Ahwatukee Foothills News: Local Schools

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Local Schools

Two Desert Vista students lead big cast for local production of Beauty and the Beast Jr.

Photo Courtesy Of Lewis Studio 111
Desert Vista High School students Audrey Williams and Jeremy Bassham play the title roles of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” in the Lewis Studio 111 production Saturday June 25. 

Two Desert Vista High School students will have key roles as Ahwatukee dance studio founder Kimberly Lewis leads 50 actors, dancers and singers to the stage of Mountain Pointe High School’s Fine Arts Theater this weekend for a production of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.”

The Disney classic on Saturday, June 25, at Mountain Pointe Fine Arts Theater is Lewis’ Studio 111 Theater Company’s second production, following last year’s presentation of “The Wizard of Oz.

Desert Vista has a big presence in the production with cast members Jeremy Bassham and Audrey Williams, both students. And Desert Vista English and Theatre teacher Jenefer Miller. 

invites the public to “Be Our Guest” on Saturday, June 25, for its production of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.”

 “We’re bringing a little bit of Broadway to Ahwatukee,” said Lewis, owner of Dance Studio 111. “These kids are putting their heart and soul into making this a first-class production and hope the community supports their hard work by attending the show.”

Added Miller: “I’m thrilled with the level of talent of this cast. I’m equally impressed with the positive attitudes of the cast and how the older students are role models to the younger kids.”

Bassham, 17, takes the lead. A spokeswoman for Lewis called him “a talented youth who is thrilled with his first leading role in a musical. Bassham is enjoying stretching his acting skills by playing the emotional and sometimes angry Beast.” 

Bassham said: “I enjoy many different experiences in my life, including playing sports. But there is nothing like the unique experience of being in a musical and knowing that for those moments on stage, you can be someone else and you can take the audience somewhere else.”

His counterpart Belle is played by 16-year-old Audrey Williams, who has played numerous roles, including Glinda in last year’s Wizard of Oz production.

 “Musical theatre is my life,” said Williams. “It brings me so much joy and allows me to express myself.” 

Lewis said she and her team, known for her studio’s annual production of “The Nutcracker Ballet,”  are bringing “the same commitment to the theatre company’s costumes, lighting, backdrops and props.”

She added that she works closely with the Ahwatukee community and families “to fine-tune every detail of the production, ensuring a crowd pleaser on every level.”

  Costumes are designed and hand sewn by DeAnn Nevison and props are designed and made by Jon Nevison and his crew.

Lewis joined forces with RLS Music Studio to create the theatre company “to integrate the tremendous talent of their dancers and singers for the community to enjoy,” according to a release.

“The collaboration we’re experiencing on set with the actors, singers, dancers and directors is magical. I love seeing kids from various disciplines exploring new areas of performance while also honing their existing skills,” said Rachal Soloman, owner of RLS Music Studio. 

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