SIDNEY — When Lehman Catholic High School presents its 40th annual all-school musical, there will be a case of deja vu for a Lehman graduate.
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will be performed on March 22, 23 and 24, at the school. And this year’s musical is particularly special to 2008 Lehman graduate Libby Jacob, who not only starred in the school’s 2006 rendition of “Beauty and the Beast,” but is working as the show’s choreographer this year.
Jacob, 28, currently of Piqua, was involved in Lehman’s theater program throughout her high school career, and was a sophomore when she played Belle in the 2006 musical.
Jacob said she has had an interest in theater and dancing since she was a child, having first participated in the Music Warehouse Boot Camp when she was in third grade.
Music Warehouse, located in Piqua, was founded by Tom Westfall in 1996 as a way to give children the opportunity to experience the arts through dance, vocals and drama.
“Basically, it’s a summer workshop where you learn choreography and songs usually selected from some current musicals,” Jacob said. “There’s a senior chorus and youth chorus, so I started in the youth chorus.”
Jacob said she continued into the senior chorus and participated in Music Warehouse until she went off to college.
Jacob graduated from Ohio Northern University, in Ada, in 2014. She currently works part-time as a pharmacist at Dayton’s Grandview Medical Center.
In 2012, Jacob began as a choreographer for Lehman alongside Chad Hewitt. The two worked together for a couple of years, at which point Jacob began working as the theater program’s sole choreographer.
Jacob said her love of theater and previous experience with acting and dancing is helpful when it comes to creating new routines.
“I usually listen to the songs that I have to choreograph repeatedly and it just kind of comes into my brain,” she said. “I visualize what I think I want and then I actually write down my ideas. The kids joke with me and I joke with them that, ‘This worked in my head, so it may not work with actual bodies, but we’re gonna try it!’”
Jacob said she has looked forward to making this showing of Beauty and the Beast different than the 2006 version.
“I feel almost more pressure with this one because we have done it before, and I was in it, so I just really want it to be very entertaining and creative and different than what we did before; something new,” she said.
Her favorite thing about being a choreographer at the school she once attended is working with the students and being able to give back to the community there.
“It’s been awesome being on the other side,” she said. “It’s all about giving back to Lehman. I had a great high school experience there and a wonderful education.
“I really enjoy working with the kids and creating relationships with them,” she continued. “They’re the reason I do it. This will be almost my second class that I’ve seen all the way through school, freshman to senior, so to see them grow and change from year to year is amazing.”
Playing the lead role of Belle this year is junior Sarah Gibson, daughter of Joseph and Sonia Gibson, of Tipp City. The Beast is played by junior Conor O’Leary, son of David and Emily O’Leary, of Sidney.
Gaston is played by senior Michael Bunker, son of Mike Bunker and Kim Wilson, of Sidney. His sidekick LeFou is played by freshman Casey Topp, son of Gregg and Angie Topp, of Minster.
Mrs. Potts is junior Maddy Wiseman, daughter of Tom and Lori Wiseman, of Sidney. Lumiere is Elijah Jock, son of Dan and Melissa Jock, of Sidney. Cogsworth is junior Aidan Snyder, son of Jon and Betsy Snyder, of Troy.
Babette is senior Leah Peoples, daughter of Brian and Catherine Peoples, of Troy. Belle’s father Maurice is portrayed by junior Elias Bezy, son of Paul and Bree Bezy, of Sidney.
The Wardrobe is junior Jacquie Schemmel, daughter of Bill and Alicia Schemmel, of New Bremen. Chip is Isabel Flores, a fifth-grader at St. Patrick School, and the daughter of Rocio and Ernesto Flores, of Troy. Monsieur D’Arque is senior Kameron Lee, son of Kris and Peg Lee, of Piqua.
In other roles are Lauren Riley, Caitlin, Swallow, and Clare Schmiesing as the Silly Girls; Maria Schmiesing as the narrator; Seth Peoples as the baker; Ryan Gibson as the bookseller; Alex Vanderhorst as the young Prince; Alex Gleason as the Beast fight double; MacKenzie Bricker, Melanie Brunner, Brooke Perry, and Carianne Rindler as the wolves and other featured players; and Ella Gover as the Enchantress.
Chorus members include Maggie Bezy, Miriam Bezy, Allison Bornhorst, Angela Brunner, Kiera Burns, Mary Deafenbach, Grace Dexter, Sophia Flood, Emily Fogt, Kirstyn Lee, Matthew McDonald, Maximillian Schmiesing, Kaija Steward, Aaron Topp, Ellie Westerheide, Brieanna Werling, Madison Hurley, and Claudia Zugasti.
Production staff for the show includes Bill Zimmerman Jr., director; Ryan Jenkins, musical director; Emily Pax, accompanist and assistant musical director; Libby Jacob, choreographer; Ryan Wendel, house manager; Elaine Schweller-Snyder, production consultant; and Darla Cabe, costumer.
Adult Committee Heads are Bradly Gravunder, design and painting; Jon Snyder and Kevin Schmiesing, construction; Anne Schmiesing, makeup and cast meals; Melissa Jock, props; Tina Armstrong, refreshments; Jackie Riley, flower sales; and Molly Ritze, cast party.
Elaine Schweller-Snyder and Ryan Wendel are handling tickets, program, ushers and publicity.
Musicians are Emily Pax, piano; Rachel Birman, flute; Natalia Owsiany, clarinet; Jen Hebert, trumpet; Chad Heffelfinger, trombone; Ryan Wendel, bass; Mary Beth Monnier, synthesizer; Elaine Schweller-Snyder, keyboard (oboe); and Ken Monnier, percussion.
The Student Backstage Crew involves Crew Chief Joe Ritze, Theresa Flood, Alvera Barrera, Lily Greene, Caitlin Armstrong, Noah Young, Drew Barhorst, Kyle Wick, Tommy Hamlin, R.J. Bertini, and Hezekiah Bezy.
The Thursday, March 22, performance begins at 7 p.m., and Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, performances are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for reserved seating and $8 for general admission (bleachers), and will be available at the door or by calling (937) 498-1161 ext. 132.
Reach the writer at (937) 538-4825