LINDSBORG — In a tradition nearly as timeless as the story they will stage, Broadway RFD's production of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" comes to life at 8:30 p.m. on July 21, 22, 28 and 29 at the bandshell in Swensson Park, 433 N. Second St. in Lindsborg.
"Beauty and the Beast" features Molly Johnson as Belle, Bill Olson as Maurice, Brandt Busse as Beast and Tyler Johnson as Gaston.
Started in 1959, Broadway RFD is the longest-running outdoor theater in Kansas. The group gives their audiences a chance to watch a musical while seated on lawn chairs, bleachers or blankets.
"It's worked for more than 50 years," said Bill
Olson. "We rehearse out here; build sets out here."
With a musical that requires more set pieces than average, the cast and crew have worked hard to construct castles and cottages in under two weeks.
"This set has come together since July 4," Johnson said. "We can't do anything, set-wise, until after our Old Fashioned Fourth of July."
Being outdoors gives the company a chance to do what indoor productions can not — in this case, using live flame to light torches.
"I think people who have seen 'Beauty and the Beast' will like this because of our limitations and advantages — you're always going to get something different than what you've seen before on another stage," Johnson said. "There's stuff we can do that others can't and stuff we can't do that others can, but we have fun."
Part of that fun includes working with fellow actors.
"My wife is Belle," Johnson said. "She gets to admonish me on stage. I'm sure she relishes that opportunity. She does a really good job at it, too. I don't feel like she's acting too hard."
Corralling the chaos of rehearsals is director Eric Lundstrom.
"Eric's got a great vision of what the show should look like. He's very organized," Busse said. "He kind of lets you develop your own character, which is nice. He definitely demands that you do the best that you can do, he's a wonderful director to work with."
Wearing layers of material and makeup is a small sacrifice for Busse to make to play the part of the Beast.
"It's been a great experience, I've really enjoyed it," Busse said. "It's been a role I've always wanted to play and it finally came to the area, so it's great that I get a chance to do it."
Though the musical has some differences from movie versions of the fairy tale, the message and magic of the story is what keeps audiences coming back to see it again and again.
"It's been an iconic story for a very long time and it's a great family show, too," Busse said. "Parents can bring their kids out here and the kids just love it."
Attendees can spend an entire evening in Lindsborg, browsing its locally owned shops and trying specialties at its restaurants.
"We have a real, thriving restaurant scene downtown," Johnson said. "You can go downtown and eat and come see the show for less than what you'd pay to see just the show somewhere else,"
For more information about "Beauty and the Beast" or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.broadwayrfd.org. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Rendezvous Adventure Outfitters, 113 N. Main St. or The Good Merchant, 135 N. Main St. in downtown Lindsborg. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children ages five to 12. Children four years old and younger are admitted without charge. Tickets may also be purchased at the gate, where they will be $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 5 to 12.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.