Berry gets involved with Rome Little Theater

Anna Rinaggio, Campus Carrier asst. arts and living editor

Rome Little Theater (RLT) recently announced casting for their upcoming show, ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Several Berry students and staff were cast in the production, which will showcase during the first and second weekends of December. 

Charlotte Brown, a junior at Berry, is performing with RLT for the first time. She was cast as Belle and said that when she first got the call telling her she received the role, she could not believe it. 

            “I didn’t even believe the words coming out of [the director’s] mouth,” said Brown. “I was so shocked, especially because I thought I was too short, I thought there was a lot of other factors besides my talent that hindered me from being in the role, but I told her I needed an hour to make sure I was mentally prepared for such a big role, but I ended up accepting. It was just exciting.” 

Brown said that most of preparation for the role will involve learning her lines and the songs as well as exploring the character of Belle. She found that her childhood spent traveling with her family will help her connect with the adventurous personality of the character.

“We’re getting the scripts very soon, and so a lot of it is going to be time that I spend on learning lines and learning the songs,” said Brown. “I think for me, the character of Belle is just so much about her passion to explore and I think she’s always singing about wanting to be beyond her town and wanting to adventure more, and she just has such a passion inside her, which I really can relate to. I was grateful enough to spend my childhood traveling with my family all over the world, and so I can feel that urge and build, really go out and learn more about the things that she sees and the reasons why behind things.” 

Andrew Bressette, a chemistry professor and the vice president for enrollment at Berry, started performing with RLT eight years ago. He was cast as Cogsworth in ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and said that his preparation process also begins with reading the script and figuring out how he wants to portray his character. 

“So I think one of the first things will be sort of reading through and really trying to think carefully about who this character is and what this character’s role is in helping to tell the story,” said Bressette. “And I think that then helps you just start to think about the mannerisms. And of course, Cogsworth is traditionally done as this British clock who’s got to keep everything running as a rule follower. I was kind of joking with Danny [Price] that as Lumiere, his role is to try to like burn the whole house down, and my role is to try to always keep it contained and marching along.”

Bressette said that is he had to pick one thing he was most excited for, it would be opening night and all the excitement it contains.

“I think opening night is always exciting and nerve wracking” Bressette said. “You work so hard, and you pour so much into a performance that people don’t see, and then when the audience begins to laugh or applaud or really get into the storytelling, that’s what makes it really worth it. And that’s the energy that gives you what you need to sustain yourself through what is kind of a grueling couple of weeks, when you go through tech week and into opening [night].” 

Danny Price, the general counsel for Berry, will be playing Lumiere in the production. Price loves the stage and has been doing shows with RLT for 16 years — performing in 10 and directing two of them. 

“I love being on stage,” Price said. “I don’t tend to get nervous on stage. In my private law practice career, courtroom practice was really my focus, and I tried 7,500 cases. I love being in front of people. There’s a certain dynamic of performance art to try to work as well. And so singing, acting, being on stage just always [has] been something that, if there is nervous energy, it stirs a motivation and an adrenaline in me.” 

Price said that he thought RLT was important to the Rome community for people looking for a creative outlet via the stage as well individuals who just want to watch from the audience. 

“For a small community like this to have such, in my judgement, high quality live theater is, it just adds to the experience and the enjoyment of people living in this town, and it is a big sort of feeding ground for people who go out and get involved with the other arts organizations in town,” said Price. 

Freshman Lyla Carroll, who was cast as an ensemble member for the show, grew up doing theater and said that she is excited to be back in a cast again. 

“I’m just really excited to be in a cast, because I just [think] it’s special to be in a group of people that are doing a show, and I would have missed doing that if I hadn’t gotten to do it [with RLT],” said Carroll. 

Carroll mentioned that she thought the school shows the cast will be performing in will be especially beneficial for the Rome community. The shows will mostly be performed for elementary school students, but they draw in all ages. 

“[The director] is really big on like wanting to include school shows in the performances because then like, kids that might not get to see it get to see it at a discounted price,” said Carroll. “So right now, she has two school shows for sure, but she’s trying to make another third one because so many kids have wanted to see it.”

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