As the story goes, “a tale as old as time…”, a musical event for all ages has finally stopped in the Windy City! “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” takes the fabled classic and hits the stage with all of the lights, explosions and fun that one would expect. Second City Style got so close to the stage on opening night, we could have reached out and joined in on the fun ourselves!
I’m sure everyone knows the story but just in case, here’s a quick refresher: a selfish and over-bearing prince is turned into a beast when he sends an enchantress disguised as a old woman away to the bitter cold. The spell must be broken by loving another and being loved in return or he will remain a beast forever.
A young French woman from a small, provincial town named Belle comes wandering into the house after the Beast is caught holding her father hostage. Belle asks to take her father’s place in the castle and soon she learns that everyday household objects are enchanted by the spell as well and have come to life! The Beast must break the spell before time runs out or he and his household staff will be doomed for eternity.
The cast featured of bevy of all-stars… from those making their National Tour stage debut to critically acclaimed veterans of the stage. The Beast is played wonderfully by Dane Agostinis. Even through the roars, you could tell the pain, anguish and anger that the Beast felt when Belle failed to follow his whim immediately. Smart and spunky Belle was played by Emily Behny. Keeping in with the story of being vulnerable and feisty, Behny easily let the strength of Belle shine through without looking contrived and over-dramatic.
And no Disney story would be compete without a bad guy! National Tour newcomer Logan Denninghoff played Gaston, the devious yet charmingly handsome man of the town. Even SCS couldn’t help but swoon a little when he came on the stage! He was just that good!
The play features the animated film’s Academy Award-winning score with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. With musical direction by Carolyn Violi and directed by Rob Roth, nothing was short of spectacular. “It has been wonderful to bring the entire original design team back together to work on this new production of Beauty and the Beast,” said Roth. ” It has been so much fun getting together to re-explore and re-invent the show for this new NETworks tour. The theme of ‘Beauty’ is about seeing past the exterior into the heart of someone, and this is reflected in the design for the show, which is about transparency and layers, seeing past one thing and into another.“
The critically-acclaimed, international sensation has played to more than 35 million people worldwide in 21 countries for over 13 years. Already the seventh longest-running Broadway musical play to date, the story delighted children of all ages. Between the little girls dressed as Belle herself and the elderly couples gushing over the infamous Beauty and the Beast wilting rose, no one walked out disappointed. I doubt you will either.
There is still chance to check out the play for yourself. Beauty and the Beast runs at the Oriental Theatre for a limited six-week engagement through August 7, 2011. Seating for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast are on sale now, with ticket prices ranging from $18 to $85. Individual tickets are on sale now at all Broadway in Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St., and 175 E. Chestnut St.), the Broadway in Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000 or by visiting online at www.BroadwayinChicago.com.
– Taneisha Jordan
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Tags: Alan Menken, Beauty and the Beast, Belle, Broadway in Chicago, Carolyn Violi, Chicago, Dane Agostinis, Disney, Emily Behny, Gaston, Howard Ashman, Julia Louise Hosack, Logan Denninghoff, Oriental Theatre, Rob Roth, Sebastian Hedges Thomas