said. “You remember when you grew up with the story.”

Kenny Konaszewski of Garden City, who plays Gaston, said that as an actor, there are few things better than being granted an opportunity to cut loose and play the bad guy.

“One of the beautiful things, and challenges, of bringing such an iconic animated classic to life is to take these characters beyond the limits of animation,” Konaszewski said, “and really bring a humanity (and) emotional nuances to something already so well known.”

He said the show is a classic, from the characters to the iconic songs.

“The holidays are a wonderful time to see a show that can be enjoyed by the whole family,” Konaszewski said.

Also in the cast are Allen Park residents Emily Braun, 16, and Kayla Chavez, 16, as Silly Girls;  Dearborn residents Michael Suchyta as LeFou and Brian Welch as Lumiere; April Denny of Dearborn Heights as Madame; Brianna Bielak of Southgate as Babette; and Taylor residents Amanda Aue as a Silly Girl, Jay Carter as Monsieur D’Argue, and Mitchell Sturm as the Prince and the narrator.

Also in the cast are Brownstown Township residents Paul Primeau as Cogsworth and Elaina Primeau, 10, as Chip; New Boston residents Samantha Brenner as the Enchantress and Jeff Powers as Maurice; and Holly Sisung of Newport as Mrs. Potts.

The ensemble includes Ashley Blevins of Allen Park; Jaclyn Duvall of Dearborn; Madison Ganzak, 12, of Dearborn Heights; Melissa Brown Knox, Elaine Lukawski, and Alex Rosen, 17, of Lincoln Park; Isabella Owens, 11, and Erik and Lily Paschke, 10, of Riverview; Raymond Carter, Katie Hutter, David McDonald, and Jessah and Alyson Price of Taylor; Ivy Tarnowski of Trenton; Grace Ray, 14, of Wyandotte; Jamey Pittman of Belleville; Kerstyn Reeves of Brownstown Township; Ashley Gatesy and Allyn Granger of Westland; and Charlene Bauer of Woodhaven.

PGD’S ‘WHITE CHRISTMAS’ IS FULL OF HOLIDAY  CHEER

The Players Guild of Dearborn’s production of “White Christmas” will put you in a festive mood and send you home with a smile of your face humming your favorite Irving Berlin songs.

Remaining performances are 8 p.m. Nov. 27, 28 and Dec. 4 and 5, and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 22, 29 and Dec. 6 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, 21730 Madison in Dearborn.

Tickets are $20, with a $2 discount for students with valid identification. For tickets or more information, call 313-561-TKTS or go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

Brian Townsend of Dearborn directs the show, with Livonia residents Paul Abbott as musical director and Jenny McPherson as choreographer.

Set in 1954, “White Christmas”  follows two former army buddies who team up with a sister act to save their former general’s ski lodge when it falls on hard times. Memorable song and dance numbers are mixed with romance, misunderstandings and mischief.

The costumes, created by chair Karen Drugcaz and a dozen volunteers, are colorful, stylish and delightfully nostalgic.

The song and dance numbers make the show fun, especially the tap dancing, which highlights the talents of Adam Lynch.

The entire cast delivers a feel-good story that will put you in a holiday mood. The leads are talented, but it is the character actors and the ensemble that make the show remarkable.

Watch for some funny one-liners from Denise Kowalewski-Tucker as Martha, the former showgirl running the general’s inn, and laugh at the delightful ditzyness of Juliette Abbott and Meg Kisch playing Rita and Rhoda, respectively.

Tom Sparrow is hilarious as Ezekiel, the inn’s handyman, and Tim Carney is very funny as the harried stage manager. Paul Bruce is hysterically funny as Ralph Sheldrake.

Jamie Paschke, 11, is marvelous as Susan, the general’s granddaughter, from her natural acting talent to her wonderful singing voice – you’ll be amazed that such an incredible belting voice comes from such a petite preteen.

“White Christmas” is a holiday delight, and the cast spread that cheer to the audience, kicking off the holidays with great Irving Berlin songs and an upbeat show.

SCP ANNOUNCES ‘ODD COUPLE’ CAST

Southgate Community Players announced the cast of the Neil Simon comedy “The Odd Couple” last week.

Chris Rollet of Southgate plays sloppy and easygoing sportswriter Oscar Madison, who takes in neat freak and uptight news writer Felix Unger, played by Marc Rosati of Wyandotte, when Felix’s wife throws him out, but with their opposite personalities the two men soon start to drive each other crazy.

The poker buddies include Trenton residents Nick Castle as Speed, Michael Lomas as Vinnie, and Patrick Reed as Roy, with Chuck Ingram of Wyandotte as Murray the cop.

The Pigeon sisters are played by Lara Keathley of Trenton as Cecily and Bridgette Clements of Flat Rock as Gwendolyn.

Directed by Jema McCardell of Trenton, the show runs at 8 p.m. Feb. 5, 6, 12 and 13 at Davidson Middle School, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.