Spring musical double casting occurs for first time in recent history


At the sight of an 8×8 piece of snow-white printer paper, senior Gabrielle Roberts, senior, erupts into tears of joy. She has just been cast as Belle for the spring musical, Beauty and the Beast.

“I was in a voice lesson when I found out, and I obviously wasn’t really all that focused. I just kept checking for the list while I was supposed to be singing, and when the list was put up and I saw my name, I abruptly stopped singing and started to bawl,” Roberts said.

However, Roberts wasn’t the only one cast as Belle. For the first time since the late 1970s, the musical has been double cast for a few female leads, including Belle. Mrs. Potts, Barbette, and the Wardrobe are also double cast.

“Double casting certainly isn’t normal for Hinsdale Central musicals, but anything is fair game in casting. I had mused with my friends before about how much we wished it would be double cast so more people could have a chance. I guess the directors listened to our prayers,” Roberts said.

Sarah Hansen, senior, who will also play Belle, shares Roberts’ excitement about the casting.

“To find out I was double-cast with Gabrielle was truly the icing on the cake. Gabrielle and I have been great friends for so many years, and we have been doing shows together since we were five,” Hansen said.

The decision to double cast the musical was made by musical directors Mrs. Christine Hicks and Mrs. Jennifer Burkemper.

“We did not go into auditions thinking we would double cast. However, the auditions were so strong, and the girls were so well prepared [that] we wanted to be sure to honor all of them,” Hicks said.

In addition to the decision to double cast the show, a fourth performance has been added so that the double cast characters will be able to each perform twice. Nevertheless, it will take some time before it is decided when the double cast characters will perform.

“The casts still need to be determined after we have had rehearsals to test out our stage chemistry with the other roles that have been double cast,” Hansen said.

This means that there will be mostly joint rehearsals and that Roberts and Hansen will be preparing very close together.

“What makes double casting so fun is that you get to have someone to work alongside every step of the way. Your double cast is a constant source of inspiration. Honestly, it’s wonderful to just have someone to jump for joy and freak out with,” Roberts said.

Despite working close together and having the same role, Hansen believes that she and Roberts will each bring a unique interpretation of Belle to the stage.

“As two different actresses having gone through different experiences, Gabrielle and I will definitely bring some individual differences to our portrayals of Belle,” Hansen said.

Not knowing how these interpretations will play out in the final performances could present a dilemma for musical goers deciding which cast they want to see. However, Hicks presents a plausible solution.

“Wouldn’t it be great if people came to two performances?” Hicks said.

Main Cast List


Belle: Gabrielle Roberts and Sarah Hansen

Beast: Yianni Kinnas

Gaston: Jack Cherry

LeFou: Johnny Pierce

Maurice: Will Fischer

Mrs. Potts: Laura Nelson and Georgie Sadler

Lumiere: Cooper Orler

Cogsworth: Jackson Dockery

Chip: Meagan House

Babette: Addy Stafford and Nicole Labun

Wardrobe: Presleigh Renner and Laena Carroll

Crony: Zachary Wilder

D’Arque: Grant Dunderman

Bookseller: Jake Berg

Baker: Arman Haveric

Silly Girls: Katie Cushing; Ryann Chioda; Amanda Koronkiewicz; Shannon Johnson

Narrator: Spencer Wawak

Wolves: Claire Baiocchi; Christine Boddicker; Mary Goers; Frannie Leone; Grace Rivelli; Nicole Stankus