Brehan Flanagan (L) Beast - Katie Lennon (R) Belle.

Cavan Institute to stage Beauty and Beast the musical

Cavan Institute staff, students and their families will bring the enchanted world of Broadway to Cavan’s Townhall Theatre later this month, with their production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the musical.

Based on the Academy Award winning animated feature, this spectacular musical theatre treat will run for four nights, April 19-22, and tickets are selling out fast!

“We’re absolutely thrilled. There’s huge excitement,” says musical producer Adrienne Cunningham, who also works as staff officer at the institute.

The first institute production in which Adrienne was involved was ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ in 2008, and she was back behind the scenes the following year when the same cast and crew successfully brought ‘A Christmas Carol’ to the stage.

“This’ll be our third [musical],” explains Adrienne, before talking up the talents of the assembled cast, led by Brehan Flanagan as ‘Beast’ and Katie Lennon as ‘Belle’.

“They’re fantastic, the whole experience has been fantastic, for everyone involved. We’re in at the Townhall rehearsing at the minute.”

Other important roles in the show are being reprised by Patrick Cassidy (Maurice), Dara Cunningham (Gaston), Mark McKenzie (LeFou), Max Mason (Lumiere), Niall Maguire (Cogsworth), Eileen Brady (Mrs Potts), and Sophia & Emily Brady (Chip).

Chloe Scanlon has the role of Madame De La Grande Bouche, and Rian Woods will play both the part of Monsieur D’arque and narrator.

Elsewhere Racquel Mondero plays Babette, Sean Doyle is a Bookseller, Malachy McDwyer a banker, Ivo Chmura a Young Prince, and Katie Foster a Old Beggar Woman.

Grainne Cullivan, Caoimhe O’Malley, Amber Canavan, Dawn Graham, Viktoria Apina, Abbie Troy, Shane Troy, Sean O’Grady, Chriss Russon, Ronan Clifford will all play roles as Villagers, and Katie Foster, Vanessa Galligan, Catherine McCollum take the part of Les Filles De La Ville.

It’s a big commitment too, says Adrienne. The cast are rehearsing from 1-4pm every day in the run up to opening night, to iron out any potential kinks.

“It’s all about getting the cast and crew ready. Everyone is so excited,” says Adrienne of the show, which will cost in the region of €20,000 to put on and is “self-financing”.

There hasn’t been a musical staged by the college in almost a decade and a half, but post-pandemic Adrienne was adamant that a production of scale would be a great way to lift the spirits of everyone involved and the wider community.

“The value of putting on something like this goes way beyond the money aspect when you take into account the happiness it’s bringing people, and the experience it’s giving students as well, taking part of working like myself behind the scenes.”

Long-time collaborator Paschal Lyons will direct this year’s musical, assisted by Vanessa Galligan, and Sue Donohoe as musical director.

What’s incredibly impressive about the Cavan Institute staged show is that it involves personnel from every faculty. No skill has been left untapped in bringing the production to fruition, and students in Hairdressing, Makeup Artistry, Fashion Design and Styling, Art, Craft and Design, and even Carpentry, earning end of year credit for their input.

Tutor Cynthia Stewart is leading the Fashion Design Students in curating the wonderful and colourful outfits, while Fiona Hurson and her art students, along with Des Reilly and the Furniture Design students, and Mel’s Signs are taking care of props.

Shane O’Rouke and Michael Shields will manage the stage meanwhile, and Vincent Macklin of Panic Hire is in charge of Sound & Lighting.

A full orchestra will provide musical accompaniment to the wonderful classic songs of composer Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman, as well as new songs penned by Menken and Tim Rice for the 2017 motion picture.

All will take place to a specially obtained digital LED backdrop, providing an added sense of magic and awe to this new and re-imagined jaw-dropping spectacle.

“You have to have everybody involved to make something like this work. I have to say a huge thanks to all of the students, in Hairdressing and Beauty and Make Up for all their help, to Ann Marie Lacey (Director), Gerard McKenny, Louise Clarke and Karen Fitzpatrick (Deputy Directors), to John Conlan, and to all the staff of Cavan Institute for all their assistance with the production of the musical.”

There are only a couple of dozen tickets left, and these can be booked through the Cavan Townhall website, €18 each for an adult or €64 for a family of four, not including fees. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast the musical, by Cavan Institute staff, students and their families, will run April 19-22.