Disney's Beauty and the Beast
by Green Valley Performing Arts

Carly Richardson and Steve CasillasWith a full house and people standing in line on the hopes of getting a seat, it was apparent that a lot of people wanted to be a guest at Green Valley High School’s lavish production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in Henderson, Nevada – a chance to see if a young beauty can look beyond a monster’s frightening exterior and fall in love with a beast.

The production features a couple of great leads. Carly Richardson is the beauty Belle with a gorgeous voice to match, very reminiscent of Tony nominee Susan Egan. She infuses her character with a warm demeanor, which doesn’t extend to Gaston (after he gives her his portrait as a pre-wedding gift, she promptly throws it down the well). She also delivers a thoughtful and genuine solo of A Change in Me. As the Beast, Steve Casillas is able to reveal an impressive amount of character from underneath his long, greasy strands of hair and from behind his grotesque mask. He makes a big entrance, jumping down from a six-foot castle ledge to intimidate his unwelcome guest. Even more intimidating is when he pulls Belle’s castle room towards him (the set hadn’t come out all the way), truly proving that he is the master of the house, and you challenge him at your own risk (which Belle proceeds to do). His slow transformation is believable, humorous, and touching – from his excited high-five with his friends after his first dance with Belle to his trembling when he releases his prisoner  -- thereby releasing his best chance for a new life.

The colorful supporting cast is led by Timothy La as the super-egotistical Gaston who can hold up a row of falling men with one finger but can’t seem to get Belle to marry him despite his sincerely pompous, primeval proposal. The smothering Timothy La and Carly Richardson affection he gets from the rest of the town, notably the “silly girls,” is just about all he can handle, doing his best to get out of their clutches, needing their affection but bored with it at the same time, and sometimes almost nervous about his crazed fans (he’d probably get restraining orders if he didn’t see it as a sign of weakness). But he’s never as nervous as his ultra-nervous little sidekick Lefou (Ricky Stafferi).

Then, of course, there are all the enchanted members of the castle household. Charlie Gott is the lively candelabra Lumier played with amusing voice, style, and wit. His counterpart is the stuffy Cogsworth the clock, with Matt Marberry offering an original and hilarious take on the character – his waddling walk, girlish voice when nervous, laughing so hard at his own bad “if it ain’t baroque” joke that he can barely breathe, punching the Beast playfully after his big date, fussing over the “spot” mentioned in Be Our Guest when he thinks he sees it on the butt of a pepper shaker, pulling an unsuspecting person out of the audience to show Belle one of the castle’s many interesting features during his tour, moving his hands up and down his clunky clock body while trying to convince everyone he’s kept his figure. Taylor McCadney is a hoot as a washed-up operatic wardrobe with a mighty temper, Anna Hayes sings a nice rendition of the title song as Mrs. Potts, and Ariel Swainston is the jealous feather duster Babette who shoos Belle away from Lumier with some feathers to Belle’s bemused face. And the whole cast comes together for a huge and extravagant production of the dinner feast in Be Our Guest.

Director Jennifer Hemme and company put on a strong production. Elaborate sets were brought in from the Tuacahn Center for the Performing Arts. The student orchestra played very well, though their position to the side in the audience section sometimes made it hard to hear the actors’ voices if seated near them. Despite a few moments that seemed a bit rushed, overall the show excelled both comically and dramatically. A couple nice touches included letting us see the inhabitants inside the castle react to Belle’s father (smooth-singing Cameron Blake) fighting off some particularly ferocious wolves before finally reaching safety, and the last scene includes an acrobatic aerial transformation rather like the one in Disney’s award-winning film of this “tale as old as time.”

Performs January 31 - February 9, 2008.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Belle: Carly Richardson
Beast: Steve Casillas
Gaston: Timothy La
Lefou: Ricky Stafferi
Maurice: Cameron Blake
Mrs. Potts: Anna Hayes
Lumier: Charlie Gott
Babette: Ariel Swainston
Wardrobe: Taylor McCadney
Cogsworth: Matt Marberry
D'Arquett: Tyler Terrell
Chip: Barry Fortgan
Silly Girls:
Danielle Efargan
McCall Magness
Natalie Timpson
Amanda Smith
Allyson Busch
Book Seller: Michael Bond
Egg Man: Chris Gubler
Aristocratic Lady: Candice Farrell
Lady With a Baby: Taylor Rozich
Hatseller: Dean Balan
Shepard Boy: Armando Ronconi
Hat Rack: Brooke Nemeth
Dressing Screen: Amber Calderon
Footstool: Neil Phelps
Prince/Beast Double: Dominic Valdez
Fishman: Travis Rote
Baker: Dan Button
Lady with a Cane: Carissa Grosse
Sausage Curl Girl: Cindy Mastrobono
Milk Maid: Kristina Cirone
Enchantress: Elyse Ubalde
Mirror: Sierra Rankow
Pin Cushion: Andrea Broadaway
Rug: Sara Balough

Kelsey Bozant
Emily Ross
Sydney Bogatz
Chalyse Jones
David Meeks
Nicholas Chambone
Anthony Marline
Ben Alworth
Brandon Luce
Samantha Jackson

Featured Dancers/Chorus:
Candice Farrell
Ashley Neiswender
Sara Teferi
Natalie Elder
Megan Hermansen
Carissa Gross
Taylor Rozich
Samantha Straub
Coree Davis
Dominic Valdez
Travis Rote
Kevin Johnson

Tyler Terrell
Michael Bond
Dean Balan
Jamie Jackson
Kenneth Garcia
Chris Gubler
Kevin Brekke
Elyse Ubalde
Cindy Mastrobono
Kyle Fieldman
Kristina Cirone
Armondo Ronconi
Dan Button
Laura Walton
Gina Dodge

Napkin Dancers:
Tori Angulo
Kayla Misday
Rebecca Bird
Danielle Efargan
McCall Magness
Natalie Timpson
Amanda Smith
Allyson Busch

Director: Jennifer Hemme
Musical Director: Kim Druesdum
Choreographer: Jared Hunt
Conductor: Diane Koutsoulis
Lighting Designer: Jeremy Jones
Sound Designer: Barry Mims
Stage Managers: Lauren Brodish, Marina Chairez


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