Student shines in first lead role
Every year, the drama department puts on a play and a musical. This year, the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast was chosen to be the musical showcasing lead actress Bethany Perkins, who played Belle.
Perkins’ middle school choir teacher Ms. Kelli Falls, from Three Fires Middle School, got her involved in singing and theater. Ms. Falls also introduced Perkins to Broadway Theater. In ninth grade Perkins went to New York to see Broadway shows, such as In the Heights, Shrek, and The Little Mermaid. Perkins also had the pleasure of seeing Detroit’s production of Mamma Mia!, among other productions.
“Bethany is one of the most talented young ladies I have had the privilege to work with. Bethany is a person with great integrity. She is kind to others and encourages everyone to do and be their best. During Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2008, Bethany really brought Muzzy (her character) to life. She commands your attention on stage. I would describe Bethany as a triple threat! (a person who can sing, dance and act – really well),” Ms. Falls says.
Perkins has done six or seven different productions and two Community Theater of Howell productions, including It’s a Wonderful Life and Grease, but starring in Beauty and the Beast in her first lead role was by far her favorite production she has done because she has always wanted to play Belle. Perkins has yet to work as part of the back stage crew, but is slowly picking up the process with every production. Although she is very involved in theater, Perkins admits that she is “no Mary Dilworth.”
In past summers and during this upcoming summer, Perkins is planning to attend the University of Michigan’s musical theater camp and plans to go to school there for theater and music. After college, Perkins hopes to be able to perform on Broadway or record an album. In order to get there, she plans on taking vocal, dancing, and acting courses, playing in small music gigs, and continuing to play roles in many theater productions.
There are many aspects that make up the production of a play or musical, but Perkins favorite part is performing because it is the most rewarding. She admits that she doesn’t really get nervous anymore.
“It’s your job to not be nervous and you won’t do well if you are,” she says. There is always the chance that you will mess up the words or forget the lyrics, but Perkins says that with every production you get better at covering that up and continuing with the scene. It can be very scary, but she says she just thinks of the scene and what would best fit or rhyme with previous lyrics to get back on track. Therefore, the audience hardly notices.
About Beauty and the Beast, Perkins says, “The whole experience was amazing, and I was very pleased with the turnout. It was a great representation of the Howell High School arts programs.”
A lot of money and hard work was put into the play from the cast and backstage crew. She says that the drama department didn’t expect to fill the lecture halls, and it was everything they hoped it would be and more.
Drama teacher, Ms. Amanda Malo, directed Perkins in the musical.
“Bethany is a director’s dream. She is dependable, hard-working, and respects the craft. It is important to Bethany to push herself as a performer and she is always looking to challenge herself. Her dedication to this role was impressive and it came through in her performance. I enjoyed working with her and hope I get the chance to direct her again in the future,” Ms. Malo says.