A Night At The Theatre: Beauty & The Beast

Beauty and the Beast Darick Pead and Hilary Malberger

Darick Pead and Hilary Malberger bring the Disney classic to life in “Beauty & The Beast.” (Photo property of Amy Boyle)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

One of my all-time favorite Disney films is Beauty & The Beast!

Watching this film (and later the Disney World stage show) was a pure delight for me. I have fond memories of the classic ballroom scene and still get chills when Angela Lansbury sings the title song as Belle and Beast dance their waltz or watching the spectacular number known as “Be Our Guest.”

On Tuesday, my friend, Shannon, and I had the pleasure of seeing the latest tour of the impeccable production.

As a long time fan of the 1991 film, I had high hopes that this production would stand and deliver!

Which it did!

There were several key components that made the original Disney on Broadway production fun to watch:

The first component was the acting. Hillary Maiberger (who played the first title role) was very convincing as Belle.  While she equally showcased Belle’s independent side (as Emilie De Ravin does on Once Upon A Time), Maiberger inserted her wonderful operatic vocals into several songs such as “Home” and “A Change in Me.”

Darick Pead effectively balanced Beast’s menacing and (later) caring side of the character but also added some immaturity to the character as well.  I also preferred Pead’s powerful vocal performances to Robby Benson’s classic vocal performances in the 1991 film.   Rounding out the standouts in the casting ensemble were Hassan Nazari-Robati’s brilliant flamboyant Lumiere, Stephanie Moskal’s saucy Babette, Tim Rogan’s Gaston and James May’s wound-up and haughty Cogsworth.

Another component to the show’s success was the brilliant musical numbers. “Be Our Guest” did not disappoint, audience members might become misty-eyed during the iconic “Beauty and the Beast” and receive chills from “Human Again.”  One of the biggest surprises was “Gaston.” I was never a huge fan of that song in the film but thanks to Matt West’s superb choreography and numerous clinking mugs, it put a smile on my face.

Final thoughts & grade: Disney’s Beauty & The Beast is an outstanding musical from start to finish.  The incredible performances from the ensemble and the superb book from Linda Woolverton will intrigue audiences everywhere! Bravo! A

Beauty & The Beast is currently in Kansas City as part of Theater League’s 2013-14 Kansas City Broadway Series.  To learn more about the Theater League, click here: http://theaterleague.com/kansascity/

For more information about the Beauty & The Beast tour, click here: http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com/



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