As I enter the auditorium of the historic Orpheum Theatre, I am immediately struck by the grandeur of it all. Crystal chandelier, red carpet, ornately gilded golden accents, and (of course) the velvet seats. I am brought back to my first experience here – seeing Phantom of the Opera in 2009. As a young girl who had yet to discover her passion for theater, the ballgowns, live orchestra, and drama had me experiencing the first bits of ‘theater magic’ – was I actually transported to 19th century France?
Tuesday night was reminiscent of that May night three years ago, and was no exception to the ‘theater magic’. Packed to the brim with excited Disney-loving parents, grandparents, and wide-eyed children (some of whom were dressed in appropriate Belle-esque gowns), as the lights went down for the first time and the beautifully painted set lit up, the special spell was cast over the spectators.
And what a spell it was: complete with scenes of intense drama and passion, booming and beautiful voices that echoed through the theater into everyone’s hearts, flawless cliffhangers that had you aching to see more, skilled and inventive dance numbers, comic relief, and confetti shot into the crowd that had even the most serious man giggling. The exaggerated acting and slapstick humor in could’ve run dry after a while, but coupled with some risque humor, the whole audience was splitting their sides laughing.
The real show-maker was the iconic song-and-dance number ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Soft lighting, a twinkling starry sky and a yellow-tinged moon set the stage for a heartwarming rendition of the classic. ‘Be Our Guest’ was another showstopper- dancing silverware and expertly choreographed dance moves coupled with colorful and extravagantly painted backgrounds made this an unforgettable scene.
I applaud ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with the highest of praise for its ability to recreate anew the magic created by the 1991 film. I recommend it to anyone of any age who has a soft spot for Disney and is looking for an enjoyable and fun way to make memories no one is likely to forget for a long time.