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 Simon is 16, and a Junior at Churchill High School. I asked him to ‘enlighten’ us on how much of the real Josh Simon is in the way he played the role.
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)
A 14 year old freshman at Churchill, Mike Mainwaring has already worked professionally. Here he tells us about playing the high energy Lefou and about working at Olney and Ford’s Theatre.
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
Joel: What were the biggest challenges in lighting Winston Churchill High School’s gorgeous production of Beauty and the Beast?
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.
Christopher Rigaux says
Excellent articles on all three members of Beauty and the Beast. It was a big-time theatrical production which Churchill is becoming known for, complete with the giant orchestra, the sensational lighting and set design, and the over-the-top costumes. I especially agree with Scott that the Beast and the Beauty appeared to float as they danced. Interesting comments by Mike and Josh as well, especially regarding their degree of acting freedom to define their characters. At $12/$10 a ticket, Churchill is one of the great bargains in area theater!