This past Saturday morning, the Lincoln Cultural Center came alive with the help of some familiar Characters for The “Be Our Guest Tea Party” hosted by the Lincoln Theatre Guild as a promotional event for their upcoming musical, “Beauty in the Beast”, sponsored by Austin Orthodontics.
Mike Wirth, Vice President of the LTG, came up with the idea after seeing something similar done in other theatre groups. He said: “I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to have a moment with the kids– for them to come and dress up and then meet the cast. And to also promote the show, but it would be a great time for kids to come and have a little tea party and listen to music and play some games.”
For $10 a ticket, children and their parents could take photos with “Beauty and the Beast” cast members in their stage outfits, participate in creative games based off the musical such as a “Set the Tea Table” relay race and enjoy a dance party complete with a disco ball. Children could also partake in a tea party, with cupcakes provided by Lucky Duck Farm.
Hollen Carpenter, an LTG Board Member, who contributed a lot to the planning of the event, said: “We started planning “Beauty and the Beast” months and months ago, and Mike had mentioned doing a tea party. We just jumped on board with the idea. It’s like being on this fast-moving train; everybody’s jumping on board, and everybody’s feeding off of everybody’s energy. Everybody is willing to help. It’s just turned into this 200 person tea party.”
Characters “Belle” and the “Beast” were a big hit and a central part of the activities for the day. “Belle,” played by Hannah Pratt, lead a storytime, which event planners had turned into a game. Every time Pratt read the name “Belle,” children switched seats in the musical chair fashion.
Pratt, who has performed with LTG since 2017, said: “If I had to describe today’s tea party in one word, it would be magical. Being able to bring the joy of Disney to my hometown was an honor, and I am so excited to share the full show soon! It was also great to introduce children to community theatre. I am very proud of what we accomplished today.”
Holly Howell, another LTG Board Member, had a large hand in the planning process for this event, as well. Howell, also a former president of LTG, has had the unique experience of seeing the LTG grow since she was in the first play, “Harvey,” the board ever put on in 1981. She was excited to see the board participate in a new endeavor, and said: “It takes a team. It was a great idea. It took a bit of funding to get this going, but it was worth it. We’ve had a great response to the tickets already being on sale. We like to, as a theatre, reach out to the community and provide other stuff going on, and make people aware of what we do. It’s another opportunity to reach out to the community with something fun, especially for the children. I’m excited; I’m really excited.”
The day closed out at noon with a performance of “Be Our Guest,” a popular song from the play that cast members and children adore from the original Disney animated film. Jesse Ramirez, who plays the “Beast,” shared the same sentiment Pratt had at the end of the day and said: “The tea party was exceptional. It warmed my heart to put a smile on all of the children’s faces and to have them wrapped in the magic of Disney.”
Wirth, when asked if LTG would continue to do events like this to preface shows in the future, said: “This is the first time we have done anything to this scale. I think if we could tie something like this in the week before a show, it would be a real benefit to the community as well as a promotional outlet for the show.”
There are two weekends to catch this great show and The Lincoln Theatre Guild invites you to “Be Their Guest”. Curtains open on August 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9 at 7 pm, August 4th at 3 pm and August 10th at 2 pm and 7 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for Students and Seniors. Tickets may be purchased online at www.lincolntheatreguild.net/buy-tickets
Melissa Cordell is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies and is the Staff Reporter to L Town Radio. To email Melissa with a story idea or news tip email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Event Photos by Matt Burton of L Town Radio