‘Beauty and the Beast’ to take two stages

Elk River Community Theatre is bringing its performance of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” to Zimmerman in its inaugural show in the new auditorium.
This professional theater experience will include a cast of 66 local actors, actresses and vocalists; countless backstage crew; a full orchestra; and a stunning set.
The show will begin with three performances in the Zabee Theatre in Elk River. The massive set will then be dismantled and packed into trailers with dozens of costumes, and props to be driven to Zimmerman and reassembled in the new auditorium for three more performances.
For 42 years, ERCT has nurtured the love of theater in the Elk River community.
With the addition of Zimmerman’s state-of-the-art auditorium and the upcoming Rogers auditorium, the opportunity to build a districtwide theater program for all area students and community members is becoming a reality, according to ERCT play director Eileen Bowersox.
“Beauty and the Beast” was chosen due to its positive message. The title characters are both able to change and become different and better people than they start out as, Bowersox said.
Belle will be portrayed by actress and vocalist Lilly Hayworth, who began her career in theater at the age of 4 months and attended the St. Paul Conservatory for the Arts.
Father of five, Russ Branjord, plays the Beast. For Branjord, this is a family affair, as his wife and children are involved in the show- either in front of or behind the curtain.
Josh Malley has a stellar performance as the arrogant Gaston. Other performers include ERCT veterans Michael Conrad (Cogsworth), Lucas Ibister (Lumiere), Jodi Acker and Diane Jones (Wardrobe), Cheryl Hathaway and Janine Wilke (Mrs. Potts), Dave Inselman (Lafou), Eva Jones and Elizabeth Inselman (Babette), and Sam Branjord and Owen McCready (Chip).

Taste of theater offered for kids
ERCT is also offering a workshop for all ages and abilities.
“All that is required is a love for theater,” Bowersox said.
Children must be over the age of 7, unless a parent or guardian is also participating.
There will be three evening workshops from 6:30-9 p.m. July 24-26.
After completing a three-evening workshop, the participants will then attend a dress rehearsal with the full cast and crew at 6:30 p.m. July 27 and finally perform in the shows on July 28-30 in the new Zimmerman auditorium.
For more information, visit www.erct.org.

Elk River performances
July 21, 7 p.m.
July 22, 2 p.m.
July 23, 2 p.m.

Zimmerman performances
July 28, 7 p.m.
July 29, 2 p.m.
July 30, 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.erct.org.