Having played to over 35 million people worldwide in 21 countries, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.
According to director Rob Roth, “It has been wonderful to bring the entire original design team back together to work on this new production of “Beauty and the Beast”. As a director, it is rare to have the opportunity to revisit your work fifteen years later. Hopefully I’ve grown and developed as an artist, along with my collaborators, and we can bring 15 years of experience to this new production. The theme of ‘Beauty’ is about seeing past the exterior into the heart of someone, and this is reflected in the design for the show, which is about transparency and layers, seeing past one thing and into another.”
This production is mesmerizing and is full of rich settings, colorful costumes, a beautiful score, and a stage full of fantastical performances.
Hilary Maiberger is a charming Belle, embodying a spirit of inquisitiveness and spunk. Her voice is gorgeous, floating easily through her well-loved songs, which include “Home” and “A Change in Me”.
Darick Pead is an imposing yet sympathetic Beast. His animal and human sides are at conflict throughout the piece, letting us follow the struggle within. His voice is resonant and confident, giving special power to songs like “How Long Must This Go On?” and “If I Can’t Love Her”.
The enchanted objects cast is quirky and engaging. Erin Edelle (Mrs. Potts), Hassan Nazari-Robati (Lumiere), James May (Cogsworth), Jessica Lorion (Babette) and Shani Hadjian (Madame de la Grande Boche) are fantastic both as an ensemble and as individual characters with their own unique whimsies and delightful performances.
Other notable mentions include understudy Jeff Brooks as the egomaniacal Gaston, William A. Martin as the loveable Maurice, and Matt Farcher as the bumbling, tumbling Lefou.
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is for the young and the young-at-heart alike. Featuring lots of dancing and memorable music, this tale as old as time is a spirited and touching adventure that is well worth a few hours out of any day.
“Beauty and the Beast” will play the Palace Theatre at PlayhouseSquare now through November 18, 2012. Performances are Tuesday through Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1:00 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for all shows are on sale at the PlayhouseSquare Ticket Office (1519 Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland), online at playhousesquare.org or by calling 216-241-6000. Group orders of 15 or more may be placed by calling 216-664-6050.
For more information on the tour, visit www.beautyandthebeastontour.com.
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