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Ginger, Garlic, and Neti Pot (TM): Top 3 must-haves to survive cold season in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

By Jennifer Paz

Kill the Beast! No, I’m not referring to the furry thing with a bad temper who lives in the castle and plays with a magic mirror. It’s the other furry thing that lives in the theatre — the dreaded cold virus.  It’s inevitable really. You get a bunch of actors together in closed quarters during cold season, and you’re bound to share more than an occasional baked good or candy from your Secret Santa.  Despite the precautions you take (i.e. washing your hands frequently, saturating yourself with Emergen-C, taking Airborne, sipping Throat Coat, sucking on Ricola, etc.) if you share a prop with a sick actor, have a stage kiss with one, or even exchange a quick hello in passing, forget it: you’re bound to get sick sooner or later. The cold bug eventually makes its round to your dressing station and if you’re hit with an unsuspecting immune system, you just have to suck it up and let the annoying cold takes it course.

I was just hit with the beast over the weekend, and thank goodness I was able to nip it in the bud before it got any worse. I felt its presence early Saturday morning before the matinee and doubled up on my Emergen-C before, during, and after the performance. Perhaps it was the ambitious afternoon that followed, but I felt it come on strong during the annual Donor Party and picture taking session onstage between shows. No amount of Airborne was going to stop this cold from slowing down. It was here to stay and it made its presence very clear later that night during the evening performance. I remember feeling a bit warmer than usual in my heavy costumes and realized it was probably my immune system kicking itself into high gear.

I went home that night, exhausted, and knocked myself out with some strong cold syrup, you know the kind, the one with the high alcohol content. Wee! The next day I muted the symptoms with a daytime cold syrup and took the advice from my fellow actors, “take ginger, bathe in it, sip it in your tea, GINGER, GINGER, GINGER!” And that’s exactly what I did on my day off. I grated ginger and garlic in chicken noodle soup, and I also sliced ginger and put it in my bath. I also consumed loads of garlic cloves whole, which doesn’t give you the most inviting scent, but boy does it sure fight off those nasty cold bugs! By Tuesday morning I felt tons better and was amazed at how quickly the ginger-garlic concoctions actually worked! I also drained my nasal passages with my Neti Pot (TM) -imagine a salt and water solution-filled mini Mrs. Potts pouring into your nostrils to drain your nasal passages. I know, it took me a few tries to keep myself from drowning. Here’s a helpful instructional video to show you how to properly use a Neti Pot(TM).

I’ll be sipping ginger tea for the rest of the week for sure, and if you start feeling that nasty beast sneaking up on you, feel free to try this magical potion — I promise it will kill the beast!

There are loads of information online about the benefits of ginger but here is one recipe I found on the internet:

  • To make 4 cups of ginger tea, start with a 1 inch piece of ginger.
  • Peel the ginger and grate it coarsely or slice thinly.
  • Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the ginger.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer the tea for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the strength you like.
  • Pour off the tea, or strain if necessary.

Enjoy hot or cold. Many enjoy the tea as is, but you can also sweeten it with a little honey, and lemon is optional. Ginger tea is commonly used as a cold remedy. It is said to boost the immune system, soothe sore throats, and treat bouts of flu. It is also believed to improve digestion and help relieve nausea.”

Cheers to your health!

Jennifer Paz

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Village Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast boasts some incredible behind-the-scenes creative talents. One them is Alex Berry, scenic and lighting designer. Berry has been hanging around Village Theatre since 1979 acting, directing, and designing. You may have seen his work as scenic and lighting designer for our acclaimed productions of The Who’s TOMMY or CATS.

Ensemble of CATS. Photo by Jay Koh.

This time around, he’s put his talents to work on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Berry once explained that while creating the world of Beauty and the Beast, he based the style on the work of a man named Goro Fujita. Fujita is Japanese, grew up in Germany, and now works for Dreamworks in the Bay Area. It’s interesting to compare digital artwork by Fujita and Berry, as the similarities are there despite the fundamental differences. Check it out:

The digital painting on the top was done by Fujita (see more here) and the other was done by Berry.

Additional digital paintings by Alex Berry can be seen below:

Dungeon Village scene

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Village Theatre’s Wig Master Doug Decker was kind enough to put together a little something special to give us some behind-the-scenes action on the wigs our actors run around in on stage. Check it out!

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One of the questions I get a lot (right after “Is it made of real hair?”), is “Do you reuse wigs?” My answer is, “Oh yes.” I pull as many wigs from my stock as I can.

For Little Women, I lucked out. Jo had to have looong beautiful hair at the start of the story, and halfway through the show she cuts it all off to raise money. This, of course, means that she needed a wig with shorter hair. When we produced The King and I, I built Jen Paz a looong wig for the role of Tuptim. Honestly, when I found out I needed another long wig for the role of Jo, I was kinda hoping that I could use the same wig. When the costume designer Cathy and I got around to talking about Jo’s hair, it turned out she wanted her to be a brunette and I was able to reuse Tuptim’s wig. The ‘dos are a little different, but the two photos below are of the same wig:

Victoria Huston-Elem as Jo March in Little Women Jennifer Paz as Tuptim in The King and I

I hinted to this a second ago, but I had to build Jo two other wigs after she cut her long hair to show that her hair was growing back over the course of the story:

Jay Koh. Victoria Huston-Elem as Jo March in Little Women

I also lucked out with Meg. I had built two wigs for Krystle Armstrong for last year’s new work Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, and was able to put them right back on her:

Jay Koh. Krystle Armstrong as Angie in Once Upon A Time In New Jersey

My luck ran out with Amy; I had to make Shanna Marie Palmer a blonde:

Shanna Marie Palmer as Amy March in Little Women Jay Koh.

– Doug Decker

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Opening Night!

TOMMY opening night TOMMY opening night

TOMMY opening night TOMMY opening Night

After a rockin’ opening night performance, the cast and crew had a blast at the opening night party. Clockwise from top left: Executive Producer Robb Hunt, Michael K. Lee (Tommy), and Artistic Director Steve Tomkins; Brandon O’Neill (Mr. Walker), Director Brian Yorkey, and Michael K. Lee (Tommy); Cast Members of TOMMY; and Catherine Carpenter Cox (Mrs. Walker) and Rachel Lau (4-year-old Tommy).

Photos by TeamPhotogenic.

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Ready…Set…

In case you’re wondering what the finished set looks like…The Who’s TOMMY set

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Pinball Machine Wizardry

Pinball machine — metal frame Pinball machine — plain finish Pinball machine — painted

Pinball machine — metal

Obviously, a key part of any production of The Who’s TOMMY needs to be pinball machines. Very special pinball machines (you’ll see!). Here are some pics of what our crew has been building.

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The View From Above

TOMMY set

Looking down from the balcony, you can really see how the set is starting to take shape.

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