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    Alex Goshert Performs in Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Production ‘Beauty and the Beast’

    Belle (Ashley Hiester ’19) and the Beast (Alan Mendez ’17). Photo by Ken Ek.

    Alex Goshert Performs in Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Production ‘Beauty and the Beast’

    ALLENTOWN – Alex Goshert of Shillington is one of 16 Muhlenberg students to perform in the College’s Summer Music Theatre production Beauty and the Beast, June 14 through July 1. The production will also feature 10 Muhlenberg alumni who will perform in various roles.

    The modern Disney classic features lavish scenic design, spectacular effects, and “a touch of Disney magic,” says director Gary John La Rosa. The show also features Alan Menken’s beloved musical score – and a timeless tale of love and redemption.

    Ashley Hiester, a Muhlenberg sophomore who plays Belle, says the themes of “Beauty and the Beast” will benefit all kinds of audiences.

    “It seems cliched, but the message of this show – about judging a book by its cover, about learning to love in spite of difference – are really important,” she says. “Our world could use some of this show’s wisdom and magic right about now.”

    The show tells the familiar story of Belle, a beautiful, bookish young woman from a small, provincial village, and the Beast, a vain young prince trapped under a spell. Can they break the curse in time, or are the Beast and his enchanted household forever doomed?

    La Rosa says he expects audiences will enjoy learning the answer.

    “It’s a story about finding love and finding home,” says La Rosa, whose directing credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, and prominent regional productions. “We’ve incorporated a professional illusionist and pushed the limits from our scenic and lighting departments. I want audiences to be thoroughly entertained by the magical effects, by the great song and dance. But I mostly want them to be surprised that it feels like it’s the first time they’re seeing the piece.”

    The “Beauty and the Beast” production team includes stage manager Chrstine Phelan ’17; choreographer Ann Cooley; musical director Ed Bara; lighting designer Gertjan Houben; scenic designer Edward T. Morris; and costume coordinator Barbara Erin Delo. The team also includes a magic consultant, professional illusionist David Caserta ’97, as well as makeup artist Joe Dulude II, designer of the makeup effects in Broadway’s “Wicked” and “SpongeBob SquarePants,” among many others.

    Read more about the production here.

    “Beauty and the Beast” plays June 14 – July 1. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

    Tickets can be purchased online at www.muhlenberg.edu/main/academics/theatre-dance/smt/ or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Empie Theatre in Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

    Now in its 38th season, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre was founded in 1980 by Charles Richter, Curtis Dretsch and Jeremy Slavin, with the mission of offering Broadway-quality professional theater productions for the greater Lehigh Valley community, at affordable ticket prices. The annual festival will present its 83rd mainstage production this summer on the campus of Muhlenberg College.

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