Jamie Slaugh, a Montana State University Billings student and Children’s Theatre director of “Beauty Is the Beast,” said this is the first time all of the seats in Petro Theatre have been sold-out or otherwise occupied for the spring production.
The play, which runs through Saturday, was written by D.M. Larson. The production promises a “good lesson for everyone” in about 50 minutes, said director Slaugh. “[Both girls and boys] will learn that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, not what’s on the outside. I thought this was something that everyone could relate to - especially in this age where everyone wants to know what celebrities are wearing ... . It’s a legacy of what you leave behind - if you’re rude to people, it’s not as nice as when you treat them kindly,” Ms. Slaugh said.
Through Friday, the play is staged at noon for schoolchildren only in the 510-seat Petro Theater on the MSU Billings campus. The 6 p.m. show on Saturday, April 6, is the only show open to adults as well as children, and viewers are requested to bring a nonperishable donation for the Food Bank.
In her directorial debut, Ms. Slaugh has added one character, Fairy Boy, to the play. Fairy Boy is eloquently played by Ethan Billin, 22, who is from Billings. In the play, the main character, “Beauty,” learns that people cannot get by on good looks alone nor treat other people rudely. The play stars Kate Meyers, 20, as “Beauty.”
Other characters include Patty, a peasant girl, played by Gianna Johnson, 9, from Billings, the only minor in the play. Her mother, Angela Johnson, plays two characters, Justine and Mary, who are both peasant girls. The Johnsons may be the only mother-daughter acting pair now in Billings.
Fairy Girl is played by Bonnie Beth Luman, 22, from Hardin. The king is played by Jason Thoreaux, 30, from Cuthand, Texas.
Finally, Sean, another peasant boy, is played by Sean Slaugh, the director’s little brother. Ms. Slaugh, 25, who anticipates graduation in a year and a half, said she has recently acted in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes” with the Children’s Theatre.