Beauty and The Beast: Set

Emily Winston, Staff Writer

The Ward Melville Players will take the stage on December 12th, 13th, and 14th, during which time they will presesnt their talents in this year’s production of Beauty and the Beast. After several months of preparation, the cast and crew, under the direction Linda Contino, are anticipating a terrific show. Besides the prowess that will be displayed on stage, music from the pit will accompany the actors, and stage crew actively will be moving equipment and ensuring everything runs smoothly from the moment the curtain rises, until its final fall. More occurs backstage than what meets the eye. Intricate sets establish the setting and tone of each scene.

Since early October, technology teacher, Mr. Rogers, and approximately fifteen students have been designing, constructing, and painting sets. Some of the students involved in producing and designing the scenery are enrolled in mechatronics classes and art classes, which enable them to apply the skills they have learned during the day.  Mr. Rogers has prior set work experience, as he has been involved with previous Ward Melville performances, and has been creating sets since his high school years. All of the sets are made of 2×4 plywood or styrofoam, and “sweat, blood, and tears”. The set crew has built chairs and beds and even a 55×25 foot long castle. They have used special machinery, including the CNC Router, which designs a piece of set on the computer and puts the wood on the machine to be cut out. When designing the sets, Rodgers and the crew decided to incorporate dual-purpose scenery, in which several scenes will occur more than once.  When thinking about opening night and the efforts that have gone into the sets, Rogers states, “All of sets were designed by us, but they were inspired by Broadway. I am excited to see our work displayed on opening night.” Rogers is anticipating a full house.

Several students from the Art Honor Society, including junior Elizabeth Mulford, also assisted with creating and painting sets. Even though this was Elizabeth’s first year painting sets for a Ward Melville production, she was fascinated by last year’s set designs, and she has enjoyed watching the scenery come together. For the show, Elizabeth created a stained-glass window and painted various pieces of equipment. Her peers encouraged her participation in set crew. When remarking on her experience she claims, “I love how involved the student body can be. I feel that students are actively involved. Being involved with the set is a really fun opportunity, if you’re interested in design and architecture. It gives me pride to see all of our hard work displayed on stage.”

Likewise, tenth grader, Stephen Jackson is a first year member with set crew. He joined because he wanted to be involved with the production and knew that this would be a rewarding experience. Stephen is aware that creating the sets has been a long process but he knows it will be worth it in the end. When looking on his experience with the set crew, Stephen describes, “I was definitely surprised by how much time went into the show, but now I know why the Ward Melville shows are so successful.”

If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, it’s not too late to discover Ward Melville’s Beauty and the Beast. Tickets can be purchased at