‘Tale as Old as Time’ at Southampton Cultural Center

“It truly is a beautiful and yet very simple love story.”
The costumes for “Beauty and the Beast,” including the Beast’s mask, were created by artisans from around the country for the Southampton Cultural Center’s production.

“I’ve been apprehensive for months about this one,” said Michael Disher about Center Stage’s upcoming production at the Southampton Cultural Center of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which he is directing. 

“It’s so well known that it created an awful lot of pressure to not only do it justice, but also to do it in a way that is different from the usual incarnation, which is as a large cartoon.” He decided to focus on the romantic aspect of the story. “It truly is a beautiful and yet very simple love story. I went for more of a gothic romance.”

The objects and costumes presented many challenges. He spent months looking for people who could make the inanimate pieces. Part of Lumiere came from California, part came from Connecticut, part of Cogsworth came from Indiana, and the Beast’s mask was handmade in Ohio.

“So this has been a national endeavor of artists and artisans who looked at the piece and wanted to put their own artistic spin on it. Once all those objects were collected, I had to assemble them and, like oils, I had to paint my own canvas. It has been painstaking. But the end result is beautiful.”

The production features a cast of 21 and an eight-piece professional orchestra. “The sound should be very rich, very lush. It’s probably one of my favorite Broadway scores — a beautiful, perfect, big old Broadway show score.” As for the story, “I am presenting it as a tale, a tale as old as time.”

The cast features Marco Barrila, Daniel Becker, Michael Casper, Julie Crowley, Bethany Dellapolla, Gabriel DiFrancesco, Jonathan Fogarty, Adam Fronc, Joey Giovingo, Eli Jones, Katrina Lovett, Pamela Morris, Tom Rosante, Michaal Lyn Schepps, Anna Schiavoni, Alyssa Semken, Amanda Summers, and Darren Ottati as the Beast and Mary Sabo as Belle. Amanda Jones is the music director.

“Beauty and the Beast” will open Friday and continue through March 25, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 7. Tickets are $28, $15 for students, and dinner-theater and brunch-theater packages are available. More information can be found at scc-arts.org.