Alexandra Cid gets to fulfill her childhood dream of slipping into a Disney princess' shoes for her role in the classic fairytale Beauty and the Beast.
"We were all raised watching our favorite princess and each little girl has her wishful dream of becoming a princess herself. I am the typical girl who wanted to live in a fairytale.
"I want children to see me and instantly know I am Belle as soon as I walk out on the stage," she said of playing Belle in the Chiawana High School production of the Disney classic.
Drama director Todd Westendorf selected Beauty and the Beast for the school's opening musical of the season "because we needed a big, well-known show that everyone could relate to, and want to bring their families to come see."
The show opens Dec. 1 in the auditorium at the Pasco school, 8125 W. Argent Road.
Westendorf chose his two lead characters well because Cid and Zach Buhler, as the beast, are huge Disney fans.
Buhler admits he's one of Disney's biggest fans and has memorized most songs from every Disney movie he's ever seen.
"When I was younger, my sister and I always watched Disney movies," said Buhler, 17. "We loved the stories, characters and music that Disney shared with us, (which) is all about bringing families close."
One of Buhler's biggest challenges as the Beast was conquering a worthy roar.
"Everyone loves a good strong roar, and it took me days -- no, weeks -- to get it just right," he said.
Fulfilling such a well-known role can be intimidating, Cid admits.
"Impersonating a character who is so well known by the community is like trying to fit into a shoe that is too big. However, our job is to make walking in those shoes look easy," she said.
Buhler said his role as Belle's beast is what every man aspires to be -- powerful, strong and courageous.
"As well as transforming into a gentle, charismatic, handsome prince, which every woman wants in a man," he added. "This show will be huge, spectacular, enchanting, magical, and it will knock your socks off."
Musical director for the show, Debi Eng, credits the group of talented students with making tremendous sacrifices in putting the show together.
"We have some of the most talented kids that I have ever worked with, and it's going to make for a fantastic show," she said. "The hard part is the very long days we all put in. Many of these kids start their day in a zero hour class at 6:55 a.m. and don't get home until after 8 p.m. Then they get to do their homework. I have a deep respect for these students for the commitments they've made."
Completing the ring of theater experts helping put this production together are Ronn Campbell as set/light designer, Suzanne Quinn Burroughs as choreographer and Verna Schwilke as costume coordinator. Most of the costumes for the show were borrowed from Westview High School in Portland.
"We are renting the costumes for this show because we couldn't make them for what we are paying in rental fees," Schwilke said.
All the shows Chiawana will present this season are fundraisers to send the Chiawana Stage Company, the student theater department, to Scotland next summer to perform at the American High School Theatre Festival, which is part of the famous Edinburg Fringe Festival.
Curtain time for Beauty and the Beast is 7 p.m. Dec. 1-2 and 8-9 with 1 p.m. matinees Dec. 3 and 10. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org