Tale as old as time': OCCT to perform 'Beauty and the Beast' as a 10-year celebration

Celebrate 10 years with OCCT's performance of 'Beauty and the Beast,' marking a significant milestone for the theater group.

Hannah Amos


Hannah Amos


Jun 30, 2024

Tale as old as time': OCCT to perform 'Beauty and the Beast' as a 10-year celebration

A classic 'tale as old as time' will hit the Tivoli's stage for the Owen County Civic Theatre's (OCCT) 10-year anniversary. 

With a cast of more than 60 being directed by Jessica Turnbull, the resourceful non-profit is working to put on the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast.”

Due to the anniversary, Turnbull looked to the Owen County community for inspiration and chose the beloved title.

“We thought it would be nice to tip our hat to people that had been involved in a production over the last two years that was not part of our group as well,” she said.

Along with the community being a part of the decision making, Turnbull’s love of fairy tales also motivated her to direct and put on the show.

With every performance OCCT does, Turnbull hopes to educate and bring the arts to the community.

“I'm bringing the thought of community to this,” she said. “I think that's always a much bigger reason for me doing anything here. I love the arts, and I love bringing that to the community. So, anything I do, I'm trying to do through that lens.”

 Michael Grubb as Lumière and Natasha Shaw as Belle rehearse "Be Our Guest" for Owen County Civic Theatre's  production of "Beauty and the Beast" at the Tivoli Theatre during a May practice. HANNAH AMOS | THE OWEN NEWS

One way Turnbull keeps “the thought of community” in mind is through the audition process. She’ll “rarely turn people away,” and instead, she’ll focus on what they can bring to the production. She aims to have the community involved in the process as well as providing them a learning experience. 

“It's important to utilize as many people and as many skills as possible, so that you have a very community driven show, and that's more of my goal here,” she said. “Not more so than having a good show, but I think by focusing on community and viewing it through that lens, you will have a good show. You're going to bring your best because you're accessing as many talents as you can. It's a good spirit to carry to the community.” 

Turnbull has decided to replicate the historical wear of the time period to make their production of the classic unique. Turnbull and the cast hope to bring the frills and ruffles of the Rococo period to the stage.

“My background in art history and just art at IU [Indiana University] makes me always identify the shows I'm doing through that lens of history and what people might have worn and even the processes of doing their hair,” Turnbull said. “I'm interested in preserving history, that's another element you can educate people with.” 

Natasha “Tasha” Shaw in the role of Belle is helping with the historically accurate costumes by making her own costumes for the show.

 Natasha Shaw, who portrays Belle in Owen County Civic Theatre's production of "Beauty and the Beast," poses in Belle's blue dress at a May practice at the Tivoli. Shaw designed and made the dress with historical accuracy in mind. The dress took a month to complete. HANNAH AMOS | THE OWEN NEWS

To ensure the accurate clothing, Shaw and Turnbull researched fabric that would’ve been used during the Rococo period, which was linen. Shaw ordered the fabric, dyed it herself to get the right shade of blue to connect it back to the cartoon movie, found a historically accurate pattern and sewed it. The whole process for the blue dress took a month. 

The cast has many challenges with adapting the production to the stage, given the many different versions of the fairy tale. The most prominent being the 1991 cartoon Disney movie. 

"As simple a fairy tale as it is, it has a lot of specificity to it,” Wyatt Tucker, the Beast, said. “I feel like that is its greatest strength as well as a weakness when you're trying to adapt it because everyone has all these preconceived notions about how the role should be played, what you should sound like, [and] what you look like. And I guess at the end of the day, I just respect everything that came — because of course that's what we all grew up on, and we have a great admiration for it. But that's a standard that I may or may not be able to achieve, realistically. So, it's just all about doing our best trying to live up to that, it's something that we aspire to, but not letting it overwhelm me.”

For Shaw the weight of the adaptation is personal.

“‘Beauty and the Beast' was my life growing up. I wanted to be Belle more than anything in the world. I carried books around with me before I could read because I wanted to be Belle,” Shaw said. “I came into rehearsal, knowing exactly how I wanted to play the role, and also knowing that so much of Belle’s character is who I am, too. And I guess that sets me up to a very different standard where I mostly want to put on the best show that I can for myself as opposed for a Disney-loving crowd.”

To Shaw, Belle showed that being different is a “badge of honor," and to be given the opportunity to be Belle feels like her “dreams are coming true.”

Along with the different versions and adaptations of the characters, the cast has been given the opportunity to grow in new experiences.

Tucker, as the Beast, is in a new type of role that he hasn’t been in before. In prior performances of other shows, he has been casted as comedic or villainous roles. 

A role like the Beast gives him a chance to try something new.

“I never imagined that I would be in this type of role and [have] the ability to flex my dramatic muscles and really try to get my way into this type of character,” Tucker said. “It's been really, really fascinating.”

Wyatt Tucker, the Beast in Owen County Civic Theatre's production of "Beauty and the Beast," performs the ballad "If I Can't Love Her" at the Tivoli during a May rehearsal. The ballad ends the first act of the Disney musical. HANNAH AMOS | THE OWEN NEWS

Turnbull is joyed by Shaw’s and Tucker’s portrayals of the characters, noting that Shaw sounds similar to Disney’s animated Belle and finds Tucker’s performance of the Beast brings a “different human element.”

“He's not as ferocious. It's almost like you can see that he's a little defeated. He understands that the curse is almost forever,” Turnbull said. “So it's almost like he's given up hope, and you can see that. So, I think he's taking — from my standpoint as director witnessing how they're playing — it seems like that, and I think that's a refreshing take.” 

OCCT will offer four chances for the community to be their guest with the performances taking place at Owen Valley High School’s Auditorium June 7 at 7 p.m., June 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and June 9 at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10 for students, $7 for children 12 and younger, and 2-year-olds and younger are free.

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