Robert Stuart closes the theater circle with “Beauty and the Beast”.

Lumiere (Keen Williams) leads Belle (Indya Lincicome) through the castle in the Leon High School production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which runs July 7-17 at Leon High School's Performing Arts Theater.

Robert A. Stuart has starred in his roles as a theater director and educator for 31 years. Although Stuart retired from teaching in 2020, he has continued to act and direct in Tallahassee.

It came full circle this summer as the director of Leon High School’s musical production Beauty and the Beast. Stuart once performed on stage at Leon High School as a student in the 1980s.

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Robert Stuart is the director of Leon High School's summer musical

“The first time I got on this stage was when I was a freshman in college and I played Winthrop Paroo on ‘The Music Man,'” says Stuart. “There were two students who played my sister on the show, the main character, Marian the Librarian. These two women now have daughters on this show.”

Leon High School’s “Beauty and the Beast” features 47 local high school students and runs July 8-17. While this is Stuart’s second time directing the musical, it is his first time working with these students. It inspires him to see them come together as an ensemble on and off stage.

Belle (Bailey Mills Schaefer) dances with the Beast (Jermaine Edwards) in the Leon High School production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which runs July 7-17 at the Leon High School Performing Arts Theater.

Engaged Students

During the lunch break, Stuart watched as two students rehearsed unsolicited with their dance captain to get the right moves. Meanwhile, another student cleaned up the stage by putting away all the props during the break.

“They’re really dedicated,” says Stuart. “A show isn’t just about the actors on stage. The live orchestra is made up of students and they are all rehearsing. There’s the crew doing backstage and sound work, the volunteers painting, the clients. It’s a lot of work behind the scenes and I think everyone really appreciates that.”

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