Be our guest! Beauty and the Beast brings together some of the best Lyricists (Howard Ashman and Tim Rice) and composers (Alan Menken), very funny moments and actors who know how to play a room. Beauty and the Beast is one of the first shows this year, where as a performer myself, I saw almost no flaws. I saw extreme magic and fun happening on stage. There was was much more to it than a magical musical with an amazing score; it conveys messages about life and beauty that we can sometimes forget.
Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a hideous Beast (Ryan Everett Wood) whose only hope of turning back into a man is to find someone who loves him despite him being so ugly and mean. The spell also has a hold on all the furniture in the castle such as Lumiere the candle and Cogs Worth the clock, played by the great duo of Patrick Pevehouse and Samuel Shurtleff. One day, a beautiful girl named Belle (Jillian Butterfield) gets trapped in his castle, and turns their world upside down.
After seeing the original Disney movie back in my childhood, I was full of expectations on who and what the cast of characters would be like. I have to say that even though animation can’t be seen onstage, the translation was so real that it almost was the animated film we know and love. Needless to say, for the most part, my expectations were very well met by the ensemble of characters both human, and those under the spell. There are not many traveling Broadway shows that are family friendly, but this is one that is great for introducing children to the musical theater.
In the tittle song, the tea pot, Mrs. Potts (played by a surprisingly young Emily Jewell) says “Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, Beauty and the Beast.” I find the lyrics very moving because of what message it holds; It doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are on the outside, you will find love because the people who love you, do so because of who you are on the inside. There is no reason any one can’t find love. What is even more interesting is that Mrs. Pots tells us that this is how love was meant to be. This is how love was seen back as far as the oldest song. As the show is more for youngsters, it really puts them in the right mind set for later in life.
This show really has something for everything. Ridiculous jokes and messages for children, mini innuendoes for the adults, and memorable songs, great dances, vivid colors, a fairy tale storyline and Disney magic for just about anybody. Even as young adults-adults we can always get a refresher on what love is supposed to be.
This wonderful adaptation is showing at the Orpheum Theater, now through March 15.