The next few weeks will be an exciting time for North Fork theater enthusiasts. Three musicals will open at local high schools and one at North Fork Community Theatre.
The Mattituck High School Musical Theater Company will kick things off Thursday with the premiere of “Beauty and the Beast” in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. Additional shows are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights, also at 7.
Director Anne Gilvarry said “Beauty and the Beast” is the eighth musical Mattituck High School students have performed since 2011, following a 20-year hiatus.
“It is also the most complicated show, theatrically speaking, that we have attempted in those years,” she said. “With the enchanted castle, characters, talking clocks, dancing plates and beasts that become human again, it’s quite a fun spectacle of a show.”
She added that it is the complete Disney Broadway musical, so audiences can expect to hear all the songs and see all the characters they know from the original animation, movie and play. Forty students have been working on the production, including actors, featured dancers, set decorators and stage and lighting crews.
“I’m looking forward to the audience’s reaction to seeing these beloved characters come to life,” Ms. Gilvarry said. “We’ve encouraged kids of all ages to come dressed as their favorite Disney prince or princess and meet some cast members after the show, so that will be sure to create some memorable moments as well.”
Tickets for the Mattituck production are $12 for adults and $8 for students and will be available at the door.
Also this weekend, Greenport High School Drama Club will present the Howard Ashman and Alan Menkin musical “Little Shop of Horrors.” The show opens Friday night, March 2, at 7 p.m., with additional performances on Saturday at 7 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
Tickets — also $12 for adults and $8 for students — are available at the door and at Floyd Memorial Library.
A troupe of 24 students from grades 6-12 worked to put on the musical comedy about a meek floral assistant who stumbles across a new breed of plant, which he names Audrey II, after his crush. The plant turns out to be a foul-mouthed carnivore that promises unending fame and fortune to the assistant — as long as he keeps feeding it.
“The company has done an amazing job of learning some difficult vocal music,” said Diane Peterson, club adviser and producer. “Combining that with the talents of our lead performers is going to make for a memorable show when Audrey II takes center stage.”
“The Phantom of the Opera,” Southold High School’s choice for this season, is an especially complex undertaking that will be presented in the school auditorium Thursday through Saturday, March 8-10, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 11, at 2 p.m.
The musical calls for operatic vocals and intricate set details, such as the iconic falling chandelier.
“The chandelier is certainly part of it,” said Casey Rooney, co-director and set builder. “It needs to rise and fall and that will be happening. There are a lot of cool things with mirrors and smoke. We’ve created our own motorized boat. It’s visually a very cool show.”
The 49 cast members are among more than 60 students involved in the production. Several of the actors have been taking voice classes at Southold Opera House in order to prepare for the show’s demanding score.
“These are very challenging roles, but we still had quite a few options for casting,” said co-director Jessica Ellwood.
Tickets for “The Phantom of the Opera” are $12 and $8 for students or seniors, and are available at Southold Free Library or at the door.
Last but not least, North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck will present “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” with performances planned for Thursdays to Sundays, March 8 to 25.
There are six characters in the musical, which is based on Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip. The cast members — all age 18 and under — will perform the original 1967 version.
“Most community theaters do the revived version from 1999, so we’re a little unique,” director Manning Dandridge said.
“It will be interesting to see this done with young people because traditionally there have been people in their 30s playing young kids,” he added.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at nfct.com or by calling 631-298-6328.
Photo caption: Mattituck High School will present ‘Beauty and the Beast’ starting Thursday night, and three other North Fork productions will open over the next two weeks. (Credit: Rachel Siford)