Student Highlight: CIP Berkshire’s Own “Belle”
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Student Highlight: CIP Berkshire’s Own “Belle”

The following is a special needs program update from Asperger’s & LD College Programs. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.

CIP Berkshire AdeleBy Kara Demler,
Creative Arts Coordinator, CIP Berkshire

CIP Berkshire’s production of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, JR” opens on July 9th. We have only one more week of rehearsals before the big opening show. Things are very hectic here at the Spectrum Playhouse, of course, as the cast and crew runs through dances and songs, gathers costumes and puts together the stage sets!

About 4 months ago, we announced auditions for the classic musical and there was lots of excitement on campus as students here discussed which role they wanted to audition for and which roles might be the best fit for them and for their friends.

One afternoon, several days before the first audition, a student came into my office to ask about the upcoming auditions. This young lady was Adele, a performing arts student here at CIP Berkshire. Adele came into the program with an interest solely in working backstage behind the scenes. One of her possible future goals is to Stage Manage theatre productions and she came to CIP with some previous experience in stage management already in her pocket. But being in the spotlight herself was something that made her feel very nervous. I’m pretty sure that the last thing she ever expected to do here was to audition for a lead in our summer musical.

“What if, hypothetically,” she asked me “someone was thinking about auditioning for a certain part, but they didn’t know whether they could actually sing the songs?”

“What part does that someone want to audition for?” I asked.

“The part of Belle”

“Well” I said “ Belle certainly does need to sing, so that person could come to auditions and sing, then see what the director thinks.”

Later, I came to find out that, Adele (though not in her comfort zone being onstage), has loved the role of Belle since she was a little girl. For this role she might actually take a chance and tryout.

The day of the auditions came and as I approached the playhouse I saw Adele outside pacing rather nervously. “Are you auditioning today?” I asked her.

“I’m still not sure I can do this” she replied.

“It will be fine, come on in” I said. “We are all friends here – it will be fun. And you might just surprise yourself!”

The auditions were a great success. After hearing several students read for their roles I knew I had some perfect actors to match the characters.

Adele summoned up her courage at the last second. She came in, took a deep breath and read and sang for the leading part. Much to her surprise she got the role – of Belle!

Adele has been a true professional in rehearsals. She is always on time and prepared to work. She has her lines memorized. She has a wonderful attitude and (as she always does) she provides help to her fellow cast members with a smile whenever it’s needed. Running lines, jumping in for missing cast members or anything else that is asked.

I’m so glad Adele took a chance and tried something she never thought she would have the courage to do. It makes my job as director such a pleasure to work with a young woman like Adele. I look forward to seeing her shine as “Belle” next week along with all the other talented and hard working members of our cast!