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(Hattiesburg, Miss.) - Forrest General Hospital and Hancock Whitney Bank proudly invite the public to ‘Be Our Guest’ this summer at “Beauty and the Beast,” the most enchanted musical of all time. Bringing magic to open FestivalSouth 2023 in celebration of the musical’s 30th anniversary, this beloved ‘tale as old as time’ will be presented in epic fashion May 30 – June 3 in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi

Just in time for the holidays, tickets are now on sale for all six shows, exclusively at Adult tickets are $40 and youth (12 and under) are $35. 


With the support of numerous sponsors, the 2023 opener is the largest musical production in the history of FestivalSouth. The production marks the return of a major musical to FestivalSouth after a 3-year hiatus due to the pandemic. 


“Hancock Whitney was founded to help create opportunities for people and the communities we serve. Our Hancock Whitney organization is  honored to support FestivalSouth’s collaborative commitment to bringing premier arts opportunities to all people who call the Pine Belt and surrounding regions home and to strengthening cultural and economic vitality throughout the area,” said Hancock Whitney Pine Belt President Michael Schloegel.


The production is also made possible by generous support from Visit Mississippi and Visit Hattiesburg, with assistance from Courtesy Ford and Pine Belt Chevrolet. With an enormous singing and dancing cast, elaborate sets and costumes, and a full orchestra, the spellbinding songs of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice will be performed by the incredible Hub City Players. 


This production is guaranteed to have audiences tapping their toes and wiping away tears of joy as children of all ages discover, or rediscover, the magic that is Beauty and the Beast!


FestivalSouth, the largest project of the Hattiesburg Concert Association (HCA), is an annual, multi-week festival presenting a variety of musical and other arts-related entertainment that aims to transcend social, cultural, and economic lines. This year, the festival celebrates its 14th anniversary, FestivalSouth is credited with bringing over $2 million in economic impact to the community last year alone and has distinguished itself as the premier arts presenter in the region, drawing locals and tourists of all ages with its’ wide variety of cultural programming, that features exceptional performing and visual artists.


“After three years without a major musical during the festival, we knew we had to come back with a blockbuster for all ages,” said Dr. Mike Lopinto, artistic director of FestivalSouth. “Beauty and the Beast” encompasses art, music, theatre, dance and the wonderful experience that only Disney magic can provide. This certainly aligns with our mission to impact all ages with the power of the arts.”


The Hub City Players have enjoyed success after success including fully-staged productions from adult-friendly “Rock of Ages” to family-friendly “James and the Giant Peach” (Winner of the 2018-19 American Prize in Musical Theatre), a sold-out and held-over run of Steel Magnolias (Winner of the 2019 Best of the Pine Belt "Best Local Theatre Production," and the much-lauded musical spectacular, “Sister Act” (Winner of the 2020 Best of the Pine Belt Best Local Theatre Production). The 2022 productions of “The Play That Goes Wrong” and the jazz cabaret, “Sincerely, Stephen Sondheim,” firmly established them as a state leader in theatrical achievement. They have developed a devoted following who have come to expect exceptional performances, great production value, and a wonderful escape through theatre.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.

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