Hope International University (HIU), a private Christian university in Fullerton, presented Beauty and the Beast on April 1, 2, 8, and 9 at their Pacific Auditorium on Nutwood Avenue. The musical was originally planned for March 2020 and was finally shown in the theater now that many COVID restrictions have been lifted. Beauty and the Beast is the 15th production of Ember Williams, an HIU alum.
Isabella Alcaraz, cast member and a junior at HIU, shared how devastating the cancellation of the show was in March 2020 when they were two weeks from the opening. “The show first got delayed and then cancelled. We thought we would come back in 2021, but that also did not happen. The cast is different now, some people from the original cast in 2020 have graduated,” Alcaraz said. “I was cast in this show as a freshman, I’m a junior now. I feel sad thinking about how many theater shows have been stolen from me.”
However, Alcaraz also shared a sense of encouragement now that the show is back and being shared with the community. She said that theater and the arts bring the community together and help us as individuals deal with the uncertainties of life.
“If I can inspire one kid to learn how to dance and sing, bring art into their lives, and create a desire to express themselves, then this hard work is worth it for me,” said Sierra Sandoval Academia, an ensemble member and a graduate student at HIU.
HIU hosted special matinee performances for local elementary, middle, and high schools. This included a special meet-and-greet with the cast.
The show was presented in partnership with Spero Program for the Performing Arts. Spero is putting on a summer camp in June for students from 3rd to 8th grades.