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Friday, August 14, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Meridian’s Adelaide Turnage makes CdA Summer Theatre debut in ‘Beauty and the Beast’

UPDATED: Fri., June 14, 2019

Benjamin Usher, as Lumiere, Adelaide Turnage, as Belle, and Jackson Bouchard, as Cogsworth star in Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” (Courtesy photo)
Benjamin Usher, as Lumiere, Adelaide Turnage, as Belle, and Jackson Bouchard, as Cogsworth star in Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” (Courtesy photo)

With hardly any time to relax in between, singer/actor Adelaide Turnage will go from walking across the graduation stage to standing front and center on the Salvation Army Kroc Center stage.

Turnage recently graduated from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa with a bachelor’s in vocal performance and a minor in acting.

Her résumé includes performances as the witch in “Into the Woods,” Luisa in “The Fantasticks,” Jo March in “Little Women” and in the operas “Suor Angelica” and “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

“I think the character I’m the least like is Luisa from ‘The Fantasticks,’ ” Turnage said. “She’s a damsel in distress and she’s not super independent and she’s also a soprano, which I am not. I definitely am more of an independent woman so playing a woman who relied so much on a man and needed a man in her life was not like me at all.”

The Meridian, Idaho-based Turnage will get a chance to play an independent, inquisitive character when she stars as Belle in Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

“Beauty and the Beast,” directed by Lorna Hamilton, opens Thursday and runs through June 30

As the song goes, “Beauty and the Beast” is a “tale as old as time.”

In the very beginning of the musical, a young prince is transformed into a beast (Brandon Michael) after refusing shelter to an enchantress in disguise.

Ten years later, audiences meet Belle, an avid reader who wishes to see more of the world.

When her father Maurice (Chuck Ethridge) is imprisoned by the beast, Belle rushes to the beast’s castle and takes her father’s place.

There, she befriends the castle’s many enchanted objects, including Cogsworth (Jackson Bouchard), a clock, Lumiere (Benjamin Usher), a candlestick, Mrs. Potts (Callie McKinney Cabe), a teapot, Chip (Ruby Krajic), a teacup, Babette (Amy D’Orazi), a feather duster, and Madame de la Grande Bouche (Jen Kleinkauf), a wardrobe.

Eventually, Belle and the beast must learn to work together in order to save Belle’s father, the beast and the castle from Gaston (Jeremy Lynch), a hunter, Monsieur d’Arque (Anthony DeLeon), the warden of the Asylum de Loons, and an angry mob of townspeople.

The musical, adapted from the Disney film of the same name, features music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and a book by Linda Woolverton.

The musical premiered on Broadway in 1994 and was nominated for several Tony and Drama Desk awards, with costume designer Ann Hould-Ward taking home the Tony for best costume design.

Turnage grew up watching musicals like “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins” but, having been homeschooled until her freshman year of high school, was shy and never sang in public.

It wasn’t until Turnage’s father surprised her with tickets to see “The Phantom of the Opera” in Las Vegas for her 13th or 14th birthday that Turnage realized she was meant to be on stage.

Turnage then joined theater in high school, “broke out of (her) bubble” and has been performing ever since.

“It was a chance for me to be someone else,” Turnage said of performing. “Not that I didn’t like being Adelaide, but it let me explore other personalities and other mannerisms. It let me escape from normal life for a little while.”

“Beauty and the Beast” is Turnage’s first production with Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre.

She’s found a welcoming and supportive community in the theater and has enjoyed her time exploring Coeur d’Alene. She has yet to hike Tubbs Hill, but it’s on her to-do list.

Her main goal while she’s in town though is to bring the character of Belle to life onstage. As a child, the natural redhead was drawn to redheaded princesses, but she always admired Belle’s confidence, strength, love for her father and for reading, and how she wasn’t afraid to be different.

“Seeing that as a young girl really helped me become the woman I am today and know ‘It’s OK if some people think you’re odd. As long as you love who you are, that’s all that matters,’ ” Turnage said. “As a kid, I didn’t sit there and think about all that stuff but as I’ve grown up, I’m all ‘Dang, she had it right. She had it figured out.’ ”

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