Since Beauty and the Beast is, as the song goes, “a tale as old as time,” a rehashing of the plotline is hardly necessary. However, because the fairytale is so well known and well loved, perhaps it is necessary to give a few reasons why you should go see the Disney classic on stage at the Orpheum before all the magical singing silverware and talking teacups get packed up to move on to the next city.
1. The singing. Okay, duh, this is a Broadway production, so of course the singing is going to be phenomenal. But does that mean you won’t get goose bumps and giddy every time the cast hits that perfectly balanced chord or Hilary Maiberger (Belle) holds that crazy high note far longer than you thought possible. Because that’s the magic of live theater.
2. The choreography. Choreographer Matt West worked on the original Beauty and the Beast 15 years ago (along with the majority of the production team) and brings out the best in the show. The standout scene: a STOMP-like dance break during “Gaston.” (You know: “No one fights like Gaston, douses lights like Gaston; in a wrestling match nobody bites like Gason!”) Almost the entire cast is involved in executing a complicated, fast-footed, mug-clinking routine, which they pulled off perfectly opening night Tuesday, October 16.
3. The special effects (costumes included). They aren’t just for the movies, and the combined efforts of director Rob Roth, lighting designer Natasha Katz, scenic designer Stanley A. Meyer, and Tony Award-winning costume designer Ann Hould-Ward result in moments that can only be described as magical.
Of course, there’s also the stellar acting, the combination of kid-friendly/adult-appreciated humor, the live orchestra, the dazzling set, and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes when you think back on the countless times you watched Beauty and the Beast on VHS—but hey, this is a blog post, not a novel.
Beauty and the Beast
Through October 21
Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.
(Photos by Joan Marcus)