Beauty and the Beast – Theater Review

*THEATER REVIEW*

DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Book by Linda Woolverton, Composer – Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice
NETworks

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Director – Rob Roth
Choreographer – Matt West
Scenic Designer – Stanley A. Meyer
Lighting Designer – Natasha Katz
Costume Designer – Ann Hould-Ward
Sound Designer – John Petrafesa, Jr.
Hair Designer – David H. Lawrence
Fight Direction – Rick Sordelet
Illusion Design – Jim Steinmeyer
Puppet Design – Basil Twist
Associate Director – Sam Scalamoni
Associate Choreographer – Connor Gallagher
Orchestrations – Danny Troob
Dance Arrangements – Glen Kelly
Vocal Arrangements – David Friedman
Production Stage Manager – Kelsey Tippins
Company Manager – Ryan Parliament
Assistant Company Manager – Kristin Stewart

CAST
Darick Pead – Beast
Hilary Maiberger – Belle
Jordan Aragon – LeFou
Paul Crane – Maurice
James May – Cogsworth
Stephanie Moskal – Babette
Jack Mullen – Chip (at some performances)
Hassan Nazari-Robati – Lumiere
Tim Rogan – Gaston
Kristin Stewart – Mrs. Potts
Roxy York – Madame de la Grande Bouche
Tony D’Alelio – Carpet / Young Prince
Blaire Baker – Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Chris Brand – Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Alyssa Brizzi – Dance Captain/Swing
Tiger Brown – Silly Girl/Enchanted Object
Kieron Cindric – Monsieur
D’Arque/Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Mark Edwards – Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Sarah Gawron – Silly Girl/Enchanted Object
Bonnie Kelly – Silly Girl/Enchanted Object
Kevin Robert Kelly -Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Anthony Laguardia – Swing
Corey Joseph Masklee -Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Emilie Renier -Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Brandon Roach -Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Trevor Sones – Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Emily Thomas – Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Becky Whitcomb – Townsperson/Enchanted Object
Jill-Christine Wiley – Townsperson/Enchanted Object

ORCHESTRA
Musical Director/Conductor – Kevin Finn
Associate Conductor/Keyboards -Danny White
Violin – Amanda Nix
Reeds – Jason Moncrief, Aaron
Jakubiec, Mike Livingston
Trumpet – Ricky Spears
French Horn – Jeremy M. Brewer
Bass – Sean Murphy
Cello – Eric Sheaffer
Drums/Percussion – Aaron Nix
Electronic Keyboard Programming -Jeff Marder

Reviewed performance on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

_________________DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST_________________

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Theater Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN

The Broadway tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was simply MAGICAL. The musical is based on the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. A story of love and sacrifice, a young selfish prince is cursed to live forever as a beast unless he can learn to love and in return find someone who will love him before all the petals on the enchanted rose wither. Belle and her father Maurice live in a small town on the outskirts of a massive forest. While traveling through the forest one day, Maurice unknowingly seeks refuge from a pack of wolves in the castle of the beast and is imprisoned. Belle finds the castle and her father and agrees to take his place as prisoner. Thus begins the relationship between Belle and The Beast and his quest to break the curse.

Scenic design by Stanley A. Meyer and Illusion design by Jim Steinmeyer was amazing. The whole set had the feel of a storybook. The colors of the town’s buildings were bright and warm while the forest was green and dark. The stage was separated by several see-through walls/curtains that rose and fell depending on the destination of the story. The forest scenes frequently used the see through walls and it gave a dark and eerie quality to the stage. At one point, when the townspeople were storming the castle, the walls had the appearance of rain and thunderstorms that was realistic. The buildings and staircases were on rollers and easily guided from one spot to another, greatly expanding the playing area. There were several buildings used, and because of the rollers the town could be rearranged to change the location. Additionally, the castle staircases could be shifted and manipulated so as the actors walked on them it made the castle appear larger.

Basil Twist’s puppet designs were incredible. The wolves in the forest were very detailed and the old woman who cursed the young prince was enchanting in the narrative.

Natasha Katz did a wonderful job of enhancing the mood of each scene with focused lights. Katz created powerful images of light and dark shadows using contrasting light creations to emote feelings of happiness or foreboding. The forest was lit in such a dark manner as to give the depth and feel of an evil place. While the town was well lit, bright and cheery.

The orchestra, led by Musical Director/Conductor Kevin Finn, was excellent. The music was perfectly tuned to suit the mood of the scenes and filled the Winspear Opera House with an almost magical air.

The costumes by Ann Hould-Ward were brightly colored and looked as if they stepped straight out of the Disney film. The enchanted objects were adorably clothed, while the Beast’s costume had both the stately appearance of a prince and the ragged edges of a cursed monster. Belle’s dinner gown was immaculately crafted and beautiful.

This musical simply should not be missed. The cast did an amazing job in their performances. Darick Pead as the Beast was magnificent. His gruff, whiny tantrums when dealing with Belle were both laughable and heartfelt. Pead perfectly conveyed the angst the Beast had in trying to convey his feelings to Belle by clenching his fists and throwing his shoulders around like a petulant child. Pead also has an amazing voice and his rendition of “How Long Must This Go On?” was very solid and moving.

Tim Rogan’s portrayal of Gaston was superb. Gaston is the self-absorbed hunter of the town whose sole desire is to make Belle his wife simply because she is the most beautiful and he is the most amazing in the town. Rogan performed his role to perfection. Rogan had the arrogant stance, mannerisms and self assurance that we’ve come to expect from Gaston. The way Rogan strutted on stage and flexed during his songs added to the self-centered character. Rogan sang well, and during “The Mob Song” sang and danced with a dark intensity.

Lefou, the dimwitted sidekick to Gaston as portrayed by Jordan Aragon, was wonderful. Aragon had a quirky physical presence that gave a light-hearted depth to the character. Aragon’s physical comedy was impeccable. Every time he would be hit by Gaston or some other person he would spiral and pinwheel across the stage and land with an amusing thud. Aragon’s moves during songs and while engaging with other actors were very animated and exaggerated. Aragon’s performance of “Gaston” was outstanding, and it was enjoyable to watch him scamper across the stage trying to prevent from being trampled by the townspeople as they twirled and danced. Additionally, the choreography by Matt West during the song was well done, as was the rhythm of the actors clinking their beer steins together in unison. It sounded almost like tap dancing.

Hilary Maiberger as Belle was amazing. Maiberger’s mannerisms were warm and heartfelt. She had the presence of the girl next door and you could feel the caring and compassion in her voice as she sang. Maiberger was able to convey her fondness for her father with a simple smile and a touch of her hand on his arm. You could feel a sense of fearful strength as she stood face to face with the Beast, as well as a giddy, school girl charm as she laughed and played with the enchanted objects. Maiberger’s rendition of “Home” was touching, and her song “A Change In Me” was deeply soulful.

Hassan Nazari-Robati was an incredible Lumiere. His accent was superb and the way he walked and stood was perfect for the character. Nazari-Robati had perfect comedic timing when he lit his candelabra hands in response to another character. Nazari-Robati and James May as Cogsworth had a buddy chemistry on stage that was intoxicating. Nazari-Robati’s performance of “Be Our Guest” was inspired.

James May did an excellent job as the neurotic timepiece, Cogsworth. May was truly a joy to watch as he engaged with Lumiere and Belle.

Kristin Stewart’s rendition of “Beauty and the Beast” was outstanding. Stewart did an admirable job portraying Mrs. Potts, but her singing during the dinner scene was excellent. As Belle and the Beast quietly engage in a playful dinner date, Stewart belted out “Beauty and the Beast” with such emotion and depth, and struck a cord with the audience.

Madame de la Grande Bouche was a joy to watch as performed by Roxy York. When York was warming up to serenade Belle prior to dinner it was fantastic. York has a comedic grace that was first-rate. She was able to convey her warmth and grace through her voice inflections and charm. It was delightful to watch her glide across the stage with the sophistication of an opera singer while being costumed as a chifferobe.

Paul Crane did a wonderful job as Belle’s quirky, bumbling father Maurice. From the moment Crane stumbled onto stage you could tell that he was slightly off. Crane had a warm stage presence and you felt the innocence of the character as Crane engaged with the enchanted objects. Crane’s wide-eyed stares and the quizzical manner in which he investigated Lumiere and Cogsworth portrayed the child-like innocence of the quirky inventor.

While Kieron Cindric portrayed Monsieur d’Arque well, I felt he was channeling Jim Carrey. His voice and mannerisms were eerily reminiscent of the actor and I would have preferred if Cindric had made the character his own.

The music was phenomenal and the acting engaging. The set design transported you to a faraway place and the costumes clothed you in fantasy. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is truly a magically, enchanted masterpiece. The entire performance, from beginning to end, was like watching a storybook come to life.

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell, Associate Critic
for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN
__________________________________________________________

DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
AT&T Performing Arts Center
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201

Runs through April 27th

Tuesday-Saturday at 8:00pm, Sunday at 7:30pm, Saturday-Sunday at 2:0 pm. Performances on Saturday, April 26 are at 11:00am and 3:30pm. There is no 7:30 pm performance on Sunday, April 27th.

Tickets range from $30.00 to $150.00, depending on date and seating. For further information, or to purchase tickets by phone, please call The Box Office at 214-880-020 or go to www.attpac.org http://www.attpac.org

Posted in Theater Reviews

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