Little Lila Manning brings a big presence to the role of Chip in “Beauty and the Beast”

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At the tender young age of 7, Lila Manning of Howell is already a seasoned stage veteran.

After tagging along and watching her older sister Keira on stage, Lila won her first role at the age of 4 in the Community Theatre of Howell’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” playing the role of Woodstock (she turned 5 right before the show opened).

Lila followed that up by appearing in CTH’s “Honk Jr.” and “Phantom Tollbooth Jr.,” and participated in four summer theater-camp productions, as well.

And now she’s landed her biggest role yet – Chip (one of the enchanted objects that come to life) in CTH’s big-stage production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The show opens this weekend at the Howell High School Freshman Campus, running Nov. 11-13 and 18-20.

Lila says that this role has been her favorite one yet.

“I get a lot of lines and I get to be with Mrs. (Sarah) Thomas (who plays Mrs. Potts),” Lila said. “She makes it fun for me and makes me feel comfortable. I get a microphone too and it’s cool. In real life, Chip is a lot like me – except I’m a girl and I’m not enchanted!

“I love all of the people in the cast,” added Lila, a second-grader at Hutchings Elementary School in Howell. “They are smiley and have good expressions. All of them are very good dancers and singers. The workers work so hard on the sets and props and to make the show great.”

Lila knew the story of “Beauty and the Beast” well before she won a part in the show, and she loves all the special touches that the CTH production features.

“I like that the show is different from the movie and they thought of new ideas to put in,” Lila said. “I love getting to be with all the adults at rehearsals because it makes me feel important. The directors are fun and I know them. They make each rehearsal awesome. The other actors in the show are easy to work with and I don’t ever want to leave. I’m proud that I’m one of the actors in this show. I love my CTH family.”

Performances of “Beauty and the Beast” are Nov. 11-13 and 18-20 at the Howell High School Freshman Campus, 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 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 119 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.