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FestivalSouth Opens May 30 with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

May 17, 2023

(Hattiesburg, Miss.) – Bringing magic to open FestivalSouth 2023 in celebration of the musical’s 30th anniversary, 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. 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. Tickets are available at festivalsouth.org.

With sets from New York, costumes from an elaborate costume house in Maine, a 30-person cast, and a full orchestra, this promises to be a benchmark production for the Hub City. 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.

“This is the feel-good musical for the whole family,” said Artistic Director Dr. Mike Lopinto. “With jokes aimed at the parents and lots of visuals for the kids, it’s a great story and a wonderful way to experience all of the arts in one magical show.”

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.

“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.

FestivalSouth® brings more than 50 live art, music, theatre, and dance events to the Hattiesburg area May 30 through June 24, 2023. Grouped around the four weekends, events are planned each Thursday through Sunday, with Artie Events for Families earlier in the week. Performances are nominally priced, or free to encourage the largest turnout possible. Advance tickets to public events are strongly recommended as the popular events sell-out quickly.

Tickets and information are available now at FestivalSouth.org.

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. www.mitshows.com

For more information, visit festivalsouth.org and social media including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.



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. Celebrating its 14th anniversary, FestivalSouth is credited with bringing more than $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.