Playing Lumiere in CTH’s “Beauty and the Beast” has been an illuminating experience for Foyid Mockbil

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The most challenging part of playing Lumiere in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”? For Foyid Mockbil, it was the French accent.

“I love playing Lumiere because it challenges me to become comfortable outside of my comfort zone,” said Mockbil, who plays the role in the Community Theatre of Howell’s production, opening this weekend. “I think that trying to speak with a French accent is hilarious – because I have no idea how to do one!”

Lumiere is the comedic candleabra-come-to-life in the well-known Disney musical, and it’s one of the juiciest parts in the show – he’s the character who kicks off the show-stopping “Be Our Guest.”

Mockbil is loving every second of it. Theater is a family affair for the Mockbils, and this production is no different. Daughter Elayna is joining him in the cast, while his wife, Marcie, is doing hair and makeup. His other daughter, Elissa, usually joins them in CTH productions, but this fall, she’s appearing in a high school play.

“Beauty and the Beast” takes the stage Nov. 11-13 and 18-20 at the Howell High School Freshman Campus

“My family’s first experience with CTH – or any theater – came in 2008 when our daughter Elissa landed an ensemble role in ‘Willy Wonka Jr.’ ” Mockbil said. “We fell in love immediately. I loved working with the crew backstage, our youngest daughter Elayna was helping with the set dress and painting, while my wife Marcie was helping out with hair and makeup and other odd jobs for the production. Whether the girls and I are on stage together or I’m helping out backstage, it’s just as much fun every time.”

By day, Mockbil is a police office in Dearborn, the city where he grew up. By night, though, he’s at the theater, where he has brought numerous memorable characters to life. Last fall, he appeared in CTH’s “Mary Poppins” as the bumbling servant, Robertson Ay.

“Beauty and the Beast” marks the seventh CTH production the Mockbils have been a part of.

“ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been challenging for me personally because this is the first time I’ve ever had a role with more than just a few lines and maybe a song and dance,” said Mockbil, who lives in Howell. “I am excited to see my girls watch me study and practice for the show so that they understand that I don’t just preach to them that we need to give 100 percent in everything we do, but I’m practicing what I preach. Work aside, we’ve been having a blast.”

Mockbil said he’s also enjoyed seeing the passion that others have brought to the production.

“I love this particular show because it’s easy to see just how much our director, Kevin Rogers, loves the story of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ” Mockbil said. “He is so passionate about wanting to tell his version of the story and it’s fun to see his imagination come to life I can’t believe so much work could be so much fun, but he makes it possible every night.

“The entire staff and cast of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been uniquely different from CTH productions we have been involved with in the past. I say this because it seems that the sense of family came immediately and naturally, which is a tribute to the insight of all involved from staff, to participants, and families. My family couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity.”

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