TALE AS OLD AS TIME
REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO
A tale as old as the 18th century, a favorite Disney movie and Broadway’s ninth longest-running production in history—Beauty and the Beast the musical as presented by 3D Theatricals is an enchanting night at the theatre for the whole family. All the songs, characters and more from the beloved Disney film come to life on stage is this marvelous production.
Beauty and the Beast is known for its iconic moments first realized in the animated version. With this production, audiences can relive these moments live on stage with the stunning sets and costumes that fill the stage. For the prologue, we get animated projections combined with live characters behind a scrim screen to relay the origin of the prince’s curse. We are then transported to Belle’s French town with ornate set pieces and costumes. Of course, the most astounding set piece is the prince’s castle that is a gigantic 360-degree rotating set piece containing all the rooms of the vast castle: library, west wing, foyer, dungeon, roof, and Belle’s quarters, to name a few.
Although this musical is not dance heavy, choreographer Billy Sprague has some shining moments. Most notably in the song “Gaston,” where the metal beer mugs are used both as a sound effect and for visual delight—the ensemble moves in and out of various formations, twisting, turning, jumping and weaving their bodies while the shining silver mugs collide and cling with the music.
Hand in hand with the musical’s iconic moments are the loveable characters which are cast impeccably in this production. Belle (Afton Quast) is charming through and through. Quast masters all aspects of this notorious leading role—she has the audience from her first entrance. Furthermore, her singing voice is equally vibrant; we hear the best renditions of “Belle,” “Home” and “Something There”. The Beast (Alexander Mendoza) is a fine parallel to Belle—perfectly embodying the hot-blooded, and loving Beast with his strong and sweet voice. “If I Can’t Love Her” and its reprise are some of the tenderest moments in the show. Gaston (Cameron Bond) and Lefou (Robert Ramirez) are the dynamic duo of the show as Gaston is constantly striking Lefou leading to hilarious sound effects and skilled pratfalls by Ramirez.
WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC DIRECTOR?
No stranger to 3D Theatricals, Julie Lamoureux returns to musical direct the 18-piece orchestra and the cast of Beauty and the Beast. She successfully leads the production from the orchestra pit and keeps this music heavy show going from start to finish. The cast in this production sounds crisp and clear and the ensemble singing is balanced and enjoyable.
You simply can’t go wrong with 3D Theatricals Beauty and the Beast! It’s a polished and entertaining realization of the songs, characters and story that you already know and admire. This production runs from February 5, 2016 through February 21, 2016 at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton and February 26-28 at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. For more information and tickets visit: www.3dtshows.com.