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KW’s New Director Debuts New Facility, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Kelly Walsh

UPDATE (2/23/17): Oil City News has received word that as part of the ongoing closures of District Schools and services, the opening night performance of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has been cancelled. A statement from Kelly Walsh says that tickets will be honored at next Thursday’s show, or to call the school about a refund.

Approximately 150 members of cast and crew, from both Natrona County High School and Kelly Walsh High School, are joining forces to bring Disney’s Beauty & the Beast to life. The play premieres on Thursday, February 23rd, at the newly redone Kelly Walsh Auditorium. This will mark the first show at Kelly Walsh’s newly improved facility, and will be only the second show at Kelly Walsh for theatre director Dustin Hebert in his current position.

  • The play will run February 23, 24, and 25 and March 2, 3, and 4. Tickets are $10 each and are available at Kelly Walsh.

A reimagining of the Animated Disney film, the musical version brings the iconic characters of Belle and The Beast, along with Cogsworth the Clock, Lumiere the Candelabra, Gaston the Hunter, and Maurice the Inventor to the stage, singing and dancing numbers that have been part of the American lexicon since 1991. A live-action film version of the musical, starring Emma Watson, is currently slated for a release later this year, Hebert says  that the timing was a happy accident.

“When I applied for the job, I always had it in my head that I wanted to do Beauty and the Beast,” says Hebert, who had served as a technical director for the show during a production in Colorado. “The hardest show that is out there right now is this show. It’s more technologically demanding than most shows short of Lion King or some other Disney shows.”

Hebert, who had been serving at Kelly Walsh in the Language Arts Department, took over for former Kelly Walsh theater director Michael Stedellie.  He says that during Stedellie’s career, Hebert was unable to find any Disney properties in the school’s production history. “I figured if I’ve got big shoes to fill, why not try the biggest feet in the room?”

Hebert says that the production represents a huge collaborative effort between cast, crew, and community. “We have costumes that have been shipped in from Arizona, set pieces that have been built by parents and community members, technology that’s been loaned to us from NC and Denver, and a brand new auditorium to show to the public.”

The debut of the new facility boasts improvements to sound, lighting and acoustics in the space. Theatergoers can also find improvements like new seating, handicap access, and assisted listening devices for the hearing impaired. Additional dressing rooms, as well as the ability to live-stream events is coming as renovations at the High School continue.

Hebert had previously mounted a dinner theater production in the Kelly Walsh Commons area of the school, but Beauty and the Beast will be Hebert’s first production in the main auditorium. Hebert comes to Casper this year from Colorado, he is an alumni of the Casper College Department of Theatre and Dance.