Last week marked the first set of rehearsals for the behind-the-scenes crew and the actors who are polishing their performances Monday through Saturday. The productions will be at 8 p.m. on March 13-14 and at 3 p.m. March 15. The cost is $10.
“It’s a huge project,” Marion, 29, said of the musical. “When people come to see the finished product they’ll see how much work goes into this—coordinating the orchestra, music, building sets, costumes (and) props. Honestly, the people who have come out to help on this have been amazing. It’s a cast of 45 with at least 15 to 20 people behind the scenes building props, (and) volunteering to build set pieces.”
Marion is no stranger to being a part of huge productions — he had a lead in School House Rock Jr. Live! and was its choreographer, and has also been involved with the Surry Arts Council since 1994.
But Beauty and the Beast will be his first time stepping in the shoes of a director for a musical of this size.
“At first, I was like Phew! Let me think about it,” said Marion, who is a choreographer, of when he was approached by the Surry Arts Council to take on the production as a director. “I’m a dancer by trade, and the show has a lot of dancing and so I’ve fused it into one job. I have choreographed and been involved with (Beauty and the Beast) before and know its requirement. I am meshing the two ideals (directing and choreography) together and getting everything working. I was nervous at first as a director, but so far things have been absolutely lining up, we’re moving right along and I’m feeling great about the direction we are moving in.”
Tanya Jones, the executive director of the Surry Arts Council, said Marion’s experience and personality seemed like a natural fit to lead the production.
“He’s taking it very serious because he wants his first Andy Griffith Playhouse show to be great,” she said. “He’s upbeat, positive, extremely talented and young with a fresh look. The community is very lucky to have young folk to come back here; it’s great for the community and for us to provide employment, even contractual employment, for youth with these artistic talents.”
“Joey is a wonderful choreographer and a big part of the show is music and dance. He’s currently teaching theatrical dance. It’s hugely exciting for me to hire someone who started out as a teenager in our program and who has been inspired by his time at the playhouse,” Jones added.
Marion, who is a native of Mount Airy and graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance and education, said he hopes his big directorial debut will showcase the abundance of local talent the community possesses.
“I want to bring a new perspective, this is my hometown and I’ve met a lot of great people in the field,” he said. “The cast is phenomenal, it’s the best turnout and I couldn’t have wished for a better cast. It’s going to be fun and quick paced. Everyone’s familiar with the show as a popular Disney cartoon, and it comes to life, and I hope the audience joins us right on that stage. It will be a great show.”
For more information call the Surry Arts Council at 786-7998.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.