‘Beauty and the Beast’ Discussion: ‘I Couldn’t Believe I Was Sitting in Henderson!’

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On Monday’s open line edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program, Town Talk co-hosts George Rush and John Charles Rose discussed McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center’s recent production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

With six shows performed over two weekends in October and November, the production drew a crowd of approximately 6,500 to the performance center. Additional promotions, such as Chick-fil-A’s “Crafts with Belle” night and the “Tea with Belle” event at McGregor Hall were also a hit, especially with the younger crowd.

The large cast of characters included former Miss North Carolina Victoria Huggins as Belle; Jonathan O’Geary as the Beast, Josh Glasscock as Cogsworth; Brian Westbrook as Lumiere; Jackson Hopper as LeFou, Shana Fisher as Mrs. Potts; Lilly Hicks and Eva Hopper sharing the role of Chip and even McGregor Hall’s own Technical Director Matt Nowell as the villain, Gaston.

The musical also included a full, live orchestra and professional costumes and sets provided by the National Broadway Tour.

“I went to ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and I mean this in the most complimentary of ways, I couldn’t believe I was sitting in Henderson,” said Rose. “It was absolutely overwhelming to me to be present there and to be seeing and hearing what I was seeing and hearing.”

Rose explained that while McGregor Hall is a paid advertising client of WIZS, the sentiments expressed were entirely his own.

“Everyone in the show was out of this world in their performance. My absolute hats off to McGregor Hall, Breckenridge Commons, the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation, Mark Hopper and everyone that was involved in the production,” said Rose.

Rose said that while he enjoyed watching the local talent, it was also encouraging to see actors participate from cities such as Raleigh and Durham. “That will help get the word out about McGregor Hall.”

“We have a destination here in McGregor Hall,” Rose said. “It goes beyond, in some aspects, DPAC or some of the other performing centers, because we have a lot less hassle here. Lines at restaurants are going to be shorter, food costs in Henderson are going to be less. We have a fantastic opportunity in Henderson and Vance County with this performing hall.”

To better understand McGregor Hall’s potential, the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation is currently in the planning phase with North Carolina State University to conduct a four-month economic impact study on the center.

Officials believe this study, set to begin in January, will serve the two-fold purpose of painting an accurate picture of the current impact of McGregor Hall on the Henderson/Vance County economy as well as establish ways to capitalize on that impact in the future.

Performances such as “Beauty and the Beast” bring in large crowds to not only McGregor Hall but also to restaurants, gas stations and other businesses, boosting the local economy.

And “Beauty and the Beast” is just the tip of the iceberg on the positive impact McGregor Hall has had since its grand opening in January of 2016.

Rose himself is a believer, “All of the things we heard about all of the years dating back, all of the positive things that we heard about our finally coming true!”

To hear Monday’s show in its entirety, please click here.

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