Vanguard University’s highly acclaimed and award-winning department of theatre arts presents the Disney Broadway musical by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, & Linda Woolverton, Beauty and the Beast. The production is presented in the Lyceum Theater on the Vanguard University campus, beginning April 4th, 2024 and running three weekends through April 21st. .

Director, Nikki Snelson said of the production, “The story of Beauty & the Beast has been told for hundreds of years. From Villeneuve’s ground-breaking French novel to the Disney smash hit films to the Broadway stage, audiences have fallen in love with this beautiful story of love, acceptance, morality & community. The themes are every bit as powerful now as they were centuries ago. As we all struggle to accept each other in this modern world, Beauty & the Beast implores us to open our minds and our hearts to things that we don’t understand and ultimately each other. I have had a personal relationship with the show for over 25 years. One of my very first professional jobs as an actress was on the national tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I joined the company in Boston and sat in complete awe at the spectacle & magic on that stage. The sheer scale of the show was mind blowing. When we decided to attempt this gorgeous piece at Vanguard, I was honored but trepidatious. How will we pull off this HUGE show in this intimate space? As we started our rehearsal process, it became pretty clear that we were not going to need the pyrotechnics & million-dollar budget. We had something better. We had an incredibly dedicated, passionate and talented team of actors, musicians, creatives and crew! The love and care that this group of people have taken to bring this iconic fairy tale to life has been life changing.”

About the Director

Nikki Snelson has been working on Broadway and beyond as an actress, creator, director, choreographer and educator for the last 30 years. As an actress, Ms Snelson is most recognized for her performance of Brooke Wyndam in the original Broadway and MTV cast of Legally Blonde. While at the Palace in LB, she was a part of the deliciously campy “Search for the New Elle Woods” on MTV. Nikki originated the role of Winnie Tate in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun (starring Bernadette Peters). She was also seen on Broadway in Sweet Charity (starring Christina Applegate). Nikki spent several years on National Tours as “Cassie” in A Chorus Line and “Susan” in Tick, Tick, Boom! She also performed in the Broadway National Tours of Beauty and the Beast, Show Boat and Hello, Dolly with Carol Channing. Snelson originated the role of The Mad Hatter in Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland, played Velma in Chicago at Maine State Theater and Sally Bowles in Cabaret at The Napa Valley Opera House. On the big screen, Nikki was featured in the groundbreaking documentary Every Little Step as well in the major motion pictures Reefer Madness and Across the Universe. On the small screen, Nikki has been seen on Desperate Housewives and All My Children. She received her training in Musical Theatre from Boston Conservatory after growing up in St Louis and making her professional debut at the St Louis Muny. Most recently, Nikki directed and choreographed Legally Blonde at the Kansas City starlight. Ms. Snelson has directed, choreographed, and taught ALL over the world including: Argentina, Chile, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Ireland, Scotland, Paris, London and many more. She is an artist in residence at Singapore’s famed theater school, LaSalle College of the Arts. Her directing credits include: Mamma Mia, Holiday Inn, All Shook Up, World Goes Round, Gypsy, Wedding Singer, Pajama Game, Cabaret, Chicago, Joseph and A Chorus Line. Nikki has choreographed for Elton John’s Life Ball in Vienna, The Young and the Restless, The Miss America Pageant and the “The Funny Dance Show” on E! Ms. Snelson is the voice and CGI likeness of “Annie” in RockStar Games Midnight Club:Los Angeles. In the spring, Nikki will work on Legally Blonde at City Springs Theater in Atlanta and The Prom at University of California-Irvine. Nikki has worked with the Gem Theatre in Garden Grove on Pippin, All Shook Up and Joseph! This is Nikki’s 5th show at Vanguard University. Nikki resides in Orange County, California with her husband and 5-year-old son. Nikki is the CEO of Musical Theatre Mayhem, a triple threat workshop experience featuring Broadway’s biggest stars! www.MusicalTheatreMayhem.com

About Beauty and the Beast

The beloved fairytale musical based on the 1991 Academy Award-winning animated film, an arrogant young prince and his castle’s servants fall under the spell of a wicked enchantress, who turns him into the hideous Beast until he learns to love and be loved in return. The spirited, headstrong village girl Belle enters the Beast’s castle after he imprisons her father Maurice. With the help of his enchanted servants, Belle begins to draw the cold-hearted Beast out of his isolation. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. It is a classic romantic story about finding love in unexpected places. This eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of countless audiences worldwide and is filled with unforgettable characters, imaginative sets and costumes, and breath-taking production numbers.

Cast: Matthew Barge as the Beast, Rezia Landers as Belle, Elijah Munck as Gaston, Koy Hackworth as LeFou, Luke Desmond as Lumiere, Alexander Edwards as Cogsworth, Jordan Ward as Mrs. Potts, Yasmine Reid as Babette, Arabella Chrastina and Sadie Alexander as Madame, Gregory Dodd as Maurice, Gabrielle Paul, Leilani Cranford and Rylee Schmidt as Silly Girls, Kendra Barnhart, Julia Flores, Audrey Gall, Nathan Gall, Nathan Kibbe, Nadia McGill, Madison Melendes, Christiana Rose, Joshua Tribble as the ensemble.

Tickets

All performances are presented on the campus of Vanguard University, in the Lyceum Theater. Ticket prices are $20 for general admission and $16 for seniors, children, college students and groups. Tickets may be purchased at www.vanguardtickets.com or by calling the Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145. Performance dates and times are April 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20 at 7:30pm and April 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 at 2:00pm.

About Vanguard University

Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-focused leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The Theatre Department is accredited by NAST. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard a top 12 regional college in the west and a top veteran-friendly college for 2015, and The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2014 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. 

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