Beauty and The Beast: A Tale As Old As Time
The Lutcher Theater proudly presented… Disney’s Beauty and The Beast. An enchanting story that was first brought to American audiences through the big screen in 1991 has been turned into a Broadway hit! True to Disney fashion, this fairy tale story shows us how true love prevails. In the opening scene, we see a prince in his human form refusing to offer shelter to a beggar. When told that not all is as appears, the prince still refuses to help. With his refusal, the elderly woman turns into a princess, casting a spell on him, turning him into the Beast. We also learn that the spell can only be broken if The Beast finds love before the last rose petal drops from the enchanted flower given to The Beast as a reminder that all things are beautiful.
From the opening scene, you could tell that the show was going to be amazing just due to the settings and props being used. The elderly woman turning into a magical fairy wowed the audience right away, and the princes transformation into The Beast was well thought out.
We were then introduced to Belle, Gaston, and the rest of the towns people. Wonderfully masterminded, the set let us see the outside of the town, as well as the inside due to the craftsmanship used to create the buildings. The singing was upbeat, and I found myself, along with many other children and adults, singing along to the well known words from the animated movie. Belle, played by Hilary Maiberger, looked and sounded just like the original Belle that the audience had already known and love. Her singing ability’s were perfection to that of her part. The costumes were bright and colorful, really bringing the feel of the small town to life.
Soon after Belle makes her way through the town and back home to start re-reading her newly acquired book, we meet Gaston, played by Tim Rogan. With his perfect comedic timing, Elvis like moves at times to make the girls silly, and an unwavering affection for Belle, and a reputation with the townspeople for being the best, Gaston was a powerful presence on stage. Both young and older were able to enjoy Rogan’s performance.
When Belle’s father, Lefou played by Jordan Aragon, get’s lost in the woods while trying to make it to the fair with his latest invention is when the magic of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast really start to take off. We see wolves attacking due to incredible props created, giving us a realistic feel that animals really are on stage. We then are at The Beast’s castle, where we get our first glance at the magical inhabitants living there, Lumier, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts.
Lumiere, played by Hassan Nazari-Robati, and Cogsworth, played by James May, did an amazing job portraying their animated household objects. Lumiere, a French romantic candlestick, and Cogsworth, a tightly wound clock, both did amazing and played off of each others talents in a remarkable fashion, staying true to trying to help a stranger in need and just being happy to see a real human, something they are hoping will be in their future again soon.
We are also first introduced to The Beast, played by Darick Pead, at this time due to his irritable entrance due to a stranger being in his home. Pead did a great job at bringing comedy to the show with The Beast, but was not as horrid or cruel as the original character in the movie. His work on stage did help us to understand his pain at times, but also his humor as he was able to bring the audience to laughter on many occasions.
Belle and The Beast meet when she comes to the castle looking for her father that was imprisoned due to his trespassing, where she offers to become the prisoner instead so her father can be released. With the magical rose, and The Beast’s time running out, the servants of the house know that Belle is their last hope to show their master what true love really is. They do everything in their power to make it possible for these two to fall in love, and, they ultimately achieve their dreams.
The entire Enchanted Objects cast did an amazing job at making the objects come to life. My personal favorites were Madame de la Grande Bouche, played by Roxy York, being an opera legend that was trapped in the body of a bedroom wardrobe. And everyone was singing along in the audience and the cast sang “Be Our Guest,” and were truly surprised when the champagne corks were popped, and confetti shot out into the audience. Another memorial scene in the play was when Gaston and the townspeople did a clogging routine using their beer mugs simultaneously, never missing a beat clinking against each other’s glasses. But, of course the most memorable part of this play is at the end once Belle confesses her love to a dying Beast due to a fight with Gaston, and the magical spell becomes broken. The way the production was able to show The Beast’s transformation back into a human was amazing. We also get to see the rest of the house in their human form as well.
Overall, this play was a winner. It was great for children of all ages, as well as adults. There was humor for every audience member to enjoy, and the cast and crew did an amazing job at making this timeless classic into a memorable Broadway hit.