'Lot of hours' spent preparing spring musical

Cary Ashby • Updated Feb 20, 2018 at 4:59 PM

NEW LONDON — Marshall Blaser is self-aware enough to know he has similarities to the character he is playing in “Beauty and the Beast.”

The 17-year-old son of Mark and Nicole portrays Gaston, the main antagonist in the musical. 

“He’s self-obsessed, any woman’s dream, but in reality he’s a monster,” said Blaser, a senior at New London High School. “My personality is very much like Gaston. … I think I’m the best at everything, but in reality I’m an Average Joe.”

New London Local Schools will perform “Beauty and the Beast” three times. The March 16 performance is a dinner theater that starts at 6 p.m. with the show at 7. The March 17 performances are at 2 and 7 p.m.

During the audition sign-ups, Blaser didn’t provide his own name. Instead, he wrote down “Gaston.”

“I was suggested to play it by our director,” said Blaser, referring to Samantha Quallich. “I was like, ‘I really want (to play) Lumière.’”

The cast, which includes elementary school students, started rehearsing about mid-September.

“We’ve spent a lot of hours on this,” said freshman Jaimie Adams, who plays Cogsworth the clock. “We’re pretty much like a big family and we can cover for each other.”

Junior Trent McCallister portrays the Beast while sophomore Molly Given is playing Belle.

“She (Given) is a real close friend of mine. She convinced me to do the play. This is the first play I’ve ever done,” said McCallister, the son of Terry McCallister and Mary McCallister.

The way Adams sees it, Cogsworth is the Beast’s butler.

“He always wants to fill his wishes and that doesn’t always end well,” said Adams, whose parents are Don and Brenda. “He’s always afraid he’s going to get in trouble with the Beast and Lumière is always opposing what (Cogsworth) has to say.”

Sophomore Carson Coey is playing Lumière, the candlestick.

“He’s important because he’s a charmer,” said the 16-year-old son of Eric and Lisa.

Trent McCallister was asked about the challenges of playing the Beast, who is known for his temper and being rough around the edges. The New London junior said he’s been known to “call out people” in real life, which has helped him with the aggressive side of his role.

McCallister said the Beast begins to mellow when he says the line “there’s so little left of me.”

“That’s when it hits him: ‘I need you,’” said the teenager, referring to the Beast’s relationship with Belle. “That’s when he realizes he has feelings for her.” 

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