News • November 17, 2021

‘Beauty and the Beast’ finally hits the stage at CBU

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Riverside, Calif. (Nov. 17, 2021) – In March 2020, the theatre program at California Baptist University was making final preparations for its production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Then the pandemic brought down the curtain on theatres and other venues.

More than 18 months later, CBU students will finally perform the production in the Wallace Theatre. About one-third of the cast is the same.

Sophia Oliveri, a theatre senior, remains in the Mrs. Potts role.

“This has been in the making since spring of 2020,” Oliveri said. “I just don't think I'll believe it's happening until I'm singing onstage in front of a live audience.”

Scott Rydelski, a theatre performance and comedic arts senior, moved from a smaller role to now play Gaston. He said there is more excitement preparing for the production.

“Actors are not taking this opportunity for granted anymore. Everybody shows up every day ready to work and create a great show,” Rydelski said.

Lisa Lyons, adjunct professor of theatre and the director of the play, said it is wonderful to be working with the students on the performance again.

“There's nothing like live theater. It's a unique medium,” she said.

Lyons hopes the audience gets joy from the show.

“Every production number has a big finish. When the students do that final pose, you can feel their energy. It's so fun to see,” Lyons said. “It's a great show for any age. It has adult humor as well as kid humor. I think it's just a big crowd pleaser.”

Nathan Sporcich, a marketing junior, plays the Beast. He has learned how much effort and enthusiasm is needed from every member in the cast.

“I hope the audience gets an immersive and magical experience from finally seeing live theatre return again,” Sporcich said. “I know many people have been anticipating this show and I am so glad we were able to bring it together once again.”

Rydelski said he hopes the audience will realize that the arts are essential.

“The part that's been the most enjoyable of this whole experience must be preparing a show to return live to CBU again,” he said. “It's been such a long time since we had that opportunity. I am excited to see the Wallace Theatre be filled with people again.”

Oliveri said she hoped the audience will see that love always leads to transformation.

“It's a crucial theme in ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ The audience will witness a story of love changing someone from the inside out. My hope is they take that into the world and love people for who they are just like Christ,” she said. 

When: Nov. 19-20, Dec. 2-4 at 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 at 2 p.m.
Where: Wallace Theatre, California Baptist University, 8432 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, CA, 92504
For more information, please visit https://calbaptist.edu/theater/current-production