As in years past, the convention center was regaled with festive decorations, children in costume and a veritable playland of fun-filled games and activities. Sumptuous dining was also provided with a buffet of appetizers and finger foods such as crispy all-white meat chicken strips, tangy meatballs, garden fresh vegetables and dip, salsa, chips, a wide assortment of fresh fruits, desserts and of course, that all-time kid's favorite, corn dogs.
Adding to the festival atmosphere, a silent auction was held whereby all manner of toys and novelties were silently bid upon, in addition to an old-time auction of delicious homemade cakes and pastries, one eye-catching confection having been spun around a flaxen-haired Barbie doll - making her a Southern Belle of great "taste."
Among the items auctioned were a handcrafted "Beauty and the Beast" quilt, a silverplated child's tea set, a wide variety of collectible Barbie dolls, Kentucky Opry show tickets, Star Wars memorabilia items, and numerous gift certificates from local merchants offering everything from hair cuts and pedicures to fine clothing, car clean-ups, Jenny Wiley pontoon boat rentals, flower arrangements and dining in some of the area's finest restaurants.
Managing director, Marty Childers, announced the winning bids prior to the evening's curtain opening on the classic tale of love, romance and magic, thanking all who helped make the festival an enormous success for yet another year.
As the curtain rose and the production got underway, the audience soon found themselves mesmerized by the fine talents of Misty Daniels, as Belle, and Jacob Thompson, as the Beast. Also completely captivating the audience in a role he was most surely born to play, John Reinhold nearly stole the show in the role of Gaston, the egomaniacal character bent on capturing the sweet, but "odd," Belle for his wife. With each of the three actors bringing strong and capable performances to the stage, the trio managed, along with a fine cast of supporting actors, to bring Disney's story of a young prince held captive in the form of a hideous beast while searching for the meaning of love, to larger-than-life proportions, much to the delight of a thrilled audience who ended the evening of entertainment by rising to their feet in standing ovation.
Other strong performances worth noting was that offered by Adam Baritot (last season's flamboyant Captain Hook), as this season's just-as-flamboyant Lumiere. Marc Ciemiewiez as the oh-so-worried, yet quite pompous, Cogsworth and Jonathan Goble as Maurice, Belle's inventive father, also gave outstanding performances.
And Kim Harne and Skyler Slone were both cute as buttons in the roles of Mrs. Potts and her tiny son, Chip.
The energetic performances of the cast and youth ensembles are beyond anything one can imagine and the costumes and choreography simply must be seen to be fully appreciated.
Once again, the cast and crew of Jenny Wiley Theatre have put together an evening of musical entertainment that no one will want to miss.
Hats off to the wonderfully talented folk who make it all happen so splendidly. The "stars truly do come out at night" at Jenny Wiley Theatre!
For ticket information, call, locally, 886-9274, or toll free at 1-877-CALLJWT (225-5598), or visit www.jwtheatre.com.
In addition to Disney's Beauty and the Beast, other 2005 season productions are to include: Steel Magnolias, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Isn't it Romantic - a Cabaret.
JWT's Disney's Beauty and the Beast is sponsored, locally, by: Community Trust Bank and Kinzer Drilling Co., Citizens National Bank and McDonalds of East Ky. (orchestrations), Perry Distributors, Inc. (sound), and Paintsville Tourism Commission (costumes).