Director directs directors in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Both have directed stage productions. But in two weeks, the directors will become the stars in “Beauty and the Beast.”  Lauren Peck and Tony Claus will be the Beauty and the Beast, respectively, in the spring musical directed by Alison Chambers. Both Peck and Claus are instructors at Liberal High School. Claus is the vocal music instructor and Peck is the theater and speech instructor. Both collaborate on the school musicals, Claus teaching the vocal. “They were the best for their roles,” director Chambers said. “They have beautiful singing voices and they were the strongest choices for their parts. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t cast them.” Peck is originally from Poteau, Okla., and attended Sterling College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in theater education. Claus grew up in Colby, was an undergrad at Bethany College and got his master’s degree in music at Wichita State University. This will be Peck’s second year teaching in Liberal and Claus’ sixth. Neither of them have a problem working with another director. “I’ve worked with Alison before on Oz,” Claus said. He played the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the fall musical. “Both (directing and acting) have fun aspects, but directors have to look further down the road, like planning scenes, blocking and you have to consider everybody. It is certainly a lot more responsibility on the director’s shoulders,” Claus said. “When you are acting, you’re just delving into one part.”  Peck sees it as a learning opportunity. “It is a really interesting experience. I actually enjoy it, because I get to learn the way that other people approach things as directors,” Peck said. “I think it’s easier for me as an actor, having directed. I can just walk in and do what I expect and that is usually what most directors expect.” Seward drama fans may recognize Peck from last year’s musical production “Nunsensations” where she played Sister Robert Anne. Peck likes performing in the college musicals, because she has a lot of fun. Chambers has enjoyed working on stage with professionals in her field. “They behave very professionally, and they set a high standard for the rest of the cast,” Chambers said. “It makes my job a lot easier having a couple of pros who know how to play the game.”  The high school instructors also get to work with their current students. “It’s interesting seeing the high school and college students working together and seeing their teachers doing what we teach them to do and that it does work,” Claus said. “I have four who are my students and it’s nice to get on stage…with them,” Peck said. Miguel Rodriguez is a sophomore at LHS and has been in school productions with Peck. “I think working with Peck is a really fun experience. We go through the same stuff we do for her shows.” Rodriguez said. Peck has a lot of admiration for Chambers. “I think that Alison is a brilliant director. She knows exactly what she wants, and she can translate that very well to actors that learn in different ways.” Peck said. Another cast member sees Chambers as a problem solver. “She handles conflict lickety split,” said Rodriguez. The show is similar to the Disney movie but the writers of the show added more content. “The movie is very near and dear to my heart and this is the first time that a production like this will be put on at the school,” Chambers said. Chambers said audiences can expect “all the magic that goes along with a fairy tale, with beautiful music and special effects.”  The musical will be April 22-24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Showcase Theater. “Get tickets soon. They are flying out of Terri’s desk,” Chambers said. Contact Terri Barnes at 620-417-1451 for tickets.

Crusader photo/ Jose Rodriguez Alison Chambers directs Tony Claus and Lauren Peck in a scene. The musical “Beauty and the Beast” will be at 7:30 p.m. April 22-24. Tickets are $6 for a seat on the side and $8 for center seats. They will be $10 at the door. Tickets are available in the humanities office H116 or by calling 620-417-1451.  Students are admitted free of charge with a current SCCC/ ATS ID. For more backstage photographs see the multimedia section of CrusaderNews.com.
Crusader photo/ Jose Rodriguez
Alison Chambers directs Tony Claus and Lauren Peck in a scene. The musical “Beauty and the Beast” will be at 7:30 p.m. April 22-24. Tickets are $6 for a seat on the side and $8 for center seats. They will be $10 at the door. Tickets are available in the humanities office H116 or by calling 620-417-1451. Students are admitted free of charge with a current SCCC/ ATS ID. For more backstage photographs see the multimedia section of CrusaderNews.com.