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Soon the curtain will close on Beauty and The Beast in Arroyo Grande

LOVE GETS UGLY :  Beauty And The Beast presented by the Nipomo High School Drama Department can be seen on stage through May 30 at the Clark Center, 487 Fair Oaks Drive at Arroyo Grande High School. Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. and May 30 at 1 p.m. Students $5-$15. Info: 489-9444. - IMAGE COURTESY KELRIK PRODUCTIONS
  • IMAGE COURTESY KELRIK PRODUCTIONS
  • LOVE GETS UGLY : Beauty And The Beast presented by the Nipomo High School Drama Department can be seen on stage through May 30 at the Clark Center, 487 Fair Oaks Drive at Arroyo Grande High School. Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. and May 30 at 1 p.m. Students $5-$15. Info: 489-9444.

New Times What are you up to?

Erik Austin I am excited because I was hired by Robyn Metchik of Nipomo High School Drama to come in and be a guest director for the show and I brought a lot of my Kelrik team to help me do this. The show is cool and exciting because when I moved to New York when I was 17 years old, Beauty And The Beast was the first job I had and I toured around with the show for three years. I also did a production of it with the Pioneer Players here, so I know it like the back of my hand.

New Times
Tell me about Beauty And The Beast .

Austin We are doing the original script from Broadway, which is different than the movie. There are seven additional songs, but the dialogue is pretty much the same as the film.

New Times How long does it take to make the actor become a Beast?

Austin I do the Beast’s make up in about ten minutes.

New Times You do it?

Austin Yeah, I’ve learned to paint.

New Times Oh really.

Austin I painted away on these sets too. We rented Broadway sets/backdrops, flown in from Kansas, and we also used a lot of pieces from the Cinderella show. We built the set I wanted. The look of the show is just incredible.

New Times How did Charlie and The Chocolate Factory go?

Austin It was amazing, really good [Austin played Willy Wonka]. It was sold out every night and we double cast it so we switched off kids with each performance. They would be ensemble members on certain days and leads on other days.

New Times It seems you have a lot going on. But that is nothing new.

Austin I’ve over-contracted myself out it seems in the last couple months, and I’m tired.

New Times
And it’s just beginning. You’re upcoming season, auditions…

Austin Yes, there’s a lot going on.

New Times Tell me a bit about each upcoming show and why New Times readers should come and check out these shows.

Austin See Beauty and the Beast because even though it’s a high school production, you wouldn’t know it. The actors are amazing—in addition to the lighting, beautiful costumes and sets. Jungle Book opens on June 6 at Unity in SLO. I’m acting in that one as well. It’s a one-hour, family friendly show so it’s a good way to expose your kids to theater. Then it’s High School Musical 2 at the Spanos Theatre at the PAC at Cal Poly in July, and well, it’s High School Musical 2.

New Times You mentioned the talent of your actors, why do you think that is—why is there so much talent on the Central Coast?

Austin In Beauty and The Beast I got to work with Suzy Miller, our resident choreographer and she’s amazing and we both contributed numbers. Also, Robyn Metchik, who runs the Nipomo Drama program, is really smart for bringing in guest people so the kids become really well rounded. I’m shocked at how good the kids are at Nipomo High. They have won a lot of awards.

New Times How is the turnout at your auditions?

Austin It depends on the show. We got a million people for Willy Wonka, for Jungle Book it was more kids than adults.

New Times
I hope you’re going on a nice long vacation after this. And please don’t tell me you’re going to Disney World again.

Austin No, [laughs]. Probably Hawaii. And in October I am putting on Rent at the PAC. I want next year to bigger and better than ever.

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