Manchester High School’s Theater Department Relights the Stage With an Outstanding Performance of “Beauty and the Beast”


On March 25, 2022, Manchester High School’s Sock and Buskin theater club put on the hit musical “Beauty and the Beast.” This was the first spring musical after 2020 when the play “Fame” unfortunately got shut down due to the pandemic.

The show starred Leilene Hernandez, who is a freshman here at Manchester High School. This was her first musical production and was also her first-ever Sock and Buskin production. This show was most of the leads’ first live on-stage performances, including Kishan Patel (played the Beast), and Nickolas Gastello (played Gaston). Patel and Gastello were also lined up to perform in the 2020 musical as well.

Beauty and the Beast was a sensational musical with amazing aspects from all of the cast members with dancing, acting, and singing. Everyone did a fantastic job and it was a great way to re-open the spring musical season after almost 2 years away from the stage.  

Owen Austin who played Lumiere gave an outstanding performance, with “Be Our Guest” being a highlight of the show. The cast members all gave excellent performances, Ms. Pot played by Lilly Jones absolutely killed Beauty and the Beast and her voice was spectacular. Nick Gastello and Alex Ortiz Calderon also completely blew the audience away with their solo performances. 

The costume design this year was done by Mrs. Zilora. The costumes this year were absolutely amazing. Of all of the characters, there were many defining characteristics in these costumes. For example, Cogsworth’s costume (played by Spencer Falkowski) has a little wind on the back of his costume to symbolize his change in becoming less and less human every day.

Lumiere had a very fitting costume as well, with the gold outfit and candlestick arms, allowing Austin to fully dive into the role. Hernandez also wore the iconic final yellow dress during the song “Beauty and the Beast”. This was a defining moment within the play and gave a sense of familiarity to the audience to portray the musical as the traditional story that we all know. This dress also gave familiarity to little kids who have seen the movies. All of the costuming was amazing and extremely accurate to the movies, broadway shows, and even live actions. 

Many of the students who performed in the musical were extremely excited to be finally back on the stage. Patel, via Instagram, confirms “This experience was the highlight of my high school experience to say performing is my passion is an understatement.” He continues, “This journey has brought me so much joy through music and acting as well as helping me build a new family.”

Austin also discusses that “It is incredibly difficult to articulate a final statement about this show, and the impact it has on my life, I am so grateful to perform alongside such talented and unique individuals.”

It is amazing to see a community that has never been on the stage ever or just returning to the state after 2 years of being away come together and create such a strong bond together as a group. Just seeing the amount of work and effort that has gone into the play does not put into words how amazing the production was. The chemistry was absolutely amazing between all of the actors and the casting could not have been better.  

Overall, the play was amazing and all the blood sweat and tears that had gone into the production were more than worth it. This production of Beauty and the Beast was a great way to re-open the Sock and Buskin drama club. The Manchester community cannot wait to see what productions the theater produces next!