Beauty and the Beast at the Orpheum leaves you full of childlike awe — awe at the amazing costumes, the glamorous dance numbers, and exquisite singing. The show followed the plot of the classic Disney tale, about Belle, a young woman living in a small town. Belle’s father gets lost in the woods on and goes to the nearby castle in hopes of finding shelter. Instead, he finds the Beast, who used to be a prince and whose enchantment can only be broken when someone loves him despite his monstrous qualities. Belle volunteers to be held captive instead of her senile father, and romance ensues.
Of course, being a Disney show, everything was dazzling and grand, from flashing light when the prince turns into Beast to a light up magic mirror — many of these aspects were teetering on the edge of cheesy. Unfortunately, also characteristic to Disney was some of the sexism — most notably Babette, an enchanted feather duster, who was overly sexualized without any other character traits besides being pretty and provocative. Additionally, some things in the show were confusing, like the men in jumpsuits whose only purpose seemed to be to move sets, occasionally growl at Belle, and dance. At first I guessed they might be rodents, but they were too ferocious for that. My neighbor guessed gargoyles, which made sense except for the fuzzy tails — we never figured it out and eventually it became comical watching them.
Jillian Butterfield is a perfectly cast Belle, and she lights up the stage every time she is on it. A few things felt rushed, such as the song “Home,” which she started sing as soon as she got into her room instead of her pausing and reacting beforehand. Besides this, she hit all of the notes perfectly and acted exactly how I imagine Belle would. In fact, almost every character in the show was perfectly cast: Beast, played by Ryan Everett Wood had a beautiful booming voice, Cameron Bond’s Gaston was as brooding and proud as always, and all of the enchanted objects were perfectly characterized. All of them came together for some great musical numbers, including “Gaston” and a glitzy can-can version on “Be Our Guest.”
The costuming was one of the most grandiose aspects of the show, most notably the men’s lavish velvet suits and of course Belle’s famous yellow ball gown, complete with ruffles and giant poofy sleeves — in general all of the costumes were incredibly accurate to the movie. The set was versatile and changed scenes easily, with fairytale vines framing the stage. An interesting addition to the show was the puppets, which main appearance was in the woods as wolves. They were creepy and abstract but were still clearly wolves, and I would have loved to see more puppets incorporated into the show.
Overall, Beauty in the Beast is one hundred percent Disney in the best way imaginable — or as Belle would put it, “Far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells and a prince in disguise!” If you love the classic story, it is definitely worth seeing, for the performances if not for the flouncy dresses — it will leave you with your breath taken away, feeling like a kid in a candy store.