“So, Belle. What’ll it be?
Is it ‘yes,’ or is it — ‘oh, yes?’”
Nathaniel Chase proposes mid-song on Potter Auditorium’s center stage three nights a week, and is soundly rebuffed.
“It doesn’t go so well for me — for Gaston,” the Wit’s End Theatre “Beauty and the Beast” actor said.
It’s a callback to three years ago, when Mariya Maragos-Chase — then Mariya Maragos — received another center-stage proposal from him in another Disney show, “The Little Mermaid.”
That one went differently.
Hint: she said yes, and not just because the pair played the romantic leads in that one.
The current production of “Beauty and the Beast” is only the couple’s second musical together. They met during a production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” in 2015 — Maragos-Chase was the princess again, while Chase hadn’t auditioned for any of the troupe’s musicals at that point, despite his immediate family’s heavy involvement.
“The Little Mermaid” was the culmination of one dream to play opposite each other, Maragos Chase said. “Beauty and the Beast” is a second — to take on decidedly antagonistic roles.
“At auditions, they seemed perfect fits for the roles,” Kathy Keech, the show’s guest director, said. “We have Mariya as the spunky title role, and her husband is the villain.”
That’s not the only on-stage connection, though. With six sets of family members on the billed cast alone (and more in the orchestra and production team), this staging of “Beauty and the Beast” is a “great family show” in every sense of the term.
“I was actually unaware when directing the show of just how many family combinations there actually were in the cast as well as in the crews,” said Keech, who directs her own sister in the production. “I can think of numerous families — some up to five members — involved in the show in one way or another. … The list is endless.
“If they’re not onstage, they’re related to someone behind the scenes, or down in the pit playing with the orchestra,” Keech added. “There are more than you imagine!”
“Me,” that song in the first act referenced above, is one of Keech’s favorite numbers between Maragos-Chase and Chase. “It’s very funny, especially if you know they’re actually married,” she said.”
With that said, don’t expect them to act too lovey-dovey in the theater. The couple is dedicated to “sustaining the magic” for young viewers, who might not understand if Belle and Gaston seemed too close during the meet-and-greets after the show.
“Beauty and the Beast” opened last weekend, with three more shows this weekend – 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 5 p.m. Saturday, at Chatfield Center for the Arts, 405 Main St. S, Chatfield.
That final show takes place after the Western Days parade. Tickets are available online at chatfieldarts.org, by calling the box office at 507-884-7676, or at the door before each performance.