A Beauty of a Beauty and the Beast
Interviews with actors Josh Simon and Mike Mainwaring and lighting designer Scott Selman
I had heard that Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, MD had a terrific drama department, and a huge Broadway size stage, so when Scott Selman – whose work I knew from Act Two – invited me to see a show, I gladly accepted, and have been a big fan ever since.
On December 6th I saw their spectacularly enchanting production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and, though I rarely see the same show twice, I returned with a friend on December 12th. Why? I wanted to see the terrific performances of Josh Simon, who played Lumiere and Mike Mainwaring, who played Lefou, and to see the eye-popping lighting design of Scott Selman.
Josh: Ha, very cute. I’m actually rather glad that I won’t be hearing as many of those candle puns now that the show’s run has ended. As for Lumiere, I see him as an over-the-top performer, almost like the Emcee from Cabaret. He wants to entertain and humor and present an overall positive outlook. I consider myself an over-the-top showman kind of guy as well. Backstage during Rent and Beauty and the Beast, there was more than one occasion where I danced, sang, and even gave improvised monologues as a series of different characters. My friends even clapped for me after one memorable backstage solo. (read more)
Mike: Lefou is Gaston’s comedic lackey with a funny voice and disheveled appearance. It wasn’t that hard for me to relate to Lefou because in some ways, we share similar personalities. In Lefou, I see my own sort of humor and natural energy – except on an extremely high dose of steroids! For instance, backstage I don’t really walk around – I do spins to get around. I was able to channel my own energy into my character. (read more)
Getting technical with Beauty and the Beast lighting designer Scott Selman
Scott: Time is always the biggest challenge. I am very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of students and nice budgets to work with. After Churchill did RENT: School Edition at the end of October, we had less than a month to mount Beauty. RENT took up only half the stage space and obviously had a different kind of feel than Beauty, so we really needed to reinvent the space in a very short period of time. (read more)
All photos used in this article were by Joe McCary.
The next production at Winston Churchill High School is the hilarious play-within-a-play farce, Noises Off, set for February 19, 20, and 21.