‘Good story telling’ in Anoka High’s ‘Beauty’

The Anoka High School theater department’s upcoming production brings Disney’s classic “Beauty and the Beast” to life.

Senior Tara Schaefle is Belle in Anoka High School’s spring musical “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo submitted
Senior Tara Schaefle is Belle in Anoka High School’s spring musical “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo submitted

The show opens May 4 and runs for six performances through May 12.

Directed by Matt McNabb, the plot follows Maurice, who becomes lost in the woods and seeks shelter in an old castle. He is captured by the master of the castle, an insidious beast. His only hope of saving his life is for Belle, Maurice’s daughter to surrender her freedom. In her infinite kindness, she comes to her father’s aid… and face to face with Beast.

McNabb sums up the show as “the power of good story telling.”

You might want to catch this performance to see the magic McNabb works on staging large-scale productions. This is McNabb’s last production at the high school. His swan song, as he calls it.

“And I couldn’t be more excited…,” he said. “For me, this show is a celebration of Anoka theater and our amazing students and parents.”

He has been the face of Anoka High School’s theater for seven years, directing such productions as “Into the Woods,” “Aida,” “Les Misérables,” “Westside Story” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” to name a few. But McNabb, a 2001 graduate of Anoka High School, won’t be far away. He’ll move on to Anoka’s Lyric Arts theater, where he will continue to share his artistic talents as volunteer coordinator. He also plans to freelance in lighting design and as a theater director.

McNabb directs a cast of 60 actors in Anoka High’s “Beauty,” supported by 30 musicians and 20 crew members.

Lyrics are by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice with music by Alan Menken. The show is based on a book by Linda Woolverton.

“It’s like soul food,” McNabb said about “Beauty.” “It’s comforting, familiar, exciting and brings a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.”

Among its many songs are: the now classic title song “Beauty and the Beast,” “Something There,” “No Matter What” and “Home.”

After the show (with the exception of closing night), audience members, especially kids, will have an opportunity to have their pictures taken with their favorite cast characters: Belle, Beast, Gaston, Mrs. Potts and others. Cost is $2 a piece.

Proceeds will go to the theater department. Anoka Theatre Boosters and actors in the show are coordinating the fund-raiser.

Anoka High School presents “Beauty and the Beast,” directed by Matt McNabb, May 4, 5, 10, 11 & 12, 7:30 p.m., May 6, 2 p.m., Adults $10, students/seniors $8,  3939 Seventh Ave. N. For more info visit www.anokatheatre.org or call the box office at 763-506-6439.


Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]