Playing Belle is the role of a lifetime for Hannah Grischke in CTH’s “Beauty and the Beast”

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Hannah Grischke has been a part of the Community Theatre of Howell since she was 10 years old.

“I auditioned for ‘The Sound of Music’ at CTH and played the role of Brigitta VonTrapp,” she said. “It was such a wonderful experience. I fell in love with musical theater and knew it was something I would do for the rest of my life.”

Twelve years and numerous shows later, Grischke is returning to the CTH stage to play the role of a lifetime. She’ll be Belle in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” when the show takes the stage Nov. 11-13 and 18-20 at the Howell High School Freshman Campus.

Grischke, 22, is a Michigan State University graduate who now lives in Rochester Hills and works as a graphic designer and social media specialist for MarxModa. Her last role for CTH was seven years ago in “Grease,” and she’s thrilled to be back on the Howell stage.

“Three months ago, I would have said my favorite role was Dorothy Gale in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ but now, it would most definitely be Belle,” she said. “I connect with her character on so many levels and have always been intrigued by this beautiful, classic tale since I was a little girl. When I saw that CTH was doing ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It’s been such a great way to get reconnected with the theater here after so many years.”

As the “Beauty” in the story, Grischke’s character is central to the tale of “Beauty and the Beast.” She has to help the Beast find true love to save himself, all while fending off the advances of the conceited Gaston.

“What I love about playing Belle is that it’s not forced,” Grischke said. “I will typically sit down and study a character beforehand to get an idea of their quirks and mannerisms, but for this role, Belle evolved naturally from my personal dreams, hardships, adventures, and relationships – something from this process that I am truly thankful for. When we’re on stage, the emotional triggers are honest, and I hope to carry the audience through the ups and downs in the most realistic way possible.”

In addition to loving the role, Grischke also loves the show itself.

“What I love about ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is the truth of its message, which reveals itself in naïve and subtle ways throughout the story,” she said. “The cast has taken this tale and turned it into something special – an emotional journey that is anchored by our connections on and off the stage. It’s truly magical; something rare and unique to this show that I will never forget.”

And she said the experience of being back on the CTH has been a wonderful one.

“I’m back in the theater where it all started for me, and I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “Director Kevin Rogers and the entire staff have taken a point to make ‘Beauty and the Beast’ truly magical, with outstanding creativity and work ethic. If you see this show, you’ll experience more than a show – you’ll be completely captivated and find yourself becoming a part of a beautiful and timeless story. We hope you sit back and relax, and ‘Be Our Guest!’ ”

Performances of “Beauty and the Beast” are Nov. 11-13 and 18-20, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, available online at cththeatre.org. Tickets are also available at Kahuna Coffee and Finding Roots in Howell; Big Acre in Brighton; Ed Bock Feed and Stuff in Pinckney; and Maria’s School of Dance in Fowlerville. You can also order tickets by calling the box office at 517-545-1290.

Photo by Richard Lim Photography. Visit them be clicking here.

About Buddy Moorehouse 85 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.